Last Saturday in North Kildare (NK) saw a big game for the Ladies Seconds. A win could be the crucial cog needed to save them from relegation. Coach Bobbo was under high demand that weekend and was forced to send his team down to the depths of the countryside, alone. They were armed with comprehensive instructions on the press (again) and a second by second guide to the substitutions. Being without a leader meant the girls started without the usual explosivenesss. There was a piddly goal against them in the first quarter. We won’t dwell on this as it would make for poor reading.

At half time the Clontarf team horsed down elite energy gels in the form of Haribo jellies, it was like a toddlers birthday party without the clown…or were there a bunch of clowns in the other dug out?

Our sweetheart team of athletes are renowned for peaking in the 3rd quarter, the dogs on the street could tell you this. True to their reputation Clontarf skidded out like a pack of wild boars. 12 mins in the whistle went and our girls had won themselves a short corner. Stano pushed the ball out, Lorna stopped it majestically and Ali took the shot aimed for the near post, Stano hared in to give the ball the guidance it needed in order to equalise. The celebration was on par with that of Italia ’90 and could be heard by the folk in Kinnegad. Later, information leaked that Stano had been tipped off by the OG Bails as to where her sister Ali tends to strike the ball. This knowledge was crucial and hats off to Stano for performing so dutifully.

The 4th quarter made for some very entertaining hockey. It was like an episode of Fair City, and not one of the ordinary weekday ones, but one of the Christmas specials. At one point, Dee took a quick free from the back line, an NK player then picked the ball up with her gloved hand in open play and demanded we all stop as she wasn’t ready, again a toddlers birthday party comes to mind! Ref C Mc Mullen couldn’t find his red card so waved off the matter as a fleeting glitch by the young Kildare woman of 47. Moments later Clontarf’s Anita bounded towards their goal dribbling like a professional. She passed it to Ruth, whose positioning can only be described as magnificent. Ruth arced at pace into their goal hungry for one more, The NK keeper immediately clocked the threat, she dived and got a touch of the ball with the very tippy-top of her stick, this forced both Ruth and the ball off the end line. A wave of disappointment flooded through the team. With 5 mins left on the clock NK pulled out the oldest trick in the book with some classic time wasting techniques, some of which deserved an Oscar.

The final whistle blew all too soon. With relegation nipping at their toes, the Clontarf teams stamina and fitness was up there with that of Sonya O’Sullivan and they would have welcomed the chance to play an extra quarter. But unfortunately it was just to be the one point for the ladies that day.

A few hours later a text came through from coach B who like his team will never give up.. “Great work against a particularly nasty opposition, we still have a chance of getting ahead of Genesis with 2 games left #believe”. There’s talk of a musical version coming to the Bord Gais in 2024.

Final score 1-1

Goal scorer: Sarah Stanley

MOTM – Ali Bailey, Ruby Battler

Written by: Deirdre Mahon