Fourth time’s a charm for Tarf’s inter dreams

by Gazette Reporter
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Siobhan Killeen put on a scoring masterclass for Clontarf as they defeated a brave Cuala side by 15 points to become Dublin Ladies Intermediate Champions for 2018 with a resounding 6-15 to 4-6 victory at Lawless Memorial Park.

Clontarf came into the final having lost the previous three Intermediate finals but, right from the throw in, they displayed a steely determination and, although Cuala did mount something of a comeback in the second half, the northsiders were deserved winners in the end driving home the victory with three goals in the last ten minutes of the game.

Two scores in the opening two minutes from Caoimhe O’Connor and Fiona Skelly set the tone of the first half with Cuala struggling to deal with the pace being set by the Clontarf players going forward.

They could have been further ahead but a combination of shots wide and a ball into Clodagh Sheehan’s hands allowed Cuala to settle and get their first two scores of the game thanks to two composed frees from Jennifer Dunne.

A prolonged spell of pressure from Clontarf in response to Cuala’s scores and a flurry of scores in quick succession including a Killeen goal and a long-distance point – arguably the score of the game – pushed Clontarf in front by 1-4 to 0-2 with 15 minutes gone.

It was refreshing to watch both sides play such open and positive football throughout with plenty of smart passages of play and some really support running off the ball.

The urgency of play from the Tarf players across the pitch meant that Cuala were having to work extra hard for their possession and, when they did get the ball, they just weren’t being clinical enough in front of the posts.

An exchange of points between Sinead Wylde and Fiona Skelly at either end left the score at 1-6 to 0-4 before another burst of scores from the clinical Killeen and a cool finish to the net from Aoibhe Bell left the half time score at 2-10 to 0-5.

The Dalkey side had it all to do entering the second half and they came out of the blocks fast and on a mission. Two goals in the opening seven minutes from Eimear Loughlin and Wylde brought Cuala back to within five points of Clontarf but the leaders kept chipping away with one or two points in good response any time Cuala scored.

With just a five point lead now, having been ahead by 11 at the break, Clontarf knew they needed goals to kill this game of as a contest and goals were exactly what they got in between a further two scores from Killeen with the green flag being raised for Sinead Quigley and O’Connor.

Goals were the flavour of the night for the remainder of the game with both sides making no mistake with the goal in their sights.

Amazingly, four of the last six scores on the night were goals with both sides really going for it in the closing stages.

A further 1-2 for Killeen and the final score of the game from O’Connor gave Clontarf a memorable and well deserved victory on the night.

by Brendan Graham

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