Blue Nuns run riot at St Pauls Abbey
Clontarf 8 Terenure 1
Back on home turf and practically at full strength after a few games on the road the Blue Nuns maintained their unbeaten run in all competitions this season by defeating a shell shocked Terenure side with as impressive a performance as you will see at any level of the game. The Nuns swapped the altar wine for some champagne football in front of a decent home crowd on a sharp but sunny day out on the top pitch in St Pauls which was in excellent condition in spite of the early ground frost.
You never know what to expect with referee's these days and this guy (what an apparition !!) could have been Jack Nicholson's stunt double in The Shining. You really couldn't blame The Nuns for carrying a spare pair of rosary beads to keep this Lucifer at bay. There is a familiar mean look now about this team once they set foot on the pitch. We see real intent and menace once the whistle blows and today was no exception as once again the Nuns midfield Mazarati engine of Lucy Barrett, Sarah Fagan, Tara Beary and Ailbhe Byrne took immediate control of the game with some quick and clever interplay playing smart ground football against the wind and maintaining possession. Only the brave and foolhardy would cross any of this lot on a dark night as the yelps and wincing from the Terenure players sounded like a bag of scaled cats and could be heard at 11 O Clock mass in St Johns Church. To complete the torment for Terenure, our 2 strikers Aoibhe Bell and Hannah Walshe were also ringing the bells in the Abbey causing mayhem on the same wavelength as the God Squad in midfield. Tara also used her lethal weapon "Rory Delappe" long throw to great effect many times catching the Terenure defence flat footed and sending players clean through on goal.
Within 5 minutes the Nuns took the lead when Lucy and Sarah Fagan played two return passes with Aoibhe who rolled the ball back into the path of Sarah who duly smashed the ball into the back of the net. Another followed when Hannah Walsh and Aoibhe combined well to draw the central defenders out of their position which allowed Lucy to use her formidable speed, sneak behind the high defensive line and slot the ball into the bottom left corner. After 20 minutes Aoibhe took over and scored 2 strikers specials, her second goal a real gem calmly picking her spot from outside the box to strike the ball into the far right corner, similar to Bellerin's goal for Arsenal against Aston Villa last weekend. At that point the elder lemons on the sideline blinked and thought they were watching the Liverpool legendary team of the 1980's playing Carlsberg football again - until they woke up !!
Inevitably Terenure tried hard to get behind our formidable defence but with dependable wise young Nuns like Laura Brennan in goal and The Mother Superior (Hannah Lyons) imperiously calling the shots at centre half. With the gates of the Abbey shut tight, all the Terenure forwards picked up in the first half was a bad dose of the flu. To complete the back four were the ferociously tackling Evelyn Twomey, the speedy Heather Bolger and the court jester Sarah Farrelly (aka "The Pineapple") who snapped at the heels of the 2 wide Terenure players all day and gave them no change. Aoife Toal who is a regular all season was unfortunately injured in the warm up and had to miss the game. Evelyn and Hannah were first to practically every ball all day and mixed up some long clearances with bursts into midfield and swift ground passing to the 2 strikers.
The strength and versatility of the Nuns squad was in full evidence today as both Aisleen O' Neill and Khloe Bennett came into midfield and the forward line seamlessly and ran their legs off allowing other players to rest without the Nuns losing any momentum. Competition for places is always good for any team and the spirit of this bunch has always been strong, even when the squad has been depleted with injuries or enforced absences. Ten minutes before half time the Nuns moved up another gear when Ailbhe Byrne who had been giving her marker a torrid time all morning anyway started getting on the end of some great passing from Sarah Fagan and Lucy and scored two more magical goals to make the score 6 nil at half time.
In the second half with the game in the bag the Nuns management team made several switches to experiment with different positional options and allowed Terenure field an extra couple of players to play the game in the right spirit. This reduced the goals count to 2 more in the second half with Sarah Fagan grabbing her second after twisting 3 or 4 defenders like a corkscrew. The last goal was deservedly scored by Hannah Walsh after a great pass from Ailbhe. Hannah W had another fine game and has shown great speed of foot over the last few games returning to top form. In between these goals, Terenure deservedly scored a late consolation goal after catching out our defence who at that stage of the game looked were chatting away like a bunch of retired Nuns hanging out laundry to dry - as the mouse said to the trap, we won't go into that one….
Overall it was another great performance from The Blue Nuns who have raced clear at the top of the league with 19 points so far from a possible 21 and a cup semi- final also to come in 2 weeks. Nun of the match was a close call with great performances from Sarah Fagan, Aoibhe Bell, Ailbhe Byrne who all scored twice, but for her selfless running, tackling, heading and killer passing from midfield NOTM today went to Sister Lucy Barrett, well done Lucy. Next Sunday the Nuns are back on the road again with a tough away trip to the missions in Balbriggan. With their swashbuckling style and having tasted the Don Perignon now, these confident Nuns running amok now wherever they go and will take stopping .
Team: Laura Brennan, Heather Bolger, Evelyn Twomey, Hannah Lyons, Sarah Farrelly, Tara Beary, Khloe Bennett, Lucy Barrett, Sarah Fagan (Captain), Ailbhe Byrne, Aisleen O Neill, Hannah Walsh and Aoibhe Bell.