Wednesday 22 November 2017

Fianna outfox Cabs in semis

TESCO semi-final night. Tea-time in Cabinteely. It was teeming. What price the centre court roof over Kilboggit Park. But then blue replaced grey, and it became an enchanted evening.

The game threw in on the tick of 7.30. TC (Tony Clarke) was in charge.

So were Na Fianna from the first whistle. Three points up within three minutes.

They were e-mailing passes all over the building. They displayed all the noble skill of basketballers.

They were supremely fit. When they didn’t have the ball – and that was rare – they put huge pressure on the opposition.

The Glasnevin girls had determination in their boots. They didn’t give away a corn flake. They went the whole nine yards.

It was a display of clockwork yellow. There’s such depth and experience in the side which bristles with inter-county personnel.

A decent home crowd looked on. They couldn’t but admire the quality of the Mobhi maestros.

Yet their loudest round of applause was reserved for the hosts on the final whistle. It was a big night for Foxrock-Cabinteely.

And their Ring masters can feel content with the journey. It was their first time in the semi-final.

They had championship wins against Naomh Mearnóg and Clanna Gael Fontenoy. But Na Fianna brought the game to a different floor.

It was akin to meeting the Kilkenny hurlers with Glen Miller playing on the sideline.

Yet despite the heavy defeat, the Fox-Cabs still had some moments to remember. Amy Connolly’s goal should be posted on YouTube.

Sinead Goldrick was one of the best players on the pitch. That’s quite a trick when the river is always flowing against you. Yet Sinead’s attitude and commitment to the job were first-class.

She covered the turf, made brave blocks, got a finger in there, a toe here, and in general gave an absolutely inspirational performance.

The young Fox-Cabs will learn from this outing. It was just such a daunting test. At times it was tough to get out of their own kitchen.

Na Fianna had calibre in every drawer of the house. Mary Nevin was conducting the orchestra in attack. All Mary was short of doing was to pop into the National Concert Hall to collect the baton for the trip to the southside.

Bronagh O’Donnell often broke with adventure from centre half-back, while Ciara McDermott buzzed at midfield. Nadine Doherty is an elegant footballer, and Laura Walsh has the engine of a Ferrari.

McDermott stroked in Na Fianna’s first goal. Leah Caffrey, daughter of Dublin All-Ireland winner John, got the second.

Nevin, Doherty, Roisin Grogan, Walsh and Bernie Finlay got enough points between them to fill a Tesco trolley.

It was a Rolls Royce offering from the 2009 champs. Now they face the holders, Ballyboden St Enda’s, in the final on Wednesday, July 27.

That should be some party.

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