IC17 Tournament Review – Irish Banshees

2017 AFL International Cup 

Irish Banshees 

1st Place – Women’s Division 

 

BY RILEY BRETTELL

They came, they saw and they certainly conquered all.

Ireland’s road to International Cup glory took them from the parklands of Carlton, to Ballarat, to Hallam and most importantly to the big stage of Etihad Stadium, where their 2014 Grand Final defeat to Canada was cast aside as a distant memory as the Banshees claimed their revenge with one of the most exhilarating victories you could ever hope to see.

The side kicked off their campaign at a blustery Royal Park with a clash against the USA where many of the Banshees players took the field with their teammates for the first time. If there were any issues with team chemistry early on they certainly didn’t show, as Carol Breen, Sandra Ryan and Clara Fitzpatrick dominated and Linda Connolly bagged three goals in the 38-point win.

A trip down the highway to Ballarat followed for a clash against the European Crusaders, and in front of a crowd of hundreds of St Patricks schoolboys the Banshees overcame a slow start on the back of a brilliant performance from Molly Cullen to run out 61-point winners. While the final margin flattered the Banshees they importantly went into a big clash with Papua New Guinea undefeated.

That third matchup in Melbourne’s outer-eastern suburb of Hallam proved to be one of the most physical of the tournament, with the Banshees seeing off a fiery PNG side on the back of three goals to Christine McCutcheon and two to Olivia McCann, in another game where the final score did no justice to the quality of the Banshees opposition.

Finishing on top of Group B set the Banshees up for a crack at Group A runners up in the Great Britain Swans back at Royal Park. A hard-fought contest saw the underdog British side hold the edge over the Banshees for most the day, before Ireland threw caution to the wind with a fourth quarter assault that saw them run over the top of their rivals, with Colleen Quinn nailing the go-ahead goal before Gillian Behan slotted a magnificent major shortly after to add icing to the cake.

Through to their third straight International Cup final against the Canadians, the Irish faced their toughest test of the tournament and trailed at every break before a final quarter that no player, staff or supporter who witnessed it will ever forget. Clinging to a 4-point lead for the final ten minutes and under immense Canadian pressure, the Banshees heroically stood firm to claim a memorable and richly deserved victory.

The magnificent performances of Clara Fitzpatrick (ruck), Gillian Behan, Laura Corrigan-Duryea (half-forward), Carol Breen (midfield) and Colleen Quinn (interchange) were all recognised with team of the tournament selection.

Match Results: 

Round 1 – Irish Banshees 7.4.(46) defeated USA 1.2.(8)

Round 2 – Irish Banshees 8.13.(61) defeated Crusaders 0.0.(0)

Round 3 – Irish Banshees 9.6.(60) defeated PNG 0.3.(3)

Round 4 – Irish Banshees 3.5.(23) defeated GB Swans 2.3.(15)

Grand Final – Irish Banshees 4.1.(25) defeated Canada 3.3.(21)

Tournament Goalkickers:

Christine McCutcheon, Gillian Behan, Olivia McCann, Aisling Gillespie, Colleen Quinn, Fiona Roarty, Carol Breen, Linda Connolly, Aine Higgins, Molly Cullen, Maebh Moriarty, Emma Kelly, Marie Keating, Rachel McGee.

Best on Ground for IC17:

Carol Green, Clara Fitzpatrick, Gollian Behan, Colleen Quinn, Marie Keating.

World Team Selection: 

Clara Fitzpatrick (Ruck)

Gillian Behan (Half-Forward)

Laura Corrigan Duryea (Half-Forward)

Carol Breen (Midfield)

Colleen Quinn (Interchange)