Heroics Won the Day for Desmonds

TESCO Home-Grown All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi Final.

Castleisland Desmonds 0-16 Kilmacud Crokes 3-3.

Heroic is about the only way one could really describe the way the Castleisland Desmonds Ladies Intermediate team went about their task this afternoon.

Not for the whole hour – mind you – but for when it mattered most each and every one of them stood in the gap and didn’t blink. You couldn’t but think of the sleeping giant today if you were at the Desmonds headquarters in Moanmore.

‘Our Girls’ were up against their counterparts from Dublin based Kilmacud Crokes in the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship semi-final.

The Dubs stole away to a three-goal lead very early in the game and looked to be coasting off into the All-Ireland final in a couple of weeks time.

They looked stronger in every sector of the field. They are a team of fine footballers and it took a great team to eventually wear them down and beat them. They fielded every high ball flawlessly and punished the home team one way or another at almost every opportunity.

It was a game of three thirds and the Dubs dominated for two of those and they seemed destined to continue the pattern in the mid-November sunshine.

The home team looked under pressure  to deliver in front of their local supporters.

Come the last third of the game and the giant slowly awoke and shook herself back to a realisation of her situation.  It began to dawn on Desmonds that things were slipping away from them. This was strange territory and it didn’t suit them.

Attack after attack yielded a trickle of points until Leanne Mangan nailed the equaliser from a free. There was audible and palpable panic in the Crokes team and more so on the side-line and they were glad to hear the long whistle and delighted to be still in the game.

A long talk, peppered with encouraging words and team bonding in the Desmonds camp had the desired effect. They simply went mad in the opening period of extra time and there were points raining down over the Crokes posts with abandon and unerring accuracy. They caught the game by the scruff of the neck and didn’t let go.

Lorraine Scanlon and Leanne Mangan kicked points that drew gasps from the home crowd and groans for the visitors as they wondered what had hit them in this extra period of time. The boot was firmly on the other foot now and by the extra-time break the writing was on the scoreboard for the visitors. Heroics in all quarters of the field was what won the game for Desmonds. You could see from Cáit Lynch’s display why she earned an All-Star award a couple of years ago. She ran herself into the ground. The team ran themselves into the ground and more importantly, they ran the opposition ragged in doing so.

Tears flowed freely on both sides and the Dubs tried to come to terms with the fact that they lost a game that was theirs for so long. The emotion choked Desmonds camp shed its share of tears of relief and disbelief that their girls had done what few thought was possible as this ne’er to be forgotten game entered its final five minutes of normal time.

It will take a great team of footballers to beat ‘our girls’ in the final. If you were there today you’d simply have to be proud of them. I believe the final is fixed for two weeks time at a venue yet to be decided.

Desmonds lined out as follows: Melissa Holland, Aoife Lyons, Mariah Curtin, Marion Shine, Eda Mangan, Cáit Lynch, Tina Mangan, Andrea Murphy, Aisling Leonard, Eilís Lynch, Lorraine Scanlon, captain; Rachel Cronin, Áine O’Connor, Stephanie Murphy, Leanne Mangan. Subs: Karen Mangan, Elaine Guiney, Alicia O’Sullivan, Shauna O’Connor, Leanne O’Connor and jane Lynch. Team management: Billy Mangan, manager; Steve Murphy, Pa White and Dan Kearney.  © John Reidy www.mainevalleypost.com