Irish Banshees vs European Crusaders
The women went back-to-back in their reduced carnival format to determine which two teams would qualify for the final on Saturday. First up on the second day of play were the Irish Banshees playing against the European Crusaders.
The Irish girls felt right at home with the gloomy skies and drizzling rain replicating the climate of Croke Park in their homeland.
Naomi Curtis opened the scoring for the Banshees with a classy goal. The rain didn’t deter Marley Beaven who continued to take the game on with her blistering speed, even having a couple of bounces along the way.
Goals to Fiona Roarty and another to Curtis gave the Irish a commanding lead just before the halftime break. Samara Warren was providing great tackling pressure for the Crusaders whilst out on the wing and got the ball into their attacking fifty against the odds on a number of occasions.
Aisling Gillespie added another goal to her already impressive tournament tally just prior to the siren and it was four goals to nothing.
The heavens opened after the break and the match turned into an absolute scrap. Neither side were giving away an inch. The slippery surface was proving challenging for a number of the players with many going ‘head over biscuit’ in their attempt to gain possession.
Gillespie decided she wanted a couple more goals before the game was over and she did just that scoring two more before the final siren sounded.
Final scores: 6.5. 40 to 0.0. 0
Ireland: A. Gillespie 3, N. Curtis 2, F. Roarty
Ireland: A. Gillespie, O. Mulcahy, C. Fitzpatrick, U. Murphy, M. Beaven, L. Connolly
European Crusaders: C. Messant, M. Falkesgaard, C. Perez, H. Canton, A. Daley, R. Gouldingay
Irish Banshees vs GB Swans
The two powerhouses of the competition were next to meet on the hallowed turf of Motspur Park. Following their thrilling 1-point game the previous day the growing crowd was getting excited about the prospect of this match.
Ireland had the better of the opening exchanges with a goal to, you guessed it, Aisling Gillespie giving them the upper hand from the get go. Marley Beaven was in a rich vein of form, constantly utilising her pace to either break the GB lines or chase down opponents.
The match was very congested and despite the rain affecting the player’s skills and execution it was one of the most fiercely contested and intense matches of footy at the tournament thus far.
The Swans wrestled back the ascendency and were peppering their forward fifty. They just couldn’t sneak through a goal and the Irish defence were herculean in their efforts to keep the ball from sailing through the big sticks.
The Banshees took the 1 goal lead into half time but neither side were comfortably in control. This one was going down to the wire, again.
The second half started how the first left off. The footy was hot and the tackling was intense. As both sides tired the game opened up and the ball was moving around the ground more freely. Ashleigh Payne was causing headaches in the Irish forward line and threatened the goals a number of times without prevail.
Alex and Danni Saulter were doing all they could for the Swans to move it forward but behinds were all the hosts could manage. With a minute on the clock and the Irish up by 6-points the ball flung into the Swans forward for it to be marked by the dependable Chloe Hall, who rushed back off the mark and slotted it through to level the score lines.
With only seconds left to go the Swans marked about 35 meters out with the siren sounding in the background. Any score would get the Swans the victory but a flooding back Banshees side stopped the ball on the line to keep the scores at 8 apiece. Another nail biter between the two rivals.
With a draw and a 1-point game between these two they’ve set the scene for an absolutely incredible decider at 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon.
Final scores: 1.2. 8 to 1.2. 8
GB Swans: C. Hall
Irish Banshees: A. Gillespie
GB Swans: A. Saulter, D. Saulter, C. Hall, L. Cobham, S. Morris, L. Wilson
Irish Banshees: M. Beaven, C. Fitzpatrick, A. Gillespie, O. Mulcahy, L. Russell, A. Payne
GB Swans vs European Crusaders
The Crusaders were desperate to register a win before exiting the tournament and a battle-weary Swans side were vulnerable following their previous game.
The Swans were backing up from their nail biter just moments earlier and went into this one hoping to avoid injury after already booking a spot in the grand final the next day.
The footy was like a bar of soap after another downpour and made it difficult for either side to get any clean possession. Maria Falkesgaard of the Crusaders was at the bottom of every pack while Rebecca Dickon again collected a ton of the football at centre half back.
Laura Park scored the only goal of the half for GB in a hard fought match thus far. The Crusaders were yet to register a goal for the tournament and they had one last half to do it.
The Crusaders came out on a mission and they came so close to getting that elusive goal on a number of occasions. They just couldn’t string together that final kick even with the crowd getting behind them with every forward entry.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for the combined Crusaders side who also played their last game of the tournament. In a great show of sportsmanship, the two remaining women’s teams and crowd tunnelled the girls off the field in a show of appreciation for getting a side together against the odds.
The GB Swans will now face off with the Irish Banshees in tomorrow’s decider with another thriller in store.
Final score: 4.6. 30 to 0.0. 0
GB Swans: L. Park, D. Saulter, R. Ramadan, L. Smith
GB Swans: R. Ramadan, D. Saulter, L. Turner, L. Cobham, A. Saulter, Z. Rowe
European Crusaders: M. Falkesgaard, R. Dickson, M. Jansen, C. Messant, C. Duquet, R. Goldingay