Walking down the school avenue to appaulse from a Guard of Honour from the whole school, with the Division 2 LGFA Football Cup, will surely be one of the memories that joint captains Anna Crawford and Paulina Kwapinske will recall when preparing for their graduation ceremony in two weeks time.
The annual LGFA Football tournament took place in Dr. Morris Park on Wednesday last. The girls from the Presentation were placed in a very competitive Division 2 League where they would face Templemore, St. Michael’s Tipperary Town and Newport NS.
The first game against St. Joseph’s Templemore was tough from start to finish. Early goals from Amelie Nuvoloni and Lily Purcell gave the team some much needed confidence and slowly the girls settled into the game. Stout defending from Patricia Dyl Phillips and Nicole Egan, as well as a string of good saves from Eva Barrett in goal, helped keep us ahead as the half time whistle blew. Facing a strong wind for the second half, Anna Crawford went on a solo run, swerving between the Templemore defence before smashing the ball home for a crucial goal. Robyn Carroll and Emma Griffin worked tirelessly at midfield, while substitutes Yara Khalouf and Ellie Quinlan made a differnce when introduced. In the end, Presentation PS won on a scoreline of 4.1 to 2.3. Five score each, but as the old saying goes, ‘goals win matches!’
Next up was a top of the table clash with St. Michael’s NS Tipperary Town. Again a strong wind made playing conditions tough. St. Michaels’ took an early 2 point lead as their midfield duo proved too strong and dynamic in the early stages of the game. Again Amelie Nuvoloni and Lily Purcell added their names to the score sheet with points to level the game. A goal from Tipp Town just before half time put them in the driving seat and coaches Karen Bohan, Paula Ralph and Laura Ralph gathered at the break to discuss changes and tactics to turn the game around. Thankfully there was plenty of talent on the bench to make that difference. Katie O’Dwyer, Mya Byrne, Marta Perkone, Savannah Quinlan and Gemma Jordan were all introduced and the effect was immediate as the later, Gemma Jordan scored two great goals to secure a hard fought victory. Huge credit must go to Savannah, Patricia and Anna at mid field who won hard ball before supplying Gemma to finish.
The bright sun came out for the third group game against Newport NS and things equally looked bright for the girls in wine as they powered to a third straight victory. Freya Breathnach, Ghina Aljohwani, Ava O’Flynn all played their part as the team grew in confidence and were suddenly stringing passes together and playing with great style. Laila Mulhaire, arguably the player of the match in this game, was a powerhouse at full back, gathering and clearing ball after ball. Points from Emma Griffin (2), Robyn Carroll and Amelie Nuvoloni put Presentation ahead before goals from Paulina Kwapinske and another brace Gemma Jordan put real space between the teams. The final score 3.4 to 1.3 put the girls into the Cup Final where they would again play Templemore.
This was the girls fourth match in a row but there appeared to be no fatigue setting in! Instead the girls from the Pres seemed to be inspired and more determined than ever. Five goals from Lily Purcell (2) and a hat-trick from the Goal-Getting-Gemma Jordan would prove a insurmountable task for Templemore to come back from. Patricia Dyl Phillps in goal made some great interceptions and found teammates with almost every kickout. Again Laila Mulhaire and Nicole Egan were immense at full back while Anna Crawford and Savannh Quinlan covered every blade of grass available. Eva Barrett, Ava O’Flynn and My Byrne all made important contributions in the final quarter to help the team to a 5.4 to 2.2 win – cue the celebrations!