Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
Editor: We welcome Tash Gunawardana as she debuts on worldfootynews.com
It was a 2pm Women's International Cup match at the Ransford Oval between the Alfa Ireland Banshees and USA Freedom. At the start of the match both teams sung there national anthems in the wintery breezy cold conditions. The captains tossed the coin in the middle.
Freedom were kicking to the left of the ground and the Banshees were kicking to the right of the ground to begin the match. It was a tight tussle to start. The Banshees kicked the first goal of the match via Aisling Gillespie (#19). In the early stages of the match the Banshees were on top in the contest over Freedom, as they had all the ascendancy, kicking goals as they slotted through their second goal of the match.
The Banshees were winning the centre clearances during the early stages of the match. Freedom kicked the footy to their half forward line, but Aisling Gillespie (#19) marked it for the Banshees.
Linda Connolly (#14) kicked the third goal of the match for the Banshees. The Banshees were the stronger team in the first quarter with their hardness all over the ground. Freedom kicked the ball into an empty space into the centre of the ground, but first to the footy was a Banshees player and the Banshees gained possession of the footy as a result.
Freedom were trying so hard this quarter to score a goal, because they were having more inside 50s, but the Banshees backline kept on standing strong in marking the ball. The Banshees were all over Freedom in the contest and this was reflected on the scoreboard. Also the Banshees were capitalising on their limited opportunities inside 50, as they were scoring when they were in their forward line. Towards the end of the first quarter, Freedom stepped up their level of intensity and therefore there was one stoppage after another. The first quarter ended as a scrappy affair.
1/4 Time Score - Banshees 3.2 (20) to Freedom 0.0 (0)
Freedom had the first inside 50 of the second quarter and there were consecutive stoppages to start the quarter. Hard and tough tackles from both teams in the contest. Brette Brower (#3) lined up for goal and it just missed. Freedom were finally on the scoreboard with a point. There had been plenty of stoppages in this match. Freedom had another kick at the big sticks and they scored another behind. In the next ball up Jessica Gray (#6) had a hard knock and came off second best with blood coming from her nose. The Freedom runner ran to attend to her and helped her off the ground.
The Banshees were holding up well in the backline, able to withstand the pressure from the Freedom who had a lot of the ball in the second term but were letting themselves down when they kicked into attack. Rachel McGee (#3) was playing well for the Banshees. Gillian Behan (#23) came off second best in a great tackle from one of the Freedom players and hobbled to the bench. Finally in a hard match for Freedom they kicked their first goal of the match in the dying minutes of the first half via Jessica Blecher (#8). As the match has gone on the skills of the Freedom team has improved, which was wonderful to see.
Half Time Score - Banshees 3.2 (20) to Freedom 1.2 (8)
To begin the third quarter Clara Fitzpatrick (#15) won the tap down, but Freedom won possession. However, they kicked it straight back to the Banshees. Rachel McGee (#3) and Carol Breen (#12) was one of the Banshees best players for the whole game. Also Clara Fitzpatrick (#15) took a few interception marks in her team's defensive 50. Linda Connolly (#14) kicked truly for the first goal of the third quarter. The third quarter began as a tight tussle between the two teams but the Banshees were on top when it counted, as they were winning the crucial contests all over the ground. However, the Banshees were letting themselves down in front of goal as they were not making the most of their opportunities with a couple of misses.
Clara Fitzpatrick (#15) and Rachel Fox (#20) had been rotating in the ruck for the entire match. Gillian Behan (#23) shrugged a tackle and kicked a running goal from outside 50 and was proud of her goal, as she ran and jump high-fived her teammates. Hallie Kastanek (#21) played well in the ruck this quarter for Freedom and Sara Magallon (#23) also played well in this quarter for Freedom and she placed a crunching tackle on one of the Banshees players. The Banshees worked the ball forward again and they scored another goal. They now led Freedom by 32 points in a dominating display.
3/4 Time Score - Banshees 6.4 (40) to Freedom 1.2 (8)
Both the Banshees and Freedom started the final quarter with immense ferocity, as both teams were fighting hard for the ball but both teams were unable to get clear possession of the ball. Eventually, the Banshees gained clear possession of the ball and kicked it towards 50 but Hallie Kastanek (#21) marked it in her defensive 50. It was great to see that Freedom started the last quarter a bit better than the Banshees, as they were winning the ball at ground level.
However, Freedom were letting themselves down in the marking overhead contests, which the Banshees were winning. Carol Breen (#12) was still winning the footy in the middle for her team. Molly Cullen (#17) kicked the first goal of the last. In the last 5 minutes of the match, the Banshees were winning the hard ball contests and had lifted to the same intensity they played with in the first three quarters of the match. Freedom were playing a lot better in the final quarter, but with no reward for all their hard work on the scoreboard. The match ended with the Banshees winning the match against Freedom.
The Banshees were too strong for Freedom in the end, but credit to Freedom they hung in there and as a result their handball, kicking and marking skills improved considerably as the match progressed along with their intensity and pressure in the match.
Full Time Score - Banshees 7.4 (46) to Freedom 1.2 (8)
Ireland Goal Kickers: L. Connolly 3, C. McCutcheon 2, M. Cullen, G. Behan
Ireland Best Players: C. Breen, C. Fitzpatrick, L. Connolly, C. Quinn, M. Moriarty, G. Behan
USA Goal Kickers: J. Estrada
Best Players: S. Magallon, E. Riehl, B. English, H. Kastanek, L. Kastanek, K. Klatt
World Footy News