Galway edge outbrave Dublin 16's
IT was Dave Pearson's birthday last Saturday. Dave is the manager of the Dublin U16's.
They lost to Galway, 1-14 to 1-10, in the All-Ireland U16 'A' Championship at Parnell's.
Not quite the perfect present. "To see the girls smiling is good enough for me," said Dave.
Even before the throw-in, Dublin were out of contention, but you wouldn't have thought so. They played with commendable spirit.
Unbeaten Galway were very much in the frame. This was their third win from four. "We topped the group and we are into the All-Ireland semi-final, and that is where we wanted to be," stated Galway boss, Lorraine Larkin.
Galway struck late to take the victory. They led for the first time six minutes from the end.
"Dublin really put it up to us. We were a bit slow to start. But once we got going, we did well and we finished strongly," added Lorraine.
"Fair play to the girls. They put in a great effort right till the finish. We play Wexford now in the semi-final, so fingers crossed."
Dublin knew that Galway were always capable of producing a late spurt. "Yes, we had been warned about that, and that is exactly what happened. They really picked it up five minutes from the end," reflected Dave.
"It was a very good game. Their 'keeper kept them in it. We had chances that on another day would have gone to the back of the net.
"All our girls were fantastic. But I felt Galway deserved their win. They kept going right till the end. Just like we did, but they got the scores."
There were grey clouds in Coolock and the sun had gone on holidays. It took people a while to adjust to the climate change.
There were also pockets of gentle rain-fall as the hour rattled along with slices of sweet skill and no lack of conviction.
There were some mighty scrambles as the players sought to dig out the sliotar and get it onto the stick.
The hosts got the ideal start. A goal from Grace O'Shea after two minutes. She found herself in a yard of space and she made the most of it.
The Blues sent over some fine emails. The best of them came from Niamh Rock from way out on the left.
The Dubs had the half-time advantage - 1-7 to 0-6, and the second period was even more compelling than the first.
Three points from Ellen McGovern kept Galway at bay. But the Tribeswomen were coming hard on Dublin's shoulder. And they were helped with scores from Eimear O'Donovan (2), Taragh Moloney, Carrie Dolan and Sinead Minihan.
On 54 minutes, Dublin still led by two, but then came Galway's golden goal as Ava Lynskey found the basket with a dainty first-time connection from close range.
The Corrib then filled with confidence. Points from Marie Farrell and Leanne Freaney took them four points clear.
Just on the last whistle, McGovern came within a whisker of a Dublin goal, but Sarah Healy made the save-of-the-day.
No candles on the cake for Dave Pearson, but much to celebrate just the same.