On a sun-drenched Saturday in May, our BSJ U14 girls went into battle for Féile glory and headed off as face painted warriors to Ballyboden for their greatest challenge. As a lone piper led the 5 teams across the pitch, and as our national anthem played, the tension was unbearable. Our girls were so fired up, playing the hosts on their senior pitch, in front of a huge crowd, and so they went into battle with words of encouragement ringing in their ears from the head mentor Liz.
BSJ had 4 games in 4 hours in quick succession and what a challenge this was going to be in the white hot conditions. Heroic performances all over the pitch, with Shauna, Alanah, Amy and Seána holding firm, and as the game moved into the second half, BSJ got the upper hand over our great rivals, and finished the game winning 2-4 to 1.1 with some great scores. Molly and Katie dominated midfield and Réalta, Sarah and Elena kept the pressure on.
Na Fianna was up next and Molly scored a great solo effort charging past the flailing backs. Great scores by Katie, Cora, Hannah and Sarah delivered our 2nd win. Our 3rd match v St Sylvesters showed how exhausted our girls were and we narrowly lost to a last-minute score. Sometimes a narrow defeat brings on great teams, and this was no different, as our do or die last match of the day v Shankill showed. Incredible scores by Réalta and Elena showed how our team can score from all angles.
Liz then gave us all the good news that BSJ had made it to the Féile final, to be played v Ballyboden in Shamrock Rovers ground Tallaght Stadium. The following morning, bright and early, and with more face paint on show, our warriors headed down the M50 for a date with destiny. The huge travelling support marched confidently through the turnstiles, and our heroines came sprinting onto the hallowed ground of the hoops. As the match started, with ferocious tacking from both teams, it wasn’t long before our goal poacher supreme Sarah struck with what can only be described as a “Mo Salah” like finish. What a dream start but Ballyboden came back strong, only to be hit by a sucker punch when Ella took one side step and struck an unstoppable shot from 25 yards that smashed against one post, across to the other and nestled into the net. We knew we had witnessed a great start by our warriors, but we also knew that a good team like Ballyboden would come back strong.
Saoirse, Elizabeth and Grace swept up all in front of them, and Ailis played through the pain barrier. Keelin, Lisa and Hannah continued to dominate up front. One of our injured heroines Molly struck with a well taken point, and then when Ballyboden really started to put it up to BSJ, our captain fantastic Cora took a great pass from Emily Rose and struck a bullet from the right that smashed into the left-hand corner. Tension was now unbearable and a gallant defensive display over the last few minutes resulted in the Ref brining the Féile final to a close, and BSJ had secured a historic win being the first juvenile ladies football team to win a final on Shamrock Rovers famous ground. The players ran to their supporters and the wild celebrations were a sight to be seen. They had made BSJ so proud with the club’s first Ladies Football Féile title in many years.