The fab five for Foxes
Compelling contest lights up a memorable Parnell Park night
One of the best Dublin Senior Ladies Football Championship finals ever. Perhaps the best of them all.
The Parnell Park atmosphere crackled in the rain last Saturday night. It went all the way to extra time.
Foxrock Cabinteely won it, 2-13 to 3-8. And thus complete the five-in-a-row.
The applause erupted on the sound of the long, last, exhausting whistle. Following an epic game of four halves.
The spectators were on their feet, clapping both sides. The sizzling Southside derby that had crossed the Toll Bridge. The great debate between neighbours. And friends. Two teams who couldn't have given anymore.
Many would be sharing the same seats on the City Special from the Mansion House to Merrion Square.
It was Kilmacud's first final. They had left all their nerves on the 46A.
They have a classical full-forward in Michelle Davoren. The most intelligent of footballers.
All night, they were running hard up the Foxrock hill. Aoife Kane, Lauren Magee and Éabha Rutledge leading the charge.
Both clubs displayed the spirit and industry of Japan. And Japanese ball-handling skills as the ball turned into imperial leather.
The champions had to go deep into the well. Deeper than they had to go before in any of their final victories.
They had leaders all over the stage. And chief among them was Amy Connolly, who possesses the most sumptuous left foot in football.
Lorna Fusciardi had a blinder in the half-back line. Alongside her was the magnificent Niamh Collins. And the great Goldy herself. All the money in the Premier League wouldn't buy her. Priceless.
In attack, Amy Ring's guile and swift, clever movement made space and unlocked doors.
Foxrock's long experience was a big asset when the pressure was at its height. Protecting a lead deep in the extra time by keeping possession.
Yet Crokes were always at their heels. One misplaced pass, and they were in. And, on one occasion, Rutledge intercepted and raced off into the clear. Setting off the Foxrock house alarm.
Keeping possession was vital. Lose it, and you were quickly on the back foot.
The pace was relentless from start to finish. They were level at half-time - 2-2 to Crokes and 1-5 to Fox Cab.
The quality of the duel was set by Jodi Egan's opening point at the scoreboard end.
Crokes got the first goal. It came in the seventh minutes. Davoren opening a gate for Rutledge.
It was Egan who replied with the Foxrock goal on 18 minutes. Ring and Aisling Murphy combining to provide the chance.
Four minutes later, the excellent Molly Lamb travelled down the N11 from her centre-half back position to tuck in a penalty.
Two minutes into the second half, quick thinking from Hannah O'Neill released Ring for Foxrock Cabinteely's second goal, enabling them to lead by two points, 2-5 to 2-3.
They made profit in the first five minutes of the second period, scoring that goal and three points. And they were five points ahead coming to the last bend.
Yet Kilmacud kept chasing. Rutledge kicked two frees. The game was well in injury-time when Rutledge lobbed in a free. There was a scramble. And, after consulting with his umpires, Stephen McNulty awarded a penalty. And Molly obliged again.
And so extra time it was - Kilmacud 3-7; Fox Cab 2-10.
They were still level after its first period following a point from Mia Jennings and a Ring free.
Then two frees from the cultured Connolly at the church end saw the Michael Murphy Cup returning once again to Kilboggett Park.