Naomh Fionbarra 1-7
FIVE years after the club was formed, Castlehaven ladies have captured a first-ever county football title.
In only the club’s second year fielding a junior team, Castlehaven won the county league Division 4C final against Naomh Fionbarra at Dunmanway last Saturday night week– a triumph that will live long in the memory.
Castlehaven enjoyed an ideal start with midfielder Alice O’Driscoll setting-up Mairead O’Driscoll for a goal in the opening minute, while the same player added two more points as the Haven led 1-2 to no score after eight minutes.
After Naomh Fionbarra opened their account, Alice O’Driscoll and Mairead O’Driscoll replied with two more Castlehaven points.
Goalkeeper Rachael Deasy was in top form between the posts, keeping Naomh Fionbarra out, before Rachel O’Driscoll extended Castlehaven’s lead.
Six minutes before the break Castlehaven struck for their second goal with a sweeping move involving nine players from the full-back line right to the full-forward line allowing Rachel Whelton to crash the ball to the net.
Naomh Fionbarra’s response was immediate with a goal of their own in the 27th minute, as Castlehaven led at half time by 2-6 to 1-3. Early second-half Naomh Fionbarra points cut the lead to four before Castlehaven took control again.
It was now time for some serious defending and with the full-back line of Margaret O’Regan, Shelly Daly and Alison O’Donovan hoovering up every ball that came their way and the half-back line of Jessica McCarthy, Aideen Santry and Emma Daly driving Castlehaven forward at every opportunity, points from Katie Cronin and Brianna O’Shea helped to steady the ship.
Ten minutes from time Castlehaven had their final score with a point from Katie Cronin, and try as Naomh Fionbarra did, the goal they needed never materialised.
Castlehaven played down the clock in the final few minutes by holding possession and scenes of jubilation greeted the final whistle. As mentioned, Castlehaven’s six backs were in top form but great credit must go to the two midfielders, Alice O’Donovan and Siobhan Courtney, who covered every inch of the park, while the half-forward line of Rachel O’Driscoll, Fiona O’Sullivan and Brianna O’Shea worked their socks off and constantly turned ball over and set-up many attacks.
The inside line of Katie Cronin and Mairead O’Driscoll were a constant threat, and corner forward Rachel Whelton, who played a roving roll, turned defence into attack with some amazing runs. Sub Lauren O’Donovan got on quite a lot of ball and used it very sensibly. Overall it was Castlehaven’s greater team-work that laid the foundation for this historic win.
After the game county secretary Marion Crowley presented the cup to the winning captain Alice O’Driscoll amid scenes of wild celebrations. Alice, in her acceptance speech, thanked everyone from the management, backroom staff, the club, supporters and team sponsors, Annie Mays Bar and Restaurant. Alice also had a very special mention for late Eilish Collins who no doubt would have been proud to wear the blue and white on this historic occasion.
Castlehaven: Rachel Deasy, Shelly Daly, Alison O’Donovan, Margaret O’Regan, Emma Daly, Aideen Santry, Jessica McCarthy, Alice O’Driscoll, Siobhan Courtney, Rachel O’Driscoll, Fiona O’Sullivan, Brianna O’Shea, Rachel Whelton, Mairead O’Driscoll, Katie Cronin.
Sub: Lauren O’Donovan for Emma Daly (inj).
Panel: Aine Daly, Helena Davis, Lisa McCarthy, Niamh Connolly, Niamh Collins, Kellie McCarthy, Maria Wilson, Aisling O’Callaghan, Alice Baudains, Sinead O’Brien, Deirdre Burchill, Diana O’Driscoll.
Mentors: Maeve Davis, Tina Browne, Dinny Cahalane, Brian Hourihane.