GB Swans vs Irish Banshees
The first game of the much anticipated women’s tournament kicked off yesterday in what were hot and muggy conditions. The first two days of the tournament are played in a carnival format with each team playing 2 shortened games across the day.
The high flying Swans had a lot to live up to in this opening encounter against close rivals, the Irish Banshees, after strong showings in tournaments throughout the 2016 season. The Banshees were a real unknown quantity as many of them had met just moments earlier.
A slight mix up from the Irish at the centre bounce as the backs and forwards seemed to forget which way they were running kept the eager crowd waiting a little longer for the female footy action to kick off.
Clara Fitzpatrick of Ireland got the better of the first ruck contest and was the linchpin of the Banshees early attacking forays. Neither side were giving away an inch in the opening exchanges with the tackling pressure and physicality phenomenal.
Rania Ramadan was proving a handful at centre half forward for the home side. Her big marking and kicks deep into the Swans forward line was causing the Banshees a few headaches.
With the first half ending with both sides goalless the opening goal of the second half was going to be crucial. A 50-meter penalty gifted the Banshees a shot on goal to open the half but they were unable to convert.
A polished GB side made them pay with the ever-present Ramadan and Chloe Hall kicking a goal a-piece in quick succession.
Aisling Gillespie did her best to get the Banshees back in the game with a beautiful left-foot snap to open their account.
Ireland were starting to get their run and carry going and the Swans were finding it hard to combat. With a solitary point in it and the ball camped in the Irish forward 50 it seemed the women’s game was taking a leaf out of the men’s fixture two days prior.
A shot from the boundary by Ireland nearly snuck in for the winning goal but it wasn’t to be. The composure and structure of the Swans proved too much in this opening encounter.
Final Scores: 2.1. 13 to 1.6. 12
GB Swans: R. Ramadan, C. Hall
Irish Banshees: A. Gillespie
GB Swans: R. Ramadan, C. Hall, A. Saulter, L. Wilson, L. Turner, L. Cobham
Irish Banshees: C. Fitzpatrick, C. Donnelly, U. Murphy, L. Connolly, A. Gillespie, O. Mulcahy
Irish Banshees vs European Crusaders
A quick turnaround from the girls in green had them pitted against a European Crusaders side made up of the most dedicated and footy mad girls from Denmark, Sweden, France and GB.
The Crusaders girls, led by Maria Falkesgaard, weren’t here for a holiday and were hoping their fresh legs would give them the edge they needed to get over a deflated Ireland after their 1-point loss just moments earlier.
A promising start from the Crusaders orchestrated by Coline Duquet in the ruck and Claire Messent in midfield had the Irish on their toes early.
The cool heads of the Irish weathered the storm early and launched into attack with Gillespie registering her first goal of the game and second for the day.
Onora Mucahy was proving a handful for the Crusaders as she’d often be the one with the ball in her hands following a contest.
Ireland asserted their dominance and had the footy camped in their forward 50 for the majority of the half but could only register the 1 goal.
The 2nd half started with some drama after the Crusaders captain called for a player count. With the game stopping for a couple of minutes it was found that the Irish had in fact the right number of players on the field, although it must have felt otherwise as the Irish were collecting a ton of the footy all over the ground.
Two goals to Ashleigh Payne and a major from Moane had the game on ice for Ireland. With every minute they played the more dangerous they became with their run and carry proving very difficult to contain for the opposition.
Final scores: 4.8. 32 to 0.1. 1
Irish Banshees: A. Payne 2, A. Gillespie, C. Moane
Irish Banshees: C. Fitzpatrick, M. Beaven, O. Mucahy, M. Walsh, A. O’Donnell, A. Payne
European Crusaders: R. Dickson, C. Duquet, C. Messent, A. Daley, L. Torrance, M. Falkesgaard
European Crusaders vs GB Swans
The final game of day 1 of the women’s tournament pitted a battle weary Crusaders against the highly fancied hosts, the GB Swans.
The Swans lived up to the hype with three straight goals to Caroline Sellar and a double from Danni Saulter blowing the Crusaders out of the water from the get-go.
Rebecca Dickson was all class for the Crusaders at centre-half back and continued her strong form from the first game to rack up a heap of possession.
Under constant pressure, the Crusaders backline did their best repelling the Swans. Alex Daley and Rachel Gouldingay were finding a lot of the footy down back whilst also doing what they could to stop Rania Ramadan at centre-half forward dominating like she did against the Irish.
The Swans finished the first half with a 6 goal to nil advantage providing the crowd with one of the most dominant performances of the tournament.
Two quick goals to the Swans, Lea Cobham and the home side were well and truly on their way to a cricket score. Full credit to the Crusaders midfield of Messant, Falkesgaard and Perez who stemmed the free flowing footy of the Swans and made sure only two goals were conceded for the half.
Another thrilling day of games is scheduled for today to determine which two women’s teams advance to the final on the Saturday. The Swans and Banshees are in the box seat after day 1 but stranger things have happened in football.
Play starts from 11:30am today at Motspur Park.
Final score: 8.7. 55 to 0.0. 0
GB Swans: C. Sellar 3, D. Saulter 2, L. Cobham 2, L. Darby
GB Swans: C. Sellar, D. Saulter, R. Ramadan, J. Bennett, C. Hall, L. Cobham
European Crusaders: R. Dickson, C. Messent, A. Daley, M. Falkesgaard, H. Canton, R. Gouldingay
**Men’s Day 3 match reports will be available tonight**