Competition: LGFA League Division 3
Half Time Blackhall Gaels 0-6 Moynalvey 0-3
Full Time Blackhall Gaels 2-8 Moynalvey 0-12
The Blackhall women travelled to neighbours Moynalvey on Wednesday for the AFL Division 3. Thoughts of their loss against Skryne, much like the rain, constantly threatened to intrude on the girls during their preparation. There was a real sense that, if they were caught napping again at the start of this match, they would be in real trouble.
Moynalvey tore out of the blocks and got their names on the scoreboard first, and for a moment it looked like this would be the same old story. However, Blackhall composed themselves, took a collective breath, and attacked. It wasn’t long before they equalised, which appeared to rejuvenate all of the players. From there, the scores started coming. The Nolan cousins, Emer and Fran, worked well together to create and convert great chances. Moynalvey were determined to get back into the game, and had a dangerous five-minute spell where they scored two points in quick succession. It would have been a lot more if not for the strength and communication in the backs, directed by Claire Burke in the full-back position that she has cemented as her own this year. Burke kept her two corner backs in order, while Emer Keane in centre-back directed the wings. Thanks to the hard work of midfield duo Kate Murphy and Paula Dunne, the ball was worked back up the pitch and Sabrina Kelly took her chance to score. Blackhall led at half time 0-6 to 0-3.
The second half started in dramatic fashion, with a five minute squall that made accurate passes impossible. Moynalvey capitalised on the wind, tipping over some lovely scores in a blistering spell that showed little let-up for the Blackhall backs. This was not helped by some questionable calls from the referee that resulted in more scorable frees than Blackhall would have liked. The drama continued throughout the half, culminating in a Moynalvey penalty. Following their impressive purple patch, scoring this would have completely changed the dynamic of the game. Goalie Soky stepped up, looking calm and composed. The ball was kicked, the force behind it palpable. This didn’t bother Soky, who got her body behind it and cleared it to safety.
Goals appeared to be on the minds of a few players. Despite some excellent saves from the Moynalvey goalie, Blackhall managed to score two goals in quick succession. The first one was scored by Leah Hartigan, a new player this year who worked herself into a great position and struck it sweetly. Abbie Flynn, another new player not to be outdone, won the ball in a scramble and forced it over the line.
Blackhall never got a chance to rest on their laurels, however. Rachel Mallon, who had been playing solidly in corner back, picked up a yellow with ten minutes left and was sinbinned for the rest of the match. Moynalvey never let up, and it was all Blackhall could do to keep them out. The final whistle came as a huge relief for the ladies, who won on a scoreline of 2-8 to 0-12. Manager Brian can be happy with the support play and defensive work shown across the pitch, and will hope to build on this when heading into Championship next week.
1. Sarah O'Keane 2. Aisling Maye 3. Claire Burke 4. Rachel Mallon 5. Niamh Keane 6. Emer Keane 7. Katie Penrose 8. Paula Dunne (c) 9. Kate Murphy 10. Emer Nolan (0-1) 11. Fran Nolan (0-4) 12. Abbie Flynn (1-0) 13. Amy Nicholson (0-1) 14. Sabrina Kelly (0-1) 15. Áine Maye
Caroline Griffin (0-1) for Áine Maye
Leah Hartigan (1-0) for Sabrina Kelly