DLGFA Junior F final
Round Tower, Lusk 3-11
Na Gaeil Oga 2-5
By Daire Walsh
SOPHIE O’Hara registered a magnificent 2-6 haul at Blunden Drive to propel Round Tower Lusk to an impressive victory over Na Gaeil Oga in the Dublin Junior ‘F’ Ladies Football Championship decider.
Despite a difficult start, the north county outfit eventually settled. Supplementing O’Hara’s opening period brace, Jessica Grimes grabbed a goal to ensure Towers remained in the driving seat throughout.
Central attacker Niamh Thornton led the Na Gaeil Oga resistance – Anna Ni Uiginn also found the net in the closing moments – but they could never quite rein in the challenge of their Lusk counterparts.
There was little to separate the sides on paper after the group stages and semi-finals but it was Na Gaeil Oga who had the better of the early exchanges.
After Thornton traded points with O’Hara, the dynamic centre-forward converted a free off her trusty right foot. The direct running style of Amanda Treanor was a notable feature of Oga’s play. Her ninth-minute point preceded Thornton’s third of the night. Towers served notice of their threat when inside forward Allanah Harford fired marginally past the target in the 11th-minute. However, they finally raised a green flag just shy of the first-quarter mark.
Tara Doyle was upended by Julie Ni Bhreathnach inside the square. O’Hara shot the resulting penalty beyond the reach of Sinead Ni Dhurcain. This helped to galvanise John Kiely’s charges and with O’Hara’s influence continuing to grow, they edged into the ascendancy.
O’Hara’s excellent approach work released Doyle for her maiden point and Grimes also found the range for an increasingly-confident Towers. Na Gaeil Oga were not out of the reckoning just yet, though, and they responded to these set-backs with a second goal on the stroke of 30 minutes. Another outstanding Treanor run provided the platform for Thornton to finish from close-range.
But it was Towers who pushed on toward the end of the half. At the end of another memorable surge, O’Hara unleashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
She also added a pointed free to her ever-expanding individual tally and, with Jen Magee and Doyle clipping scores either side of it, Towers brought a commanding 2-6 to 1-4 cushion. They further extended that lead after the restart as O’Hara kicked another superb point from play. This was the only score during the third-quarter, which proved to be rather scrappy and tentative.
It suited Towers given the six-point advantage at their disposal, although they breathed a sigh of relief when Georgia Shanley smothered Aoife O’Sullivan’s goal-bound strike in the 39th-minute.
Inevitably, it was O’Hara who ended the lengthy scoring drought – her latest free moving Towers a step closer to putting their seal on the title. Indeed, the final outcome was effectively determined with 12 minutes remaining.
Grimes gathered possession and clinically extended the Towers’ lead into double digits with a neat angled finish. Back-to-back points for O’Hara and substitute Ciana Downes offered them additional leeway.
Na Gaeil Oga did finally hit back through Treanor’s second point of the action while the hard-working Ni Uiginn ensured her side ended on a positive note with a three-pointer at the death.