Mac the knife returns to carve Blue Nuns into Cup Semi Finals
There are days when certain games may define the rest of your season. Today may have been one of those as our 9 Nuns, who looked resplendent today in their white away habits , lined up away to Rathoath for the Cup Quarter final. The Nuns were without no fewer than 7 regular players for the entire 80 minute game and played with 2 players less than the opposition. The pitch was almost frozen off to begin with but was surprisingly declared playable at the last minute as we feared the worst.
The team lined out with an unusual formation of 4 3 1. Our dynamic midfield duo of Lucy Barrett, Ailbhe Byrne played alongside the majestic Hannah Mc Williams, who was coming back into the team after a 4 month break. These three girls supported by the lightning speed of our lone striker on the day Hannah Walsh, tormented their opposition with slick passing movements and ran the Rathoath defence ragged. From the first minute we looked dangerous and after a series of passes through midfield Hannah Mac slipped the ball into the net for the opener after only 5 minutes.
Rathoath were no slouches and used their 2 extra players to good effect making us work hard at the back where our back four of Aoife Toal, Tara Beary, Evelyn Twomey and Sarah Farrelly were put under pressure for the next 15 minutes without conceding any real scoring chances. Some light entertainment followed as the Nuns assassin goalkeeper Laura Brennan clinically body checked their striker "Harald Schumacher" style in the box and conceded a penalty. Laura made amends when her "Grobbelaar" antics seemed to distract the penalty taker who blasted the penalty over the bar - a narrow escape.
For the rest of the half the Nuns swept aside Rathoath with some high speed passing movements deep from midfield where Lucy Barrett was having a stormer. The telepathy between Ailbhe. Hannah Mac and Hannah Walsh upfront was mesmerising and each of them scored after blinding passing movements to make the score 4 nil at half time. Hard to believe the quality of the play and the Nuns high energy levels given the numerical disadvantage - maybe local bishop was watching ! The girls were is jovial form at half time as the oranges and water were consumed to replenish the tanks.
A momentary lapse in concentration just at the start of the second half allowed Rathoath to grab a cheeky goal but this was merely an interlude as from then on our defenders battened down the hatches and never gave Rathoath a sniff of a chance. Tara and Evelyn were imperious while Aoife and Sarah tackled like Vinny Jones and Denis Wise in their prime. Sarah also foraged up the line several times to create a few chances, in between adjusting her hair clips.
Further goals in the second half came from Hannah Mac who got a brilliant hat trick on her return as we bedazzled Rathoath with Brazilian style combinations between Lucy and Hannah Walsh. A sixth goal followed from Ailbhe ("Fortycoats") Byrne who was tackling hard and bursting through their defence all day at will. In the end the Rathoath team had cramp which says something for the fitness of these Nuns.
The result today given the odds against makes you think the Blue Nuns have a real chance now in the cup and they now play Terenure away in the semi final in a few weeks time, hopefully with more players back. Next Sunday the Nuns play away to their closest rivals Leicester Celtic in the crucial league table topper so there is no let up in games now.
Nun of the Match today was a close run thing with so many fine performances, but with a hat trick, showing superb vision and great composure in front of goal, Hannah Mac get's the nod by a whisker. Well done again to all the girls on a fantastic result.
Team: Laura Brennan, Aoife Toal, Tara Beary (Captain) , Evelyn Twomey, Sarah Farrelly, Ailbhe Byrne, Lucy Barrett, Hannah Mc Williams & Hannah Walsh.