By Brendan Graham
Siobhan Killeen put on a scoring masterclass for Clontarf yesterday evening as they defeated a brave Cuala side by fifteen points to become Dublin Ladies Intermediate Champions for 2018.
Clontarf came into this game having lost the previous three Intermediate finals but right from the throw in they displayed a real drive and steely determination and although Cuala did mount somewhat of a comeback in the second half, Clontarf were deserved winners in the end driving home the victory with three goals in the last ten minutes of the game.
Two scores in the opening two minutes for Clontarf from Caoimhe O’Connor and Fiona Skelly set the tone of the first half with Cuala struggling to deal with the pace being set by the Clontarf players going forward.
They could have been further ahead but a combination of shots wide and a ball into Clodagh Sheehan’s hands allowed Cuala to settle and get their first two scores of the game thanks to two composed frees close to goal from Jennifer Dunne.
A further prolonged spell of pressure from Clontarf in response to Cuala’s scores and a flurry of scores in quick succession including a Siobhan Killeen goal and a long distance point arguably the score of the game pushed Clontarf in front by 1-04 to 0-02 with fifteen minute gone.
It was refreshing to watch both sides play such open and positive football throughout the game with plenty of smart passages of play and some really support running off the ball.
The urgency of play from the Clontarf players right across the pitch meant that Cuala were having to work extra hard for their possession and when they did get the ball just weren’t being clinical enough in front of the posts.
An exchange of points between Sinead Wylde and Fiona Skelly at either end left the score at 1-06 to 0-04 before another burst of scores from the clinical Killeen and a cool finish to the net from Aoibhe Bell left the half time score at 2-10 to 0-05.
Cuala had it all to do entering the second half and they came out of the blocks fast and on a mission.
Two goals in the opening seven minutes from Eimear Loughlin and Sinead Wylde brought Cuala back to within five points of Clontarf but the leaders kept chipping away with one or two points in good response any time Cuala scored.
With just a five point lead now having been ahead by eleven at the break Clontarf knew they needed goals to kill this game of as a contest and goals were exactly what they got in between a further two scores from Siobhan Killeen with the green flag being raised for Sinead Quigley and Caoimhe O’Connor.
Goals were the flavour of the night for the remainder of the game with both sides making no mistake with the goal in their sights.
Amazingly four of the last six scores on the night were goals with both sides really going for it in the closing stages.
A further 1-02 for Siobhan Killeen and the final score of the game from Caoimhe O’Connor gave Clontarf a memorable and well deserved victory on the night.
Clontarf Scorers: Caoimhe O’Connor (1-02), Fiona Skelly (0-02), Katie Fitzgibbon (0-01), Siobhan Killeen (2-09, 3f), Aoibhe Bell (1-00), Sarah Fagan (0-01), Grace Reilly (1-00), Sinead Quigley (1-00)
Cuala Scorers: Jennifer Dunne (0-03, 2f), Sinead Wylde (1-01), Grainne O’Driscoll (0-01), Eimear Loughlin (2-01), Rachel Hartnett (1-00)
1. Carrie O’Connor
2. Heather Bolger
3. Katie Murray
4. Elaine Plunkett
5. Hannah McLaughlin
6. Grace Reilly.
7. Becky Walsh
8. Sarah Fagan
9. Niamh Hetherton
10. Sarah Murphy
11. Tara Fitzgibbon
12. Fiona Skelly
13. Siobhan Killeen
14. Caoimhe O’Connor
15. Aoibhe Bell
Substitutes: 16 Fidelma Cosgrave, 17. Aoife Crowley, 18. Roisin Troy, 19. Kate Fitzgibbon, 20. Martina Coen, 21. Caroline Roban, 22. Ciara Dunlea, 23. Sinead Quigley, 24 Margaret Mohan, 25. Aine Walsh, 26. Fiona Coghlan, 27. Niamh Mc Nally
1. Clodagh Sheehan
2. Cliodhna Kelly
3. Sinead Murphy
4. Grainne Fitzsimons
5. Jess Tobin
6. Martha Byrne
7. Eimear Loughlin
8. Hannah O’Dea
9. Jennifer Dunne
10. Rachel Hartnett
11. Sinead Wylde
12. Grainne O’Driscoll
13. Niamh Sheehan
14. Cathy Brock
15. Blaithlin Lane
Substitutes: 16. Rebecca Meaney, 17. Alanna Quinn, 18. Ciara Mc Keown, 19. Cara Sullivan, 20. Léonie O’Donnell, 21. Eleanor Moore, 22. Aoife O’Donovan, 23. Siobhan O’Kelly, 24. Orla Schutte, 25. Anna Moran, 26. Caitriona Murphy, 27. Caoimhe O’Carroll, 28. Ciara Byrne, 29. Aisling Ruigrok, 30. Ruth Moran
Referee: John Gallagher (Ballinasloe / St Grellans)