First Year SMGS Girls Football Blitz
On a very cold Wednesday, our 1st year girls headed for Ballincollig for a football blitz. Playing Macroom in their first game of the day, the Blarney girls took Ballincollig by storm. With a superb start from Alison O’ Keeffe once she found her scoring boots, she slotted over 3 quick points before rattling the back of the net. It began to look like Macroom were going to make a comeback, scoring the next point and goal. However, our backline kicked it up a notch with Laura, Kayla and Sinead keeping them at bay for the next half only allowing them to score one more point in the rest of the game. Meanwhile, Ellie O’ Flynn linked up with Megan O’ Shea, allowing her to find the back of the net twice with two powerful kicks that the goalie had no chance of stopping. The shooting practice didn’t stop there, with SMGS splitting the post three more times to win their first game of the day. FT: SMGS 3.06 , Macroom 1.02.
Next Blarney faced what proved to be their toughest opposition of the day, Bantry. Bantry got off to a good start putting the first point on the scoreboard. This was quickly followed by a goal. However, the Blarney girls were not ready to go home and once again stood up to the challenge. Megan O’Connor got her head in the game and scored the opening point for SMGS and followed this with a fantastic goal coming just as we needed the boost. Just as we were beginning to make a comeback, Bantry found the net twice more. The Blarney side didn’t let their heads drop and with some fantastic saves by Eimear and with Emma Cronin putting her body on the line to stop another possible goal, combined with scores from Kelsey, Alison and Megan O’ Shea, the teams could not be separated. FT: SMGS 2.05 , Bantry 3.02
After a long wait, some sunbathing (you heard me correctly!) and Megan O’ Connor even managed to squeeze in a nap, Blarney discovered they’d sailed in to the A grade semi-final where they would face Kinsale. After drawing against Bantry, the girls were fired up and determined not to let this happen again starting this game off with the first 5 points being scored by Megan O’ Shea before her partner in crime, Alison, got her name on the scoresheet too by popping one over the bar. It looked like Kinsale were about to make a come back, scoring the next 2 points and attempting to score two goals, each stopped by Emma Cronin. Bantry were prevented from getting any more on the scoreboard by our strong backline of Laura, Leah, Kayla and Emma Warren. Our midfielders worked effortlessly with our forwards clocking up plenty of more scores including another goal by Maria O’ Herlihy. Ella ensured the final score would come from Blarney, linking up with Megan O’ Connor (the nap worked!) who sent it over the bar before the final whistle sending SMGS coasting in to the final. FT: SMGS 2.08 , Kinsale 0.02
Panic set in facing the final when we discovered that our opposition was going to be the very team earlier that we couldn’t break away from, Bantry. Blarney started strong with Eimear Henchion winning the ball and laying it off to Alison who sent it straight in to the net which she quickly followed with another goal and Megan O’Connor with the third. It looked like things were going Blarney’s way, when Bantry began to fight back scoring the next goal and 4 points. With Emma Cronin making superb saves and the SMGS backline ramping things up with Laura, Leah and Sinead who were determined to put a stop to Bantry, not allowing them through for any other scores in the first half. Luckily for us, the same couldn’t be said for the Bantry backline, with Megan O’ Connor breezing past them to rattle the net once more followed shortly by a point from Megan O’Shea. Things were looking to be going Blarney’s way with the half time score of 4.02 to 1.04. However, this wasn’t to last long as the SMGS girls became too complacent and Bantry began the second half determined to win by finding the net in the opening minutes. Bantry won the kick out and popped the next one over the bar. As the Bantry girls began to get everyone behind the ball, the Blarney girls didn’t know how to respond and the momentary confusion resulted in yet another goal for the Bantry side. Once Blarney settled themselves, points from Alison and Megan O’ Shea calmed the nerves once more. With Blarney fighting for every ball, Eimear found Maria who broke free once more to pop the last score for SMGS over the bar. Heading in to the dying minutes of the game, Bantry fought back with two more unanswered points resulting in a draw. The girls had a quick turnaround as they prepped for extra time (2.5 mins each side) which would determine a winner. Once again, SMGS started very strong popping the first point over the bar. Bantry responded by doing the same at the other end of the pitch before the half time whistle sounded. As it looked like neither of these two teams would not back down, Bantry got one point and one goal to win the game. FT: SMGS 4.05 , Bantry 4. 09
A massive well done to all of the players and trainers on a fantastic achievement to reach the A finals, a great way to end the year. The future of ladies football in SMGS is in safe hands with these girls on board.
Team: Emma Cronin, Emma Warren, Alison Keeffe, Megan O' Shea, Kelsey Cooper, Megan O'Connor, Ella Buckley, Ellie O'Flynn, Eimear Henchion, Sinead Roche, Kayla Werner Lane, Leah Sherlock, Laura O'Sullivan and Maria O'Herlihy.