Blue Nuns edge closer to first ever league title
Clontarf 6 Ballyfermot FC 0
Back at Fortress St Paul’s the Nuns tonight blew away away a brave Ballyfermot team with another impressive win which places them on the brink of clinching their maiden league title. On a balmy summers evening the home supporters turned out in force to push the Nuns forward. The ref tonight, who was a ringer for Sid in the Carry On movies, arrived a little late and got us underway after the formalities and jewellery removal protocols.
Both teams started the game with 10 players and the nuns tore into the game with serious endeavour and no little skill. In central midfield as Charging Bull Fagan and Ailbhe took immediate control of the game and created a raft of chances between them. For the first 30 minutes the Nuns swarmed the Ballyfermot penalty box like a plague of locusts . Chances went a begging with the Ballyfermot keeper having the game of her life, denying close range shots from Hannah Walsh, Aisleen, Sarah and Ailbhe. The level of squandering and wastage of gilt edged chances was concerning where the Nuns lacked a slice of luck and composure and as the half wore on we feared the sucker punch.
Like they have been all season, our defence have been rock like with Schumacher Brennan looking calm but mischievous in goal. Our no nonsense back four of Aoife, Tara, Mother Superior Lyons and Crazy Horse Barrett who were all razor sharp in the tackle and needed to be as they faced some tough challenges, colourful language and a difficult sunset blazing into their eyes. Laura dealt well with a couple of awkward bouncers facing into the sun, sure we could have been having tea at Lords watching The West Indies in mid July.
The breakthrough came 10 minutes before the break when Sarah who had literally tormented Ballyfermot all over the pitch making Iniesta like runs through spades of opposition defenders you might see at The Camp Nou, broke through the defence and put Ailbhe through who squeezed the ball over the line after the keepers valiant attempts to stop her failed. The Nuns killed off the game effectively when Khloe Bennett, who had fought like a tiger all evening closing down space, chased an innocuous ball from midfield, ran 40 yards and evaded 2 defenders before bulldozing the ball over the line taking the goalkeeper with her. Great goal and a killer blow to Ballyfermot.
At half time the Nuns emptied the fountain of water and rehydrated sensibly in between lots of banter and idle gossip. Things would get worse now for Ballyfermot now as the urban fox Aoibhe Bell arrived fresh from her theology study group to heap more misery on our opposition.
Lucy was released from her role as defender to allow Sarah take a break in a reversal of roles. More chances were spurned as the standard of passing improved and you sensed goals were imminent. Aisleen showed us a number of deft passes creating great space for the 2 strikers ahead and closed down any threat on the left side of midfield.
Aoibhe was quickly making a total nuisance of herself on the right side of the attack winning ball and then swung in a wicked corner which caused mayhem in the Ballyfermot defence before Ailbhe managed to scrambled the ball over the line for her second goal.
The 4th and 5th goals were created by forceful play from Lucy and Aoibhe cutting in again from the right which allowed Hannah Walshe space in the centre of the box to exploit, which she did expertly , twice in the space of 5 minutes. Aoibhe was getting a little frustrated as she smashed a pile driver narrowly wide from outside the box on the left and then watched her well placed low free kick whistle inches past the post. However, she was rewarded eventually when after closing down a short kick out, she blasted the ball across the keeper into the corner of the net to make the final score 6 nil.
Nugget of the night which drew a burst of laughter all over the pitch was from the excellent ref, asked a Ballyfermot player to "get back there you’re not going shopping" as she attempted to take a throw in 20 yards up the line from where the ball crossed. Sid himself would have been proud of that one.
The win now puts some distance between the Nuns chasers St John Bosco and WFTA who do have some games in hand but a lot to do. With only 2 league games remaining and 12 wins and 2 draws from 14 league games, the Nuns now look uncatchable and have a plus 44 goal difference. Impressive indeed as they head into Cup final weekend this Sunday where the Nuns play the U16 final against arch rivals St John Bosco at 1PM at the Oscar Traynor Centre, Coolock. This will be a cracker of a game and a first ever NDSL Cup final appearance by any Clontarf girls team.
NOTM tonight was a tough call but for her bulldog spirit all evening chasing hopeless causes and helping her team mates when required, capped with a fine individual goal which knocked the stuffing out of Ballyfermot just before half time, the NOTM tonight goes to Khloe "Eyebrows" Bennett. We’ll done Khloe and all the Blue Nuns again.
Team: Laura Brennan, Aoife Toal, Tara Beary, Hannah Lyons, Lucy Barrett, Sarah Fagan, Ailbhe Byrne, Aisleen O Neill, Hannah Walsh & Aoibhe Bell