Blue Nuns edge out WFTA at Rumble in the Jungle
Clontarf 1 WFTA 0
On a warm early summers evening with the smell of fresh cut grass burning the nostrils, a bunch of giddy nuns travelled up to West Finglas for a bone cruncher of a first round game in the League Cup. With a clash of colours WFTA dazzled in the Barcelona away luminous yellow strip and did their best to intimidate the Nuns with their version of the Finglas Haka in the warm up. The first quarter of an hour was a bruiser with WFTA tearing into the game having been mentored by Conor Mc Gregor in the art of kick boxing blended in with some silky soccer skills. This inventive brand of football in fairness was very effective in the early stages of the game. WFTA to their credit lie second in the league table and are a vastly improved team and gave the Nuns the game of the season tonight.
Our star goalkeeper Sister "Schumacher", aka Laura Brennan was in fine form tonight. We think these midweek games best suit Laura who would have given Bayern’s own Neuer a run for his money tonight with a string of first half saves from Chelsea, Megan, Britney and Kelsey in the yellow tops making us dizzy – names like that they could have been a new a girl band appearing on X Factor. The Nuns defence of Lucy "Crazy Horse" Barrett, Tara "The Enforcer" Beary, Hannah "Mother Superior" Lyons and Aoife "The Impaler" Toal was seriously impressive tonight and needed to be as WFTA blitzed forward like the Pearl Harbour attacks in the first 25 minutes. Despite all the early possession WFTA never really breached the castle wall as the voice of the Mother Superior approached 10 decibels and shattered the bathroom mirrors in the nearby Drake Inn.
Gradually though the Nuns were starting to adjust to the hostile surrounds and cope with some bizzare decisions from our friend the ref Homer Simpson . Our midfield with Sarah "Charging Bull" Fagan, Ailbhe "Fortycoats" Byrne, Hannah "Velcro Heels" Mc Williams and Khloe " Eyebrows" Bennett started to win the battles in the centre of the park and pour forward, finding their rhythm with slick passing and sweet ground football, while avoiding the combine harvester style tackles from the opposition. We could have been at the RDS Spring Show we were at so many harvesters and rainmakers about this evening . WFTA we’re struggling to cope with the speed and mental agility of the Nuns who were by now clearly offended by the physical attention in the first half. Chances started to appear as Hannah " Rocket Boots" Walshe and Aisleen " Butterfly/Bee" O Neill shaved the posts on a few occasions. The WFTA keeper also made some fine saves from Ailbhe and Sarah, but no breakthrough by either side as we headed into half time in the ascendancy but still scoreless. Words of wisdom from the clergy at half time were delivered and the holy water was gulped down in spades on such a warm evening.
A couple of key switches at half time worked a treat as Ailbhe moved into the centre of midfield and Hannah Mac moved to the wing. Lucy pushed up into the Tom Brady quarterback midfield role and this formed a diamond of ruthless tacklers operating like a prison wall. Possession was now being dominated by The Nuns for the first 15 minutes of the second half. This allowed Sarah more space ahead and Hannah Mac was now displaying her great skills wide on the right as we controlled possession and created a half dozen chances and carved open the WFTA defence. Hannah Walshe’s speed was proving tortuous for WFTA and Ailbhe combined some Roy Keane style tackling with a quick turn of foot leaving a trail of WFTA players trimming the daisies. Sarah exploited the gaps brilliantly in her more advanced second half Number 10 role and sent Ailbhe through on the edge of the box who rounded a defender and calmly tucked the ball away across the keeper. One nil to the Nuns.
In the following 15 minutes the Nuns dominated the play but squandered several good chances as we wondered would they pay for such wanton neglect. Hannah Lyons hit a rasper 30 yard free kick on the rebound which clipped the top of the bar, the keeper barely saw. Aisleen and Hannah Walshe also went very close a couple of times. With no subs tonight the Nuns reserves started to dip as they started to dig in for the last quarter of the game which invited WFTA onto us. Back came the Nuns storm force defence to protect our lead with tackle after tackle as Aoife, Tara, Lucy and Mother Superior took no prisoners . Khloe was also doing an excellent job tracking back on the left wing to protect our defenders as danger loomed on this wing with Chelsea testing out defence. WFTAs frustration was now everywhere as they appealed to Homer for anything that was going. Luckily Homer kept looking at his watch in case he missed last orders up in The Drake with bartender Mo getting impatient.
Although we always looked comfortable in defence, you sensed WFTA would get some chances and with 8 minutes left, after a strange decision by Homer to award a fee on the left wing to WFTA, the ball was tossed into our penalty area hopefully and unfortunately hit one of the Nuns on the arm. Homer had no choice but to award a penalty this time as we feared the worst. Up stood WFTAs star player Chelsea to strike a good penalty only to be denied by a world class save from Schumacher Brennan diving down low to the right side with the agility of a leopard, a feat we all thought was improbable… Laura’s imposing presence in the Nuns goal surely affected the confidence of the penalty taker, similarly to Bruce Grobbelars antics all those years ago in Rome . No fluke either as this was a repeat performance for Laura in previous games. This save was then followed by another well parried shot from Kelsey which was then scrambled clear by Lucy and Aoife in the last minute. Miraculously the Nuns held out for a memorable win as both sets of players were dead on their feet at the end. What a game !!
This win protects the Nuns unbeaten record in all three competitions all season, which is some feat. The NOTM tonight had to be given to Laura for the first time this season with a brilliant all round performance. However, we also have to compliment the work rate and skills of the Nuns all over the pitch tonight. WFTA also to their credit played hard and fair and gave us a cracker of a game, notwithstanding the inventive brand of football . Next Sunday the Nuns travel to Enniskerry for an Under 18s tournament which will serve as a warm up for their biggest week of the season ahead with the league title up for grabs if they win against Ballyfermot in St Paul’s next Thursday at 6.30. This is then followed 3 days later on Sunday by The MGL Under 16 Cup Final at NDSL HQ in Oscar Traynor Centre Coolock at 1PM on Sunday 26th. Plenty of Hail Marys and Novena’s in the meantime as we zero in on the business end of the season.
Team: Laura Brennan, Aoife Toal, Tara Beary, Hannah Lyons, Lucy Barrett, Sarah Fagan (Captain), Ailbhe Byrne, Aisleen O Neill, Khloe Bennett, Hannah Walshe, Hannah Mc Williams