Great win for Celbridge Senior Ladies
Written by Darren Gallagher
Back on the road again for our penultimate league match and one that may prove to be crucial and a ‘must win’ when deciding Semi-final places for Division 3. With three wins under our belt and the end of preliminary league games in sight, the girls knew how important the Rathangan game was and that a fast start and everyone bringing their ‘A’ game was key to a successful outcome. The game was played in perfect conditions with a strong Celbridge team taking the field for what was to turn out to be a fantastic & enthralling game of football, with both sides committed, energetic & tenacious in fighting for every ball.
However the script wasn’t written like this with Rathangan winning the ball from the throw-in and their midfielder making a darting run forward and finishing sublimely with a shot into the top corner of the net. Their No. 9 was to prove one of their key attacking strengths throughout the game, but one that Ailbhe, Leah and our half back line came to terms with as the game progressed. Celbridge fought back immediately with points from Nichola and two super goals from Orla, following great movement, passing and the usual clinical & composed finishing from Orla’s boot. Alex continued to make herself available and was finally rewarded with a great point to keep scoreboard ticking over.
We began winning more possession, providing support with off the shoulder running, creating space and showing for the ball, and apart from a blip with a long high ball in from Rathangan finding its way into top corner of the net, Celbridge dominated for large parts of the first 20 minutes. Rathangan began to find their rhythm and rattled off five points with only one additional point by Gemma in last 10 minutes to leave half time scoreline at :-
Rathangan 2-5 : Celbridge 2-5
Celbridge began the second half in the same commanding nature as they had in early parts of the first half, with Ailbhe having an exceptional night, but mostly with defensive duties due to the strength of Rathangan midfield (chasing back, challenging, tackling & winning most 50/50 battles) and Leah charging up the field to support forwards, scoring a great point into the bargain. Nicole demonstrated great fielding ability and support to midfielders throughout the game, but also scored an opportune goal followed by an excellent point to get us off to a great start in the second half. Although Rathangan fought back once again with a number of points followed by a disputed goal, Celbridge replied immediately with another excellent goal by Orla following a defence splitting pass, great run and another slick finish from Orla. Nichola also added to her points tally with another well taken score.
There were stand out performances by our defence, with Sinead as solid, reliable & tenacious as usual, Laura, Grace & Niamh defending admirably and getting forward at every opportunity, Kelley & Rowan marshalling goal area excellently, but a special mention must go to Aimee Bolger for her tackling, strength & commitment in marking one of the quickest, trickiest and determined forwards we have faced this campaign (what a battle !). To be fair, our defence started from our corner forwards (Maeve & Nichola) with much tighter marking, more aggressive challenging and teamwork throughout the field, which was a key feature in final 15 minutes when we were defending a healthy lead. It was very much backs to the wall finish, but girls defended valiantly restricting Rathangan to 3 points to close out the game.
The strength of the panel is key with Chanice, Robyn & Joy coming on in the second half to provide additional energy, drive, enthusiasm & support to continue the great work of the team. As I’ve commented on previous close games we’ve been involved in, this was another pulsating game, with end to end action throughout, & with more composure in front of goal at the latter stages, Celbridge could have had a more comfortable win. The passion, skill, commitment, team spirit and resilience demonstrated by the girls was fantastic and a big thanks to the management team & supporters for their help in ‘getting the girls over the line’. A truly exciting & entertaining game with great credit to both teams for a very competitive and sporting match and with only a kick of a ball in it, shows how evenly matched these teams were.
It’s not too often that a referee is included in match report, but in this case, a well done to the referee for allowing game flow, communicating decisions to players, consistency & general all round professionalism in officiating the game.
Let’s build on this momentum and finish out the campaign with a massive effort against Cappagh next week, keep up the great work at training & well done again to the Mulligan boys, Gavin, Hillary and the Senior Ladies squad …..
Final score Rathangan 3-11 : Celbridge 4-10
Orla Gowran (3-2) ; Nicole McDonagh (1-2) ; Nichola Farrell (0-3) ; Alex Casey, Gemma Kilduff & Leah Earley (0-1)