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    U16 Girls win football final - match report

    Na Fianna U16s Ladies win Football Final

    Na Fianna 5-12
    Walterstown 1-5

    Having lost to Skryne once, Oldcastle once and Clan na Gael twice in their 4 previous football finals, Na Fianna's U16 girls finally lost the Bridesmaid title and became the stars of the show yesterday. This bunch of girls have been there or there about since under 10 but have found it very hard as a group to win silverware. They all have won with other age groups but as a collective it has been heart ache for so long.

    But yesterday in the glorious sunshine, they out played, out smarted and out witted a very determined Walterstown. Both these teams had met in the opening round of the groups stages with Walterstown winning on that occasion, so the girls knew that nothing but a flawless performance would be required. The score line probably doesn't reflect the tight nature of this match with 3 of Na Fianna's goals coming in the last 6 minutes of the game.

    To add to the tension Walterstown scored to opening two points leaving many thinking there could be more disappointment ahead. But the girls knuckled down with Leah Devine scoring the opening two points of her 1-6 contribution for the Na Fianna gils. Niamh Mulvihill scoring a magnificent 2-3 and Hazel O'Reilly Higgins who clocked up many kilometres over the afternoon took control of midfield and any ball which did passed them in those opening stages was swept up by Meath's U14 captain Emma Regan, who incidentally had competed in and won the girls under 16 County Community Games high jump earlier that morning. The opening 10 minutes belonged to Emer Clarke, however, showing leadership by hassling and stealing the ball of her opposite number on 5 or 6 occasions rallying all those around her to step up to the plate. Emma Fay answered the call by outplaying her "man" for the hour and never let her player get past her on any occasion. Niamh Coffey and Ellen Farrelly were outstanding in the full back line and Hazel Geraghty gave a lesson in full back play by getting to the ball in front of her player on all occasions and clearing her lines. Niamh Griffin on the half back line worked tirelessly sending intelligent ball up to the forwards and the full forward line of Amy Boland, Caoimhe Slattery and Ellen O'Hara (1-1)) caused the Walterstown back line endless problems. Emer Fagan used all her experience to keep the pressure on those backs and led wave after wave of attack scoring 2 points. Just as the opening 10 minutes belonged to Emer Clarke the last 10 minutes belonged to our goalie Alex. Her three magnificent saves at this crucial time saved the day as she had done on many occasions through out the year.

    Because of the pace of the match and the extreme heat Na Fianna used all of their subs and each of these girls made enormous contributions. Sarah Doherty was only on the pitch minutes when she slotted the ball in the back of the net. Alana Fahy, Lauren McElvanna and Laoise Murray took over the full forward duties and kept up the constant attacking football. Katie Flynn came on in the backs at half time and was first to the ball and setting up many attacks. All in all it was a wonderful display by a wonderful group of girls. By the time the final whistle sounded a collective sigh of relief was exhaled by all parents and supporters.

    Many thanks to all those who turned up to support the girls yesterday in Dunganny and throughout the year.
    Team: Alex Dzeriek, Ellen Farrelly, Niamh Coffey, Niamh Griffin, Emma Fay, Emma Regan, Hazel Geraghty, Hazel O'Reilly Higgins, Niamh Mulvihill, (2-3) Eimear Fagan, (0-2) Leah Devine, (1-6, 3fs) Emer Clarke, Caoimhe Slattery, Amy Boland, Ellen O'Hara, (1-1) Katie Flynn, Sarah Doherty, (1-0) Lauren McElvanna, Alana Fahy, Laoise Murray.

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