Blue Tsunami swallows Bosco as Nuns win first ever Cup Final
Clontarf 9 St John Bosco 1
The Nuns big day finally arrived last Sunday on a warm day at the NDSL Headquarters in Coolock. The giddy Nuns looked well hydrated, calm and relaxed in the warm up area where the team masseur Marcie Bell tended to all of the girls last minute demands and the Blue Nuns entered the raucous Colosseum with the Romans by their side in the form of the legendary black and white stripes of St John Bosco – from football royalty stock. The B O S C O fans with their well - travelled Stuttgart 88 tricolour sang on their team to the 80’s music of Ottowa and bayed for blood to be spilled.. little did they know the blood would all be their own. The perfect pitch was like Lords and the referee and linesman made us feel the 2 teams were being led out in Wembley all smiles. What an atmosphere now and the Nuns fans gave as good as they got in response. However, nobody could have foreseen what was to follow which ranks as one of the greatest performances of any Clontarf team playing in a cup final .
The Nuns had a glint in their eye as they kicked off the game with great pace and intent. Some no holes barred early clashes set the tone of the day and with our midfield quartet of the fearsome Lucy “Crazy Horse” Barrett & Sarah “Charging Bull” Fagan combined the majestic skills of Hannah “Velcro Heels” Mac Williams and Ailbhe “Fortycoats” Byrne and the Nuns after 5 minutes to immediate control of midfield area which was to prove decisive. Upfront the Nuns have strength and pace in buckets with Aoibhe “the Urban Fox” Bell and Hannah “Rocket Boots” Walshe. This must be a nightmare for any defence to handle, as if the Nuns midfield cavalry wasn’t hard enough to manage for Bosco. After 10 minutes the Nuns opened their account when a through ball from Hannah Mac on the left put Aoibhe in and she neatly rounded her defender and crashed in a great bullet goal inside the post. Within another few minutes her strike partner Hannah Walsh made it two nil from close range after a great cross from Lucy on the right. Hannah Mac then chipped in a great third goal to the top right corner on 20 minutes, after being put through by Sarah who by now was carving through midfield into attack at will and having a major influence in the game, along with Lucy in the centre whose pace was frightening. Bosco were clearly shell shocked now and the clinical Nuns pushed on sensing that the Romans were about to be toppled like Caesar. Time for some tactical substitutions now with Aisleen and Sarah Farrelly entering the fray for Hannah Mac and Walshe.
Bosco started to get into the game a little on 30 minutes and forced a series of corners which were very well defended. Their “Spice Girl” midfield and attack with the likes of Bianca, Raluca, Holly and Kayleigh showed us that they can play football and for the next 10 minutes put our defenders under a bit of pressure. The Nuns full backs Aoife “The Impaler” Toal and Heather “Merciless” Bolger showed great steel and pace and won every ball coming their way, with Aoife picking up an earful from the ref after upending Raluca. In central defence the mother superior Hannah Lyons and the enforcer Tara Beary were marshalling the danger player Bianca like a pair of centurions and behind them in goal Schumacher Brennan mopped up any stray passes like Mrs Doubtfire. With Bosco pressing hard the blue tide rose again and Sarah and Lucy counter attacked dangerously. Outside them Ailbhe continued to terrorise the fullbacks on the right and cutting inside to create a couple of chances. Ailbhe created one chance for Lucy which she thumped against the bar and within minutes she then found Aoibhe who popped out of nowhere to turn the ball in from close range like one of the foxes at dawn on Vernon Avenue on bin day. Now Bosco were in real trouble and the empire was beginning to crumble as we approached half time. An otherwise peerless first half performance took a little blemish when a long ball caught out our central defenders and Bianca showed great skill and composure to flick the ball over Laura with the outside of her boot to make the score 4 1 at half time to the Nuns.
The Nuns took a well earned breather and some instructions and made another switch with Khloe “Eyebrows” Bennett coming on upfront and having a blinder. The Nuns put back on their gladiator faces again and leapt back onto the pitch with menace. Within 10 minutes Aoibhe grabbed a well deserved hat trick and collected another fiver after a great ball from Lucy. It would be a long second half now for Bosco as Sarah Farrelly who was like a bulldozer on speed down the left, struck a brilliant goal of the game from outside the box lobbing the keeper – Suarez himself would have applauded. More changes now as the Mother Superior moved into goal for the last 15 minutes with Lucy (who had taken a bad ankle knock) slotting into centre half seamlessly alongside Tara who was having her best game & keeping Bianca quiet in the second half and Ailbhe dropping in beside the charging bull in midfield and Aoibhe and Hannah Mac operating as strikers. Life became hell now for Bosco and the Nuns who were now binging on Veuve Clicquot football , with energy reserves that were incredible, knocked on another three goals, with Sarah deservedly grabbing one, Hannah Mac another brilliant lob over the keeper and finally Aoibhe bursting clear on the right to wallop in an unbelievable 4th goal for her and the Nuns 9th goal just before full time. Ailbhe was also unlucky when a great shot cannoned off the bar.
The Nuns were exuberant at the finish and you felt very sorry for John Bosco who are a good team and a lot better than the scoreline suggests, although even the Pope would have struggled to manage those hyper Nuns today. Sarah Fagan who had another great game, was the referee’s choice as NOTM but that could easily have gone to another 5 or 6 players, in particular Aoibhe who had the game of her season. Sarah as captain also spoke very well after receiving the Cup and commiserating with Bosco for trying their best to the end. A gallery of photographers gathered for some momentous photos after the presentation as the Nuns deservedly lapped up their brilliant achievement as the first girls Clontarf team to win a trophy in competitive top level soccer. The Nuns now have a gilt edged opportunity to win an historic double by beating Terenure next Sunday and have yet to lose in any competition all season. They celebrated their win into the night in the Sand bar on a memorable day for girls football in Clontarf. Well done to The Nuns – you did us all proud. The Queen is dead – long live the Queen.
Team: Laura Brennan, Aoife Toal, Heather Bolger, Hannah Lyons, Tara Beary, Sarah Fagan (Captain), Lucy Barrett, Ailbhe Byrne, Hannah Mc Williams, Aoibhe Bell, Hannah Walsh, Sarah Farrelly, Aisleen O Neill & Khloe Bennett