Celbridge V Milltown, Division 5 League Final 07/05/16
Venue Hawkfield Centre of Excellence
After a hard fought and exciting match, in very wet conditions, Celbridge deservedly overcame Milltown to win the Division 5 League Final at Hawkfield. It was Milltown who started powerfully , and by the end of the first quarter their strong running game had put them 0-4 to 0-1 in the lead with Celbridge’s sole score coming from centre half forward Orla Gowran.
Gradually however Celbridge got to grips with both their opponents and the conditions. At half back line Aimee Bolger and Sinead McCabe, who both had great games, started to win more possession and drive forward. This provided a platform for Celbridge’s midfield duo of Grace Flynn and Leah Earley (Captain) to begin to dominate this area of the pitch and bring their dangerous forwards into the game. Initially Celbridge’s improving play went unrewarded as they shot a couple of wides before Gemma Kilduff pointed a free to get Celbridge’s second score of the day.
Critically by this stage Celbridge’s defence, led superbly throughout by full-back Robyn Murray, were now in command, and Milltown were not to register another score in the half. The distribution of the ball by goalkeeper Rowen O’Hara was excellent throughout the game and this helped Celbridge to dominate possession.
Eventually Celbridge got their reward for their hard work and skilful interplay when they rocked their opponents with a five goal blitz in the space of ten minutes. Following some fine passing between Leah Earley and Aoife Smyth, Eilish O’Brien finished strongly to get Celbridge’s first goal of the day. A second came almost immediately when Orla Gowran powerfully shot into the net after another fine team move. Some great battling by the full forwards forced the Milltown defence to lose the ball near their goal and Elish O’Brien calmly slotted in her second goal of the game. Celbridge were now flying and following a great run from Aimee Bolger, Alex O’Brien fired in Celbridge’s fourth goal. Celbridge were still not finished as Orla Gowran’s pass set up full forward Gemma Kilduff to score the team’s fifth goal. By half time Celbridge led by 5-4 to 0-4.
Celbridge initially started the second half in the same manner they had finished the first when Alex Casey scored her second goal of the game from the penalty spot. Despite the gap on the scoreboard Milltown to their credit never gave up, and during the first quarter of the second half some fine running play put Celbridge under a fair bit of pressure. Resolute defending and in particular some fine blocking and tackling from Robyn Murray and Emma Keane ensured that Milltown were only able to score points rather than the goals they needed to close the gap on the scoreboard. Eventually Celbridge got back on top with Niamh Plunkett and Aimee Bolger running strongly out of defence and Leah Early and Grace Flynn getting more on the ball and linking up well with Celbridge’s speedy and dangerous forwards. With the Milltown defence increasingly stretched Orla Gowran grabbed two more great goals to take her final total to 3-3 which was a great personal achievement in a final. Milltown never let Celbridge rest on their laurels however and scored two fine goals themselves as the game drew to conclusion. Fittingly, given the skill and commitment they had shown throughout the match Celbridge got the final goal of the game, and their ninth when Gemma Kilduff powerfully finished off yet another good passing move.
So congratulations to all the Celbridge Ladies and their manager Ben Bennett. Despite the very wet conditions both teams displayed such a high level of skill and commitment and were a credit to ladies football in Kildare. While the Milltown team never gave up Celbridge were just too strong in all areas of the game and their defending, passing, support play and accurate finishing were a joy to watch.
This was a real team performance and all the best to Ben and the ladies for the rest of the season. You have done Celbridge proud!
Thank you also to Brendan and Stan for attending and capturing some excellent photos of this thrilling final.
Final Score 9-6 to 2-09
Celbridge Scorers: Orla Gowran (3-3,); Alex Casey (2-0); Gemma Kilduff (2-2); Eilish O’Brien (2-1)