St Finian’s Swords 3-8
Fingallians ‘B’ 2-9
BY NIGEL MCCARTHY
St Finian’s Swords secured the Go-Ahead Dublin Junior C championship and the bragging rights over neighbours Fingallians in a highly competitive final in TUD Blanchardstown.
Fingallians just shaded the first half with full forward Lauryn Campbell a constant scoring threat and player of the match, former Dublin senior star Fiona Hudson marshalling the defence and driving forward whenever an opportunity presented itself.
St Finian’s Swords had threats of their own going forward with the strong running and ball carrying of Emily Jane Fallon, Emma Howe and Annabelle Timothy proving a handful for the Fingallians rearguard.
Fingallians led by three points at the break but St Finian’s Swords showed all their character after the break to fight their way back into the contest, midfielder Ciara Buchanan came to the fore securing vital possession around the middle of the park to give her side the platform to dictate the momentum of the game.
The drives through the Fingallians defence by Annabelle Timothy, Ellie Kane and Emma Howe caused plenty of headaches for the Fingallians defence and although they coped reasonably well in the early stages of the second half, the pressure finally paid off in latter stages of the game and unanswered 1-04 in the final twelve minutes including a super finish to the net by Emily Jane Fallon secured the title for St Finian’s Swords.
Both sides had operated in Group A of the Junior C championship with St Finian’s Swords topping the group with an unbeaten record which included wins over Garda/Westmanstown Gaels, Portobello, Naomh Mearnóg and a one point win over their opponents in today’s final Fingallians B with their group game meeting finishing on a scoreline of 2-10 to 2-09.
St Finian’s Swords had seven points to spare over their semi final opponents St Sylvesters B and booked their final spot with a 1-09 to 1-02 win. Fingallians B had to battle all the way in their semi final tussle with St Patrick’s Donabate coming out the right side of a one point victory on a scoreline of 2-06 to 2-05.
The final was expected to be a close affair and that’s exactly how it panned out.
Fingallians started brightly, Hannah Murphy opened the scoring in the second minute with a fine point and the lead was doubled shortly afterwards with an excellent point from Fiona Hudson who ran through the Finian’s defence from deep and pointed with ease.
The St Finian’s Swords response though was emphatic, Kiara Hanley broke down the left wing, passed the ball to Emma Howe who ran directly through the Fingallians defence and finished coolly to the net.
A successful free attempt from Lauryn Campbell brought the sides level, Fiona Hudson picked out Emma Jones with an accurate pass and Jones switched the ball across the pitch to Hannah Murphy to slot over for the leading score. Sarah Smith tagged on another point and Lauryn Campbell hit a booming free kick from about forty seven metres out straight between the posts to stretch the Fingallians lead to three.
Emily Jane Fallon finally ended a thirteen minute barran scoring spell with a good point after a defence splitting run from Megan McKeown. A pointed free from Emma Howe put the bare minimum between the teams with seven minutes to the break.
Lauryn Campbell and Ellie Kane then swapped points, Annabelle Timothy intercepted a loose pass in the Fingallians half back line and drove at the defence drawing a foul which she converted herself.
In the final minute of the half Aoife Foley found Hannah Murphy out on the right, Murphy picked out Campbell with a pinpoint pass and the full forward swept the ball into bottom right hand corner of the net to Fingallians a three point half-time lead with the score 1-07 to 1-04.
Fingallians extended their lead just after the restart with a point from Emma Jones. St Finian’s Swords were dealt a blow two minutes later when Aoife Foley was shown a yellow card and ten minutes in the sin-bin for a high tackle.
But just a minute later it was down to fourteen players apiece as Orlaigh Walzer was also brandished a yellow card for barging.
Annabelle Timothy reduced the deficit with a point in the 41st minute, but Fingallians looked to have got a strangle hold on the game when they they stretched their lead to seven moments later, Lauryn Campbell slotted over a free, Fingallians won the resultant and another free, Campbell’s attempt looked to be going over the bar, but it dipped at the last minute and was misjudged by a defender and goalkeeper on the line and dropped in the left hand corner of the net. But with seventeen minutes to go surprisingly it was to be Fingallians last score of the game.
The response from St Finian’s Swords was immediate, substitute Aoife Appleguard collected the ball on the right wing midway inside the Fingallians defence and hand passed the ball inside to the onrushing Ellie Kane who took a couple of strides forward before unleashing a thunderous shot past the despairing dive of Fingallians goalkeeper Nicky Fitzgerald.
Two converted frees from Annabelle Timothy and a point from. Emma Howe after some great work down the right by Ellie Kane left just a point between the teams with seven minutes left in the final.
The winning score came in the 56th minute, the ball was played down the left wing to Emma Howe who went on a run through the Fingallians defence, she was fouled just outside the square but the ball deflected to Emily Jane Fallon who took a step to her right and buried the ball to net to secure the two point win and the Junior C title for St Finian’s Swords.