Bunclody schools complete the double with victories in both the girls and boys finals. Reports on both finals below.
Bunclody survive big scare to take Girls’ Roinn B Title
Bunclody 4-8 Ballygarrett 3-8
Bunclody had their work cut out for them in this year’s Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League Girls’ Football Roinn ‘B’ county final. After previously playing Ballygarrett earlier in the season, the form book pointed towards an easy Bunclody win. However, an inspired Ballygarrett outfit turned up in St. Patrick’s Park to put in the performance of their season and this made life very hard for Bunclody over the course of the hour. For the general spectator, it made for a very entertaining final.
From the throw in, this game was fast and frantic. With both teams boasting pacy players all over the field, the game flowed up and down the field in a series of breathtaking counter attacks. Bunclody got the first score of the night with a Caoimhe Jordan point but Ballygarrett responded with a tremendous team goal to take the lead. Making great use of the slight breeze and their excellent kicking skills, Bunclody levelled with points through Jacqui Kehoe and Katie Moynihan to level the game. A Therése Lawless free then put Ballygarrett back in the lead.
Throughout this final, the speed and tenacity of the Ballygarrett defence was very impressive and this made it very hard for the Bunclody girls to get easy scores. Bunclody, to their credit, got around this problem by simply kicking the ball over this well organised defensive unit and for a spell in the first half this worked out exceptionally well. Three goals in a row, two from Katie Moynihan and one from Caoimhe Jordan, saw them power to a commanding eight point lead and it looked like Ballygarrett were done for. This only served to make the Ballygarrett response even more impressive.
Katie Bolger got their hopes back on track when she lead the charge with a goal and point in the 18th minute. Therése Lawless then put two further points on the board to reduce the lead to two points. Bunclody just about caught their breath before half time to get three points and restore a five point lead at 3-6 to 2-4.
The second half brought more of the same entertainment as Ballygarrett threw everything they could at Bunclody. As Millie Doran ran down the wing, Therése Lawless bust a lung to sprint down the centre and get on the end of her teammate’s pass and nab a great goal to open the half. This put just two points in the game and this distance remained as frees were exchanged until Therése Lawless pointed from play to put just one in it.
With five minutes to go, the game showed no sign of letting up. Bunclody soaked up constant Ballygarrett pressure and did well to get up the field and goal through Corie Fitzgerald. A Katie Bolger free put just a goal in it with minutes to go and you could not rule out a Ballygarrett equaliser. Despite their best efforts in the few minutes of additional time, Bunclody were determined not to let the cup slip from their grasp. When the final whistle went it was with great relief that they went up to claim their first Roinn B title since coming up from Roinn C in 2014.
Bunclody: Catherine O’Connor, Rebecca O’Neill, Jodie Kelly, Ríona Mahon, Róise Dunbar, Ella McDonald, Jacqui Kehoe, Katie Moynihan, Sorcha O’Rourke, Rebecca O’Connor, Leah Morris, Caoimhe Jordan, Corie Fitzgerald, Erin O’Leary, Rachel Black, Mairéad Mahon, Natalia Zaremba, Clodagh Byrne, Anna Fernadez, Karen Armstrong, Ava Byrne, Lauren Jordan, Chafia Flynn, Leanne Mahon, Clodagh O’Byrne, Sarah Kenny, Emily Doyle, Grace Tully, Kelly Cloake, Abbey Murphy
Ballygarrett: Ayla Hughes, Rebecca Prendergast, Mia Davey, Sophie Moran, Orla Wafer, Katie Corkish, Katie Bolger, Therése Lawless, Grace O’Keefe, Millie Doran, Ava Hardy, Eva Casey, Jessica Farrell, Chloe Tobin, Mary Canavan, Dandan Walsh, Nelli Douglas-Adam, Ellie Lawles, Megan Tomkins, Jade Moore-Kavanagh, Rachel Foley
Late Drama as Bunclody complete county title double
Bunclody 4-7 Ferns 3-6
Bunclody made it a double delight when they took both the boys’ and girls’ county titles home in last week’s Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Rackard League football finals. This time is was an ambitious Ferns team aiming to spoil the Bunclody party and these near neighbours served up an enthralling match worthy of any final.
The first half was a curious affair. Try as they might, both teams found it hard to get on the scoreboard despite both teams playing some great football. The fast and furious Ferns team scurried all over field in search of an opening while their Bunclody counterparts showed some exceptional ball playing skills as each team aimed to better their opponent. There were only three scores from play in this intense half. Bunclody corner forward squeezed over the game’s first point from a narrow angle, James Murray and Jason Ogwueleka got two good scores for Ferns and the rest came from frees. At three points apiece at half time, it looked like this game was going to be a low scoring affair even though it was keenly contested and high in entertainment value.
The second half saw the game spectacularly open up in a manner that few would have predicted. As legs warmed up and the adrenalin kicked in, both teams flew at each other at a frantic pace. Ferns needed their talented keeper, Hugh Finnegan, to push a strong Ciarán Whiting shot over the bar early in play. Scorer then turned into provider when he set up Oisin O’Leary for the game’s first goal. Ferns reacted brilliantly and rattled the crossbar just before full forward Jason Ogwueleka artistically palmed a loose ball into the net. Seconds later, it was Ferns in the lead when Matthew Kelly scored a goal.
Big finals need big players who create big moments and this is where Bunclody midfielder Darragh Farrell stepped in. He scored what must be the Rackard League goal of the season straight from his team’s kickout. First, he took the ball down from the clouds and the smoke with a huge catch. Then he soloed and slalomed past the entire Ferns team before finally burying the ball in the top corner of the Ferns net with his left boot. This put Bunclody a point ahead.
Not to be outdone, Ferns got a third goal through James Murray minutes later to the delight of the watching crowd. The drama was far from over. Bunclody put over another Darragh Farrell free just before Oisin O’Leary scored his second goal of the final. Yet again, Ferns stubbornly rose to the challenge and went on the level the game with five minutes to go thanks to James Murray and Max Meegan points.
In the game’s final moments, Bunclody finished very strongly and just about managed to pull away. Darragh Farrell scored two more points while running up and down the field like a madman. Ciarán Whiting went hell for leather for a goal and, despite being blocked down at point blank range, went on to pounce again seconds later and score a goal that he fully deserved. Ferns could just manage a James Murray 45 in these final minutes and that proved to be the difference that separated the teams.
This was a final where both teams went toe for toe with each other at full pelt for an hour and it was a shame that only one team could take the prize. But Bunclody fully earned the final plaudits after recovering the lead four times during this exciting match on a historic night for the North Wexford school.
Bunclody: Robert Black, Michael Doyle, Rory Raleigh, Andy Moorehouse, Thomas Cowman, Conor Burke, Aaron Dunne, Darragh Farrell, Desmond O’Connor, Tadhg Byrne, Sam Black, Jimmy Connors Oisin O’Leary, Ciaran Whiting, Matthew Skelly, Hugh Byrne, Aaron Whiting, Luke Boxwell, Sam Lonergan, Niall Furlong, T.J. Kelly
Ferns: Hugh Finnegan, Seán Gahan, Charlie O’Hara, Craig Dreelan, Max Meegan, Stephen O’Toole, Darragh Breen, James Murray, Liam Byrne, Niall Logan, James Kinsella, Cormac Kinsella, Danny Dreelan, James Ogwueleka, Matthew Kelly, Luke Kinsella, Thomas Dunne, Jacob McCormack, Jerry Sheridan, Ryan Hayes, Charlie Murphy, Bryan Kearns, Oran Hayden, Jack Burke, Lee Doyle, Jack Brennan