Senior Championship Round 4: St Brides 4-05 St Pats 2-9
St. Brides put the disappointment last week’s defeat to St Kevins/Hunterstown behind them with a fully deserved victory over last year’s Intermediate Champions St.Patrick’s in Knockbridge on Sunday morning to progress to the semi-finals.
The defensive frailties that were evident last week looked like they would continue in the Brides ranks, as St Pats raced into an early seven point with goals from Aine Breen and Grace Treanor inside five minutes.
Amy McNally did have the home side’s opening score in the tenth minute followed by Broonagh McArdle and Aine Breen swapping points leaving Pat’s 2-2 to 0-2 ahead midway through the half.
Shortly after Breen’s score the game took a dramatic turn as the concession of two goals in thirty seconds rocked the visitors just before the water-break. A high centre from the dangerous Amy McNally dropped into the square and was met confidently by the fist of Lily Fagan who beat her marker and the goalkeeper to smash the ball into the back of the net, and litterly from the resultant kick out an almost identicial goal as Bronagh McArdle’s high ball was directed into the corner of the net by the hand of Aimee McNally.
McNally quickley added a point giving the Brides the lead for the first time after a disastrous start.
A quick point after the water break by Emma McArdle following good interplay with Aimee McNally extended their lead, but two points from Pats county star Kate Flood levelled things up again. A game that ebbed and flowed at this stage saw some great passages of play with the midfield duo of Ailish Noonan and Aishling McEnteggart working tirelessly and the home defence snuffing out goal chances when they came for the Lordship side although Ciara Laverty was called upon to make a fine save from point blank range. The pace and movement of the Brides attackers were causing major concern in the Pat’s backline and they could have added further scores as on two occasions they were very unlucky having created two good goal chances with Lily Fagan narrowly flicking the ball wide of the post after a goal-mouth scramble and Bronagh McArdle forcing a fine save from the Pats keeper. Their efforts were rewarded, however, just before the interval when Bronagh McArdle made one of her trademark drives towards goal. As she dropped the ball onto her boot to deliver a rasping shot, the Pats’ defender got her fingers to it, which diverted the ball into the top corner to see the Brides lead by 3-4 to 2-4 point the break.
If the Brides had their dominant period in the first quarter, then there was no doubt as to when the Pats’ purple-patch came. After the restart, the Pats – and Flood in particular – moved up the gears. Five unanswered points in the third quarter looked to have put paid to the Brides Championship journey as the Pats moved with ease through the midfield and back-line, but to their credit, the Brides defence were resolute and didn’t allow them inside the danger zone to grab a goal which might have put the contest beyond the red and white clad team. This steely resolve was rewarded as, in one of their very rare forays inside the Pats’ 20-yard line in the third quarter, good play led to McNally being dragged down in the area. Despite a point being scored as a result, referee Kevin Carroll had blown his whistle for a spot-kick. Rebecca Hilliard made the long journey from full-back to take the kick. The penalty was brilliantly placed, hit low into the bottom corner giving Pat’s keeper Nadine Callan no chance to restore the Brides lead, and more importantly, a major confidence boost going into the final period after the water break.
A final period where both defences were on top, with teams hitting wides as both sides appeared nervous knowing defeat in this game would prove to be the last of the season for the losing side. As it was the Knockbridge side made sure it wasn’t them. After another missed chance for St Pats, the Brides moved down the field and Emma McArdle extended the lead to two points with the last score of the game from play.
And so, after a gruelling group stage, Fra Fagan’s charges find themselves in the final four of the Senior Championship.
Their reward for first place in Group 2? A local derby against St Mochtas in the semi-final on Sunday Sept 13!
Rebecca Hillard one of many Brides heroes felt the team showed their true form when it mattered most; “We wanted to come out from the start and prove we can play much better as a team as we did’nt play last week. Our defence stood strong today and we never gave up and fought to the very end ,our forwards got stuck stuck in from the very start and took their scores when it mattered which got us over the line. We’ll get back to work this week at training and prepare for the semi-final. This is a massive win for us and puts out a message to everyone, we aren’t going to be rolled over”
St Brides; Ciara Laverty, Niamh Sweeney, Rebecca Hilliard (1-0), Karen Gogarty, Niamh Bailey, Caoimhe Hoey, Niamh Belton, Ailish Noonan, Aishling McEnteggart, Aimee McNally (1-1), Sarah Fagan, Kerrie O’Connor, Bronagh McArdle (1-1), Lily Fagan (1-0), Emma McArdle (0-3) Subs used: Ruth Hanna, Kaye Wynne and Ellen McBride
St. Patrick’s; Nadine Callan, Melissa O’Hanlon, Donnla O’Hagan, Ellen Barry, Laura Rice, Anna Whyte, Deirbhile O’Doherty, Aine Breen, 1-02, Denise Finnegan, Grace Treanor, 1-00, Kate Flood,0-05, Aisling O’Doherty, 0-01, Meg Woods, 0-01,Chloe Barry, Kate Cumiskey Subs used Aoife Quigley, Katie Conlon, Evelyn Donnelly
Report by Dermot Woods