Southbend 1, Lansdowne A 0
For the spectators on the sidelines, the entertaining fare provided by the winter finals of the Bronx Irish Soccer League proved sufficiently cheering to take their minds off the cold December day. The heat was generated in the league final between rivals Southbend and Lansdowne A, with Southbound avoiding a shootout on substitute Debbie Murphy’s extra-time goal.
The Lansdowne A had opened the brighter with The Southbend not yet coming to grips with their overlapping off the ball. Their best chance of goal was perhaps an early shot from Ellen McGrail, who slipped through the defense and, with Alison Lineen at her mercy, was disappointed to manage only a weak shot which Lineen covered.
The Southbend covered admirably with the loss of two key players, Aibhlish Dineen and Monica Slevin, through first half injuries and it proved to be the strength of their bench that carried the day.
Jo Holden McDonagh came on and fired a warning shot at the Lansdowne goal and the Southbend failed to get the final touch in a goalmouth schmozzle.
While the Lansdowne had greater possession in the second half, with Kate McGrail and Sadie Donoghue driving forward, the Southbend defenders, particularly Caroline Conway, Mary Kearney and Mary Toolan, kept them out of shooting range. The shots they did manage from both play and deadballs were high and were simply easy pickings for Alison Lineen.
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Extra time beckoned and Sadie Donoghue danced around two players but drove her shot wide.
Then, in their last substitution, The Southbend, under manager Ann Leydon, brought on Debbie Murphy, who, when chasing down a beautiful cross from the left wing, won the race for possession and was left with a simple tap to put the Southbend 1-0 up with time running out.
Even at this late stage hearts were in mouths as Lineen made two last saves from Anne Marie McGrail and Donoghue before time ran out.
The Lansdowne achieved some measure of consolation as their B team won a goal filled, fast paced Shield final game against The Starting Gate Harps. The latter had gone 1-0 up against the run of play after about 10 minutes but Trish Quinn grabbed the equalizer before the break.
The second half was a seesaw battle after the Lansdowne took the lead when Quinn scored her second. The Harps had chances from Karen Shalvey and Norma McCarthy but were denied by the vigilance of Ann Marie Flynn in goal. The winners proved more adept at taking their chances and Chris Many sealed the 3-1 win when she got a touch to a corner to give the Lansdowne a well deserved trophy to take away from their season.