St Brides 2-11 Roche Emmets 1-7
The four Division 1 teams on 100% records prior to throw in faced each other and in Páirc an Chuinnigh, St Brides ensured that they would keep their perfect record intact after a victory over their counterparts from Roche. The score-line suggested a comfortable victory for the Knockbridge outfit, but in reality, the girls in red had to dig deep to overcome the Emmets.
As has been the case in their first four league outings, St Brides got out of the blocks first with ferocious pace and a high-tempo game that Roche couldn’t handle. Until their first point just before the water break, Roche only had two meaningful attacks in the opening period – one which resulted in a wide by Jenny McCourt and the other that was snuffed out by the great reading and timely interception by the Brides’ Kate Wynne. The opening score of the game saw the green flag raised as Ruth Hanna fired past Roche keeper Caroline O’Neill after being picked out with a fine pass by Lily Fagan. Sharpshooter, Emma McArdle, added two points to the Brides’ tally before a Knockbridge attack was thwarted by a superb interception by county star, Louise Byrne, who had come back to aid her defence that was under constant pressure. Roche’s opening score came from the boot of Abi Keenan, who worked tirelessly in the full-forward line, but this effort was immediately cancelled out by McArdle after some neat interplay with Sarah Fagan.
St Brides resumed after the water break in the same manner in which they started the game – putting their opposition to the sword – as Sarah Fagan got herself onto the scoreboard with a point, then Gráinne McKeown was unlucky not to join her as she missed a free from a tight angle and then saw another chance come off the upright and back into play. Roche, perhaps buoyed by these mistakes, took a firm grip on proceedings from then. St Brides lost possession cheaply in the middle of the field and Roche capitalised in the best possible way with a finely taken goal by corner forward, Shauna Finn. They kept the pressure up and added a point to close the gap to two points. This shook the Brides out of their mini-slumber as they responded immediately travelling the length of the pitch to win a free close in which was calmly slotted over the bar by the industrious Ruth Hanna. The Brides maintained the pressure and Lily Fagan was unlucky to see her thundering effort come back off the cross-bar. In the dying moments of the game, McCourt saw her free-kick drop short only for the referee to blow his whistle and point to the spot after a foul in the ensuing scuffle. Keenan stepped forward and fired it high towards the roof of the net, but Sarah Kieran stood tall on her line and got two firm hands on the rifled shot to see it sail over for a point and make sure her team went into half-time in the lead.
After the half-time break, Roche came out like a new team and dominated possession for the majority of the third period. A point apiece from Seóna Halligan and Keenan, the first after a strong run from the county player, were just desserts for their dominance and with the game level pegging, it looked like Roche could well take the impetus. But St Brides regrouped and stood up to the Roche fight. A mistake from a Roche kick-out was punished by a goal from Sarah Fagan and with a three-point cushion, the Brides settled a bit as they saw out the period with three more attacks which resulted in a couple of wides and a point that was the outcome of an audacious piece of skill by wing back Rebecca Hilliard, flicking the ball into her hands without breaking stride before calmly passing to Hanna for the final score before the second water break.
The Brides exerted their dominance once more in the final period starting with a superb point from range off the boot of McEneaney. Roche once more hit back with a point from the energetic midfielder McCourt, but the the Knockbridge side once more turned the screw with a point from Karen Gogarty and a couple of near misses by McEneaney and the aforementioned Gogarty. Roche did not lie down however and tried to break down the resilient Brides defence in search of a goal. Time after time the full back line of Kirke, Sweeney and Wynne snuffed out the blue wave of pressure. A fine point from Keenan from an extremely tight angle was the last score registered by the Emmets as the Brides rounded off a hard-fought win with points from McEneaney, Hanna and captain, Aimee McNally.
St Brides: Sarah Kieran, Debbie Kirke, Kate Wynne, Niamh Sweeney, Rebecca Hilliard, Ailish Noonan, Niamh Bailey, Ruth Hanna (1-3), Gráinne McKeown, Emma McArdle (0-3), Kodie McEneaney (0-2), Sarah Fagan (1-1), Phyllis Coyle, Lily Fagan, Aimee McNally (0-1) Subs used: Karen Gogarty (0-1)
Roche: Caroline O’Neill, Anna Murphy, Aoife Savage, Aisling Sloane, Caoimhe Treanor, Niamh Callan, Aisling Begley, Jennifer McCourt (0-1), Claire McDonald, Ellie Grant, Louise Byrne, Seóna Halligan (0-1), Abi Keenan (0-4), Tracey Rogers, Shauna Finn (1-0) Subs used: Lauren Browne
Elsewhere in Division 1, the Gers came away from Beaulieu with the points after a very close game – St Fechins 1-7 Geraldines 1-8
The Blues had a good away victory over St Mochtas, 3-13 to 1-7, while Clan na Gael got their first win of the league campaign at home to Stabannon, 5-9 to 2-7.
In Division 2, Gleann Mhairtin picked up their third win in a row recording a very big score over Glyde in Tullyallen, while Dreadnots got the better of their local rivals Naomh Fionnbarra, winning 3-11 to 1-6 in Clogherhead. Earlier in the week Kilkerly got back to winning ways with a big win over Ardee St Marys, 5-13 to 0-6. St Kevins, who had a week off continue to lead the way in this division.