Friday 27th May… all roads led to Boardsmill where Bective would meet Longwood in the u17 Division 7 final. These two sides met in the very first round where Longwood brushed aside a heavily depleted Bective side.
The girls were determined that this wouldn’t happen again.
With the Boardsmill pitch in great condition and the weather perfect for football, the two sides started at an extraordinary pace.
Longwood struck first. Their pacy full forwards causing trouble for the full back line of Naomi Dowdall, Eabha Ryan and Aisling Collier. Bective replied with Arianna Harding raising the green flag following great work from Ava Sheeran, Erin Ferris and Sarah Louise Mullen. Arianna would soon add a point to her tally for the evening. Further points from Sarah Louise, Ava and Sophie Friel saw our ladies go in at half time 5 points behind.
The second half started at the same relentless pace with the Bective half back line of Kate Pender, Kate Dunne and Anna Mae Treacy fighting hard to gain possession and drive the ball forward. Midfielders Erin Ferris and Sarah Louise Mullen chased down every loose ball like their lives depended on it. Forwards Hayley Kate Barry and Kaidy Cahill were a constant thorn in the side of the Longwood defence. But two Longwood goals in quick succession left our ladies now 11 points down. For most teams, an almost impossible task, but this team isn’t most teams.
Some inspired decisions from the management team of Aisling McConnell and Lauren Eite saw them introduce Emily Coady and Naomi Ciechanowicz. Sophie Friel moved from forward to back leaving Kate Dunne to roam. And roam she did. She was everywhere. Bective’s answer to Monica McGuirk, Kayla McLoughlin kept her team in it with two unbelievable saves. Roared on by the travelling Bective crowd, the ladies pushed forwards and won the kick outs and the 50:50 balls. Kate Dunne started the ball rolling with a point from a free. Naomi Ciechanowicz, not long from the bench, took a ball out of the sky and fired it into the back of the net. Erin and Sarah Louise raised the white flag from frees, Holly Whelan gets two great points from play and shortly afterwards, Sarah Louise strode forward and split the posts with a great score. We are now two points down. Erin Ferris wins the Longwood kick out, spots Ava Fitzsimons in space on the edge of the “D”. Ava catches the ball, swivels and sticks the ball in the top corner. 1 point ahead. Still work to do. The forward line squeezes further up. Full backs are now on the halfway line and Longwood cannot get the ball out. Emily, Sophie, Kate Pender, Eabha and Kate Dunne do not allow the ball to leave the Longwood half. Kaidy goes close with a brilliant effort before Ava Sheeran is taken down for the last time. Erin kicks the ball dead and Bective are champions.
Back Row – L-R Sarah Louise Mullen, Naomi Dowdall, Elle Friel Byrne, Emily Coady, Kate Dunne, Ava Sheeran, Kayla McLoughlin, Ariana Harding, Erin Ferris, Hayley Kate Barry, Illanah McNamara, Holly Whelan, Naomi Ciechanowicz.
Front Row – L-R Eabha Ryan, Aoibhe Weldon, Teagan Hogge Carey, Aisling Collier, Sophie Friel, Kate Pender, Danielle Verbeek, Ava Fitzsimons, Ciara Dunne, Anna Mae Treacy, Kaidy Cahill