Holloway Gaels: 1 - 11
Parnells: 4 - 08
Road To The Final
Holloway Gaels began their Championship campaign on September 19 th when they faced St. Anthony’s of Reading on a sunny morning in Greenford. 5 weeks and 4 tough Championship games later, the Gaels were back in a wet, blustery Greenford for the London Intermediate Championship Final. Their opposition on the day were the only team to beat them on the way to the final; Parnells. Whilst outsiders had the girls in red and black written off as under-dogs, there was huge belief and desire in the Holloway camp to ruffle some blue and yellow feathers. Ciaran, Jack and Aisling did everything in their power to get the girls ready for the final. The training was purposeful, as always, the mood was upbeat and full of conviction.
Emma Mulhern had organised a new set of jerseys earlier in the year, thanks to our sponsor Gertie Brownes, and these arrived just in time for game-day. Aisling Clifford and her colleagues at the County Board had planned for the game to be streamed on Youtube so that family and friends could tune in from afar. Macdara and Ciara Holland had signed on as commentators, thank you. Final fever was building and all the girls were getting excited for Saturday. (Big thank you to Charlotte, Emily, Aine, Enya and Muls for the time and effort they put into making headbands and food for the day).
On a sticky pitch, which had just seen TMC lift the Junior Championship Cup, Holloway lined out against the side that beat them on a score line of 3-10 to 0-8 four weeks previously. When Eoin Kelly threw the ball in Parnells set about attacking the Gaels back line but were initially thwarted in their attempts and Holloway earnt a free out. A turnover by the Parnells number 11 from the free kick quickly led to the first goal of the day from the boot of the Parnells full-forward. The sides traded chances for the next 5 minutes with Holloway having a wide, a shot drop short and a 45 chance snuffed out by the Parnells back line. The Gaels defence put the girls in blue under pressure which resulted in two of their shots dropping into the hands of keeper Aisling Clifford. However, Parnells struck their second blow coming up to 7 minutes when a shot by the number 14 deflected off the post straight back into her hands for an easy tap in. With two goals conceded in the opening 7 minutes Holloway had to dig in deep to get themselves back in the running. The break-through came in the 11 th minute when Cavan native Sheila Walshe steadied herself and sent the ball towards the Parnells goal from a wide angle. Luckily for Parnells their keeper was able to get a fingertip to the shot to tip it over for a point. Parnells scored from their resulting kick-out before Caroline McCarthy slotted over a point for the Gaels. Parnells struck a close range free over the bar to see the sides run in at the water-break on a score line of 2-02 to 0-02.
On resumption the sides traded points again, with Vice-captain Emma Mulhern getting on the scoresheet for Holloway. Parnells hit 1-02 in quick succession before Holloway responded with a goal from the boot of Sligo wonder Marian O’Donnell, who pounced on a pass from Car Mc to send the ball straight to the back of the Parnells net. Holloway had a period of dominance in the final few minutes of the first half and will rue the missed opportunities, with a number of shots going wide, dropping short or hitting the cross-bar. Free taker Car Mc added a point during this
patch to see the half time score line read 3-05 to 1-04 in favour of Parnells.
The Final Thirty
Holloway were the first to get on the scoresheet in the second half, when a goal kick from the Parnells keeper found its way to mid-fielder Cliona Twohig, who quickly set about sending Car Mc on the way for her third point of the day. Marian added the next score of the game, with a beautiful point from the edge of the D, after some good work by her team-mates getting the ball out from the backline. Sheila added to the Holloway tally bringing the Gaels within 4 points of the girls in blue and yellow. 14 minutes without a score, thanks to some magnificent defending, including a goal line save from Sam, and Parnells were beginning to worry. They added on a point just before the water-break to extend their lead back to 5 points for the last quarter. Sheila started off the final 15 with a point from play, bringing the sides within 4 points once again. Hanley gave away a free on the Holloway 21 but the Parnells free-taker failed to convert and Clifford gathered it up before working the ball out. Unfortunately for the Gaels, the Parnells forwards managed to turn over the ball and quickly worked it to the back of the Holloway net. The girls in blue added another point, extending their lead to 8 points with 10 minutes left on the clock. Parnells went down to 14 players soon after, when one of their players was sin-binned for a second warning. Kerry native McCarthy slotted over her 4 th point of the day before the Parnells full- forward scored their final point of the day with less than a minute of normal time remaining. Cliona and Enya added a point a piece before referee Eoin Kelly blew the final whistle, which saw Parnells crowned winners by a margin of 6 points.
Panel & Management: A.Clifford, S. Grozotis, R.Hunt, C.Flanagan, C. O’Murchadh Flynn, M.Jordan, N. Kelly, C.Twohig (0-01), C.Hanley, K.O’Brien, E.Mulhern (0-01), C. Faughnan, S. Walshe (0-03), C.McCarthy (0-04), M. O’Donnell (1-01), E. O’Donnell (0.01), A.Walsh, E.Murphy, G.Cahalane, S.Kerins, S. O’Sullivan, ME. Cannon, E.deCaires, L.Keane, K.Bradshaw, S.Ledden, A.Cosgrave, O.Holbrook, C.Brosnan, AM.Micallef, T.Adams, M.Cowley, D.Larkin, A.Rushe, R.Doyle, C.Doogan, L.McDonagh, B.Keeshan, J.Morgan, A.Greene, C.McElhinney, J.Day
Huge thanks again to Aileen and Caitriona on the side-line, to Eoin Hourican for doing the side-line and to our merry band of supporters including Lauren (looking forward to getting you registered next season).
Holloway Gaels: 11-07
Control the Controllables
A heavy Downhills Park hosted the final group game of the 2020 Championship for Holloway on Saturday October 17th . Whilst many outlets were preparing for a Parnells – Round Towers Final the following weekend, the Gaels were set on creating a stir and were not giving up their chance of a final easily. The variables were known (we’d need a significant win and for Parnells to beat Round Towers in their group encounter) and goals, goals, goals were the order of the day. Holloway got off to a blistering start with a goal from the boot of Car Mac at full forward after great work from wing-forward Charlotte Faughnan. This is the third time in the group stages that Holloway have started off with a goal in the opening sequence and highlights the speed and skill of the girls in red. Charlotte added a point herself in the first half whilst midfield maestro Cliona made a powerful run through the centre to slot over a point of her own. Car Mac added a further two points from play but it was the Marian O’Donnell show in Downhills on Saturday and her performance, as always, was top class. The Sligo woman rattled the KKG net three times in the first half…..and she was only getting started. KKG were not sitting back and letting Holloway run away with the game however and had a number of strong players who created many chances for the visitors. Solid performances from the Holloway backs thwarted many attacks but the girls in green and gold managed 1-06 of their own in the opening half. Score line at half time had Holloway leading 4-04 to 1-06. Holloway were going in the right direction but needed a lot more scores to be in with a shout for the final.
Holloway hit a purple patch after the half time huddle racking up 3-02 in the opening 15 minutes whilst keeping the opposition scoreless. Huge credit to the unshakeable backs and keeper during this period. Holloway were a woman up for much of this half and played fast surging football to keep the KKG players on the back foot. However, it wouldn’t be long after the second half water break when Holloway would have to deal with being a player down themselves after Eoin Kelly showed Hanley the yellow card for dangerous play (So soz gals!). The girls in red and black were not phased and pushed on to score a further 4-01 in the latter stages of the second half to ensure a Holloway victory on a score line of 11-07 to 1-09 at the final whistle. After a tense wait, the phone call from Greenford came with confirmation that Holloway had done enough to secure a Championship Final spot.
Panel & Management: A.Clifford, E.Murphy, R.Hunt, C.Flanagan, C. O’Murchadha Flynn, M.Jordan, S.Grozotis, C.Twohig (1-02), C.Hanley, E.Mulhern, C. Faughnan (0-01), S. Walshe , K.O’Brien, C.McCarthy (3-04), M. O’Donnell (7-00), S.Kerins, A.Walsh, G.Cahalane, N.Kelly, S. O’Sullivan, ME. Cannon, E.deCaires, L.Keane, K.Bradshaw, C.Brosnan, S.Colleran, AM.Micallef, T.Adams, A.Greene,
Huge thanks again to Aileen, Caitriona and Holland on the side-line, to Stevie for
umpiring (& getting grief from the ref) and to our merry band of supporters including
Liv and Katrina (looking forward to seeing ye in a Holloway shirt soon).
Witten by C.Hanley
Holloway Gaels: 2-08
Round Towers: 1-11
Match day at Downhills meant an extra half-hour in bed for most on Saturday October 10 th and all the extra energy gained was needed in the contest against 2019 League winners Round Towers. With a loss to Parnells earlier in the competition, Holloway needed to perform strong in the game to give themselves a fighting chance for a Championship final place. This was, in all intents and purposes, a semi-final game for both sides and neither were willing to give an inch. Ciara O’Murchadha Flynn palmed down the John Reape throw in to mid-field partner Cliona, who quickly set about creating a Holloway attack. In resemblance to Holloway’s opening game against Anthony’s the first attack led to a well worked goal, this time courtesy of Clare woman Kate O’Brien. Marian added a point soon after which made clear the Gaels’ objective. But Towers proved to be no shrinking violets and were ready with attacks of their own. One such attack for the girls in blue resulted in a penalty being awarded. Aisling, who had earlier that morning hung the goal nets, had no intention of picking the ball from the net and deftly guided the spot- kick over the crossbar. A lift for the Gaels and poetic justice in the eyes of many. Car Mac added three points to the Holloway tally and Cliona tagged on another, to see the Gaels head in at the short whistle on a score line of 1-05 to Towers’ 0-06
The second half saw intensity much like the first. Both teams were unwilling to give an inch and it was mistakes or well-timed tackles that saw possession overturned. The Holloway backs and mid-field duo were superb under the constant Towers’ attacks with the half-forward line ably supporting when called upon. It was not uncommon to see a red and black double digit jersey scooping up ball in the Holloway back line. Holloway added another goal in this half courtesy of the ever effective Marian and could have had another if the shot from Caroline Hanley had not been deflected by the keeper for a 45.
A few injuries saw Holloway introduce a number of subs in the second half and all got directly involved, not an easy feat when the pace was so fast and they had little time to adjust. But all performed with the tenacious Holloway spirit required. The Towers girls racked up 1-05 in the second 30, whilst Car Mac added two to her tally and Sheila tipped over a point to see Holloway accumulated 1-03 in the half.
Level pegging at the final whistle with a Championship point for both sides.
Panel & Management: A.Clifford, E.Murphy, R.Hunt, C.Flanagan, N. Kelly, M.Jordan, S.Grozotis, C.Twohig (0-01), C. O’Murchadha Flynn, C.Hanley, E.Mulhern, C. Faughnan, C.McCarthy (0-05 (2f)), K.O’Brien (1-00), M. O’Donnell (1-01), S. Walshe (0-01), S.Kerins, A.Walsh, S. O’Sullivan, E. O’Donnell, ME. Cannon, S.Ledden, E.deCaires, L.Keane, K.Bradshaw, A.Cosgrave, C.Brosnan, S.Colleran, AM.Micallef, R.Doyle, A.Greene, C.McElhinney, J.Day
Huge thanks as always to Aileen, Caitriona and Ciara Holland for their work on the side-line ably supporting Ciaran, Jack and Aisling. Also thank you to our band of loyal supporters including future Holloway star Lauren (let’s get you on the Holloway books!). Special mention and gratitude to Ger for carrying out the role of umpire for us on the day.
Written by: C. Hanley
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The Holloway training grounds are at Downhills Park, Haringey, N17 6NY.