Bunclody had to dig so deep

Victors survive major scare

Published 19/11/2016 | 00:00

Orla Wafer (Ballygarrett) and Rebecca O'Connor (Bunclody) focus on gathering possession
Orla Wafer (Ballygarrett) and Rebecca O'Connor (Bunclody) focus on gathering possession
Caoimhe Jordan of Bunclody is presented with the cup by Jim Dempsey of the Rackard League
The runners-up from Ballygarrett

Bunclody had their work cut out for them in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League girls' football Roinn 'B' county final in St. Patrick's Park on Wednesday.

Bunclody 4-8 Ballygarrett 3-8

After previously playing Ballygarrett earlier in the season, the formbook pointed towards an easy Bunclody win. However, an inspired Ballygarrett outfit turned up at the Enniscorthy venue to put in the performance of their season and this made life very hard for Bunclody over the course of the hour. For the general spectator, it led to a very entertaining final.

From the throw-in, this game was fast and frantic. With both teams boasting pacey players all over the field, the game flowed up and down in a series of breathtaking counter-attacks.

Bunclody got the first score with a Caoimhe Jordan point, but Ballygarrett responded with a tremendous team goal to take the lead. Making great use of the slight breeze and their excellent kicking skills, Bunclody levelled with points through Jacqui Kehoe and Katie Moynihan to level the game. A Therése Lawless free then put Ballygarrett back in the lead.

Throughout this final, the speed and tenacity of the Ballygarrett defence was very impressive and this made it very hard for the Bunclody girls to get easy scores. Bunclody, to their credit, got around this problem by simply kicking the ball over this well-organised defensive unit, and for a spell in the first-half this worked out exceptionally well.

Three goals in a row, two from Katie Moynihan and one from Caoimhe Jordan, saw them power to a commanding eight-point lead and it looked like Ballygarrett were done for. This only served to make the Ballygarrett response even more impressive.

Katie Bolger got their hopes back on track when she led the charge with a goal and point in the 18th minute. Therése Lawless then put two further points on the board to reduce the lead to two points.

Bunclody just about caught their breath before half-time to get three points and restore a five-point lead at 3-6 to 2-4.

The second-half brought more of the same entertainment as Ballygarrett threw everything they could at Bunclody. As Millie Doran ran down the wing, Therése Lawless burst a lung to sprint down the centre and get on the end of her team-mate's pass and nab a great goal to open the half.

This put just two points in the game and this distance remained as frees were exchanged until Therése Lawless pointed from play to leave just one in it.

With five minutes to go, the game showed no sign of letting up. Bunclody soaked up constant Ballygarrett pressure and did well to get up the field and goal through Corie Fitzgerald.

A Katie Bolger free put just a goal in it with minutes to go and you couldn't rule out a Ballygarrett equaliser. Despite their best efforts in the few minutes of additional time, Bunclody were determined not to let the cup slip from their grasp.

When the final whistle went it was with great relief that they went up to claim their first Roinn 'B' title since coming up from Roinn 'C' in 2014.

Bunclody: Catherine O'Connor, Rebecca O'Neill, Jodie Kelly, Ríona Mahon, Róise Dunbar, Ella McDonald, Jacqui Kehoe, Katie Moynihan, Sorcha O'Rourke, Rebecca O'Connor, Leah Morris, Caoimhe Jordan, Corie Fitzgerald, Erin O'Leary, Rachel Black, Mairéad Mahon, Natalia Zaremba, Clodagh Byrne, Anna Fernandez, Karen Armstrong, Ava Byrne, Lauren Jordan, Chafia Flynn, Leanne Mahon, Clodagh O'Byrne, Sarah Kenny, Emily Doyle, Grace Tully, Kelly Cloake, Abbey Murphy.

Ballygarrett: Ayla Hughes, Rebecca Prendergast, Mia Davey, Sophie Moran, Orla Wafer, Katie Corkish, Katie Bolger, Therése Lawless, Grace O'Keefe, Millie Doran, Ava Hardy, Eva Casey, Jessica Farrell, Chloe Tobin, Mary Canavan, Dandan Walsh, Nelli Douglas-Adam, Ellie Lawless, Megan Tomkins, Jade Moore-Kavanagh, Rachel Foley.

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