Delight for Ballythomas after drama-filled decider
Ballythomas 3-4 Piercestown 4-0
Fans, friends and family were treated to the ultimate emotional roller-coaster in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League girls' football mini-sevens final between Ballythomas and Piercestown in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy.
Played out over just 20 minutes, the game had all the drama, passion, skill and emotion of any top final. Many agreed with new Rackard League Co. Secretary Johnny Murphy when he remarked afterwards that the 'top two teams in the county were on show tonight'.
The match ebbed and flowed in many different directions throughout the half hour. Ballythomas enjoyed a considerable period of dominance in the first-half but incredibly failed to score once from play.
Two Anna Hughes frees were all they had to show for their efforts. After soaking up this pressure, Piercestown managed to pounce on a slow Ballythomas clearance and score a brilliant team goal against the run of play. With just a point between the teams at half-time, it was hard to know who felt the most comfortable.
Piercestown then took complete control of the final when lethal forwards Kate Stafford and Sinéad Cullen scored a goal each to open up a rapid-fire seven-point lead.
Ballythomas looked dead and buried as the clock ran out and the opportunities for scores seemed to dry up. Incredibly, an immense period of power play in the last four minutes saw them engineer an eleven-point turnaround.
Anna Hughes, now in midfield, led the charge when she burst through to score her team's first goal. Another pointed free put just one score between the teams.
It was all to play for when Riadh Murphy levelled the game by soloing into close range and finishing on the rebound. Anna Hughes continued her good form when she goaled once more and put over another free. Both these scores came off the back of some fearless workrate and tackling from her team-mates.
Ballythomas were now somehow four points up in a final that they had previously looked lost in. Then to add even more drama to the final, Piercestown finished strongly with a third Sinéad Gleeson goal.
Despite this nervy finish, Ballythomas held on to possession to clinch an admirable two-in-a-row. Such was the nature of this final that the crushing sense of defeat and the elation of victory seemed amplified at the final whistle.
With Ballythomas only losing two of this team next year, whispers of a three-in-a-row have already begun up in the Wicklow Gap.
Ballythomas: Neassa Ní Lúasaigh, Róisín McGonigle, Anna Hughes, Thomasina Carter, Bébhínn McDonald, Riadh Murphy, Edie Byrne, Caoimhe Noblett, Rachel Boland, Caoimhe McGonigle.
Piercestown: Ellen Coleman, Aoibhe Ormonde, Ellie O'Mahony, Orla Griffin, Mia Quirke, Grace O'Connor, Sinéad Cullen, Chloe Curtin, Ella Crotty, Mary Connors, Lucy O'Hanlon, Kate Stafford, Anna Jeffares.