AGB win Se­nior crown

Bray People - - Sport -

Ark­low Geraldines-Bal­ly­money 1-15, An Tóchar 26: In the ladies’ Se­nior foot­ball fi­nal in Aughrim on Sun­day A.G.B. be­came the first side from Ark­low to win a Se­nior ti­tle.

The girls from the town showed the grit and determination, which they had in their last un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts to wrest the crown from Bless­ing­ton in ‘05 and ‘06, to run out de­serv­ing and wor­thy cham­pi­ons over the hour.

The dif­fer­ence this year was the tal­ent of their for­ward divi­sion led by Tanya McDon­ald and Jessie McEleron who have through­out the year run up large scores.

Their op­po­nents, An Tóchar, also have a proud tra­di­tion in Se­nior ladies and are the only team to win nine-in-a-row in the ‘90s. In fact three of the team yes­ter­day were in­volved in their last suc­cesses, Fiona White, Nikki Dunne and Lorna O’Gor­man.

Yes­ter­day’s match started with a pa­rade of both teams be­fore a very vo­cal and en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port be­hind the Par­nell Memo­rial Pipe Band and the mu­sic con­tin­ued for the rag­ing hot favourites Ark­low with an early lead be­ing pro­vided by points by Tanya McDon­ald (2) and Aife Ka­vanagh be­fore An Tochar re­sponded with a point from county star Mon­ica Lynch.

This point spurred the Ark­low girls on and with their hard-work­ing player of the match Catriona Byrne pro­vid­ing the am­mu­ni­tion the bul­lets in the form of points rained on the An Tochar goal and points from McDon­ald, McEleron and Ka­vanagh left the score at 0-10 to 0-2 to A.G.B with half-time fast ap­proach­ing. Both goal­keep­ers, Linda Dempsey for Ark­low and par­tic­u­larly Therese Mol­loy for An Tóchar, were do­ing well sav­ing sev­eral at­tempts at goal but the finest block of the day came when with Lynch in full flow and bear­ing down on goal the ad­vanc­ing He­len Hur­ley re­fused to yield and blocked a piledriver from its goal seek­ing tar­get.

It was this res­o­lute de­fend­ing to­gether with some way­ward free-tak­ing from the vil­lage team which kept A.G.B. ahead with the in­ter­val ap­proach­ing. The break for An Tóchar then came when fol­low­ing hard work by Mar­cella Price, Nikki Dunne rose high­est to fist home to leave the half-time score at 0-10 to 1-2 in favour of A.G.B.

A fea­ture of the first-half was the bat­tle be­tween Aife Ka­vanagh from AGB and Sarah Mi­ley from An Tochar. Th­ese play­ers went at it from the off with noth­ing be­tween the play­ers through­out.

Ka­vanagh scored a num­ber of points from frees but from gen­eral play the hon­ours in this duel were gen­er­ally even. The sig­nif­i­cance of this dual was that both play­ers are 15 years of age. They, along with sev­eral other play­ers from both squads, are a re­sult of ex­cel­lent work cur­rently be­ing done at ju­ve­nile level in the clubs and the vi­brant youth pol­icy which is so much part of our ladies game.

The sec­ond-half was as close fought as the first and with both de­fences on top it was the fire­power of Ka­vanagh, McEleron and McDon­ald which held sway de­spite the points raised by Nikki Dunne and Chrissie Shortt.

The fi­nal ic­ing on the cake from an Ark­low point of view came when McDon­ald even­tu­ally rounded O’Gor­man who had held the Ark­low ace in check for a lot of the game and fired to the net.

How­ever, with their nev­er­say-die at­ti­tude the sky and navy girls broke up field and in what was their fi­nal score, Joanne Carstairs fin­ished to the net to leave the score 1-15 to 2-6 in Ark­low’s favour.

In a match of fine per­for­mances An Tóchar were best served by Mon­ica Lynch, Lorna O’Gor­man, Sarah Mi­ley , Jen­nifer O’Gor­man, Mar­cella and Nikki Dunne while for Ark­low both the Byrnes, Aine and Cathri­ona, to­gether with Tanya McDon­ald, Jessie McEleron, Ailbhe Kear­ney, He­len Hur­ley and Aife Ka­vanagh all shone.

The player of the match tro­phy and Joe Ja­cob Cup were pre­sented to Ark­low cap­tain Cathri­ona Byrne by He­len Ja­cob and in her speech she thanked the County Board, all the play­ers from both camps, the of­fi­cials and men­tors and then it was off for a cav­al­cade down the main street of Ark­low be­fore their victory cel­e­bra­tions in Christy’s while the An Tóchar girls (spon­sored by the Glen­view Leisure Cen­tre) re­tired to their club­house for a meal with all their loyal sup­port­ers.

A tremendous feast of foot­ball by all teams and a day from which the win­ner was ladies foot­ball and a sport which is go­ing from strength to strength within the county.

Ark­low Geraldines-Bal­ly­money, win­ners of the Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship.

Ark­low Geraldines-Bal­ly­money cap­tain Catriona Byrne re­ceives the cup from Mary Ja­cob.

AGB's Jes­sica McEl­heron feels the force of An Tóchar duo Jen­nifer O'Gor­man and Mon­ica Lynch.

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