Kelly Catering Ladies Intermediate Football Championship Final
Fulham Irish 2-8 – 1-7 Holloway Gaels
By Ryan Fitzgerald-Nolan
Fulham hung on to clinch the Intermediate Football Championship title despite a late resurgence from Holloway Gaels in well matched encounter at Irish TV Grounds, Ruislip.
In spite of the final score, it was The Gaels who started the brighter of the two, retaining most of the possession within the opening five minutes, and the North London side were rewarded with two early individual points from Cliona Twohigh and Caroline McKay. However the balance soon shifted to Fulham Irish, who began to get a foothold in the game and were rewarded with a point from Mary Alice Maguire and the first goal of the game courtesy of Bridget Gallagher, coolly slotting the ball in at the far post.
Fulham began to see more of the ball than in the first five minutes, and used the possession wisely by built on their lead with another neat goal from Bridget Gallagher and two fast points through Bonnie Fleming.
The response required for Holloway in order to not let the game slide away came through McKay and half forward Trish McCarthy, who narrowed the deficit to 4 points. Holloway’s midfielder Aileen Brady could have closed the gap to a point on the brink of half-time but opted for a point after obtaining the ball from a spillage from Fulham keeper Sarah Moore, which could have been costly to the score line later in the game. Fulham Irish led by 2-03 to 0-05 at the break.
Both sides opened the second half with promising attacks, however it was Irish’s Kathy O’Regan and Bonnie Fleming that dealt the early killer blows that seemed to drain the Gaels’ confidence. After a period of chasing Fulham shadows, Holloway began to regain belief and confidence after regaining possession from strength in tackling. Aileen Brady and Anne Marie Fitzgerald’s points further reinforced the mindset that a comeback was well within reach.
It seemed Bonnie Fleming’s point spurred on the Gaels further so much so they achieved three points from an acute angle and the game was truly on. After a Fulham Irish converted free, Holloway were four points away from Intermediate Football Championship triumph with less than ten minutes to go. Effectively a game of cat and mouse ensued as each team was assisted with nervous screeches of encouragement from the touch lines.
With only two minutes on the clock, Irish’s Roisin McDonald ended all hopes of Holloway glory as she fisted over the bar which meant all of the Gaels’ desperate efforts were in vain. With Holloway’s character never in doubt, victory eventually went to Fulham who were consistent through the majority of the encounter, and now have another trophy to add to the cabinet after last week’s crowning as London Senior County Champions.
Fulham Irish: Sarah Moore, Anne Marie McDonald, Emma Sayers, Ann Cooper, Kathy O’Regan (0-01), Rhona Newell, Olivia Walsh, Jessica Edwards, Lorraine Power, Mary Alice Maguire (0-01), Lisa Reid, Bonnie Fleming (0-04), Laura Faulds, Roisin McDonald (0-02), Bridget Gallagher (2-00).
Holloway Gaels: Aisling Judge, Brenda Murtagh, Sylvia O’Sullivan, Catrina O’Donnell, Karen Tracey, Emma Shorthall, Cliona Twohigh (0-01), Aileen Brady (0-01), Caroline McKay (0-02), Ann-Marie Fitzgerald (0-02), Trish McCarthy (0-01), Caroline Hanley, Sheila Walshe, Emma Mulhern, Aine Maguire.