Summerhill came away from a gloriously sunny Trim with a hard fought win in their Division 2 final on a score line of 4-11 to 3-12 against local rivals Na Fianna on Saturday afternoon. In a wonderfully entertaining match that ebbed and flowed throughout with Summerhill eventually prevailing when captain Sophia Payne was presented with the cup by Meath U16 manager Peter Byrne. Enormous credit must go to the girls on both teams for producing such a wonderful game in very hot conditions.
Summerhill began brightly with a point from Sophia Payne which was soon cancelled out by Na Fianna. Summerhill added two further points from Payne and Grace Ennis before Na Fianna struck for their first goal in the 7th minute to take the lead for the first and only time in the match. Three minutes later Grace Ennis struck for Summerhills first goal to restore the lead and this was quickly followed by another point from the ever dangerous Sophia Payne. The Na Fianna girls replied with a point before Aisling McCabe responded with a point after a great run from her midfield position. Substitute Rebecca King who had come on to replace the injured Lauren McDaniels-Ryan opened her account after she cut in from the left to pop over a point.
In the lead up to half time Na Fianna upped the pressure on the Summerhill goal. However great defending from the Summerhill girls resulted in just a two point return for all of Na Fianna’s efforts with the full back line blocking and harrying the Na Fianna girls at every turn. This left the half time score Summerhill 1-6 Na Fianna 1-4, with all to play for in the second half.
Summerhill began the second half in lightening fashion. Straight from the throw in Sophia Payne ran through the Na Fianna defence before crashing a great shot off the crossbar. The rebound was picked up by Katie Donoghue who coolly dispatched the ball to the back of the net. This goal was soon followed by a great point from Grace Ennis who despite been under huge pressure from the Na Fianna defence hooked the ball over her shoulder and over the bar to stretch the Summerhill lead to six points.
Any thought than the Na Fianna girls would throw in the towel at this stage were quickly dispelled as they surged back into the game with a goal and two points without reply to close the gap to the minimum. It took a good save, one of many, from Summerhills goal keeper Keeley Burke to maintain their slender lead 2-7 to 2-6.
The two sides exchanged points with Summerhill’s coming from a Grace Ennis free before Rebecca King struck for the Summerhill girl’s third goal to extend their lead to four points. Na Fianna hit back yet again with the next two points to cut the lead yet again to just two points.
As the game entered its closing stages the Summerhill girls hit the next three point of the game from King, Payne and an Ennis free to push the lead out again. A Na Fianna point was quick followed by a Rebecca King goal which gave the Summerhill girls what seemed like a comfortable seven point lead as time was nearly up. To the great credit of the Na Fianna girls they never gave up and stormed forward scoring a goal and two points in added time. It was an enormous relief to the Summerhill girls when the whistle was finally blown as they were out on the feet after a great performance as they won on a score line of 4-11 to 3-12.
Great credit must go to the Summerhill mentors Juilanne Scanlon and Ciara Daly for producing such a great team performance today and right throughout the whole league campaign. Credit must also to the Meath Ladies County Board for such a well organised event in a venue fitting for such an occasion.
Date of Match:
Keely Burke, Lauren Healy, Mary-Kate Lynch, Annie Madden, Laura Martin, Lauren McDaniel-Ryan, Tara Carroll, Aisling McCabe, Megan Hayes, Aoife Burke, Kate Madden, Grace Ennis, Katie Donoghue, Sophia Payne, Lauren Balfe.