Penalty Shoot-out drama in Knocknacarra for U12 girls

U12 Girls team manager, Zoe Kennedy shows us what sport is all about in her match report below as her girls prevailed in sudden death after an exhilarating contest. Such excitement!

‘What a day! What a match! What an amazing bunch of girls!! My nerves have only just calmed down enough to put pen to paper about this incredibly nerve wracking and intense game’

The Colemanstown girls walked out to face Knocknacarra on their home turf for the second time this season and they knew that Knocknacarra were looking to put their last defeat to Colemanstown behind them and win this time. They were right. Just 3 minutes in, the Knocnacarra girls had their first, good attempt on goal but instinctively, our ever ready Honor Tuohy reached high and saved the ball.  Colemanstown’s defenders Aisling Ruane, Rachel Kennedy and Lucy Roberts were quick to stop any subsequent goal attempts with excellent passing at the back between them. A superb kick from Lucy Roberts involved Aoife Hynes who crossed to Eva Molloy who dribbled down the wing before her delivery found Libby Kennedy. Libby drilled the ball into the 6′ box but was unfortunate not to get the finish she was looking for.

Aoife Hynes, Grace Mitchell and Eva Molloy anchored midfield and created plenty of chances for Colemanstown’s strikers with some perfect deliveries and weaving through some determined Knocknacarra girls who were looking to turn the ball around and stop the rot.

It was tit for tat as the ball seemed to go this way and that until 15 minutes in when Colemanstown took a long throw in. The ball found a waiting Shona Barrett and in her own true style, she managed to weave the ball in and out and round the opposing players in her path. With an almighty kick she planted it into the bottom right hand corner of the net. Colemanstown were 1 nil up.

Annalise Doran and Captain Ally Nutley were in top form yesterday morning putting the pressure on Knocknacarra when they were in possession. Neither were in any mood to see the opposing team push forward and their pressure and brilliant tackling made sure the Knocknacarra girls didn’t get too far! Credit must be given to the partnership between the midfielders and strikers. It was faultless.

Honor Tuohy found herself under pressure a number of times in the first half as players broke through and made a good few attempts on goal. She expertly saved each one and one thing for certain, there were a couple of powerful strikers on the Knocknacarra team!!  Half Time: Colemanstown 1 Knocknacarra 0

Knocknacarra started the second half as intensely as they had started the first, only this time an effort at goal did find the back of the net for an equaliser just 2 minutes in. Colemanstown were quick to respond and this time saw the fancy footwork skills of Della Griffin who seized every opportunity that came her way and whizzed in some beautiful deliveries to our waiting strikers. Her powerful determination brought chances for Grace Mitchell, Libby Kennedy, Shona Barrett, Lucy Roberts, Annalise Doran and Eva Molloy who all had great attempts at goal but Knocknacarra had a keeper who was just as determined as Honor Tuohy not to let a ball past her.  The girls were putting in a great team performance. Try as they might, they just couldn’t find a second goal.  The final whistle blew with the score level at 1-1.

Extra time saw enormous amounts of pressure from Knocknacarra who were looking for the win. Honor maintained her brilliant saves and with extraordinary efforts from Ally Nutley, Annalise Doran and Della Griffin, the ball was defended well and a super final attempt at goal from Lucy Roberts almost sneaked the win.  But all too soon the whistle was blown and both sides were facing a Penalty Shoot-out!

Shona Barrett, Annalise Doran, Lucy Roberts, Ally Nutley and Eva Molloy stepped forward as penalty takers with the rest of the team linking arms and crossing fingers in support. Superb shots were taken by all. This was nail biting stuff! The shoot-out ended with 4 goals apiece so we had to go again..….. with 3 girls this time.  Shona Barrett, Eva Molloy and Libby Kennedy stepped up, ready to give it everything they had. It ended 2 goals apiece. Stalemate in Knocknacarra. The ref stepped forward with the instructions:  Sudden Death!!

The next Knocknacarra player stepped forward. She had to score to stay in the game. She took a really powerful shot but the ball went wide. Such nervous excitement ! This was Colemanstown’s chance. Everybody wished Libby Kennedy ‘Good Luck’ as she stepped forward to take what her team were hoping & willing to be the winning goal. She waited for the whistle, took a glance up at the goal and kicked with a powerful right foot. The ball launched forward and found the bottom right hand corner of the net. It was in!! Colemanstown girls had won!  And the ensuing cheering, air punching and hugging from all the players, mentors, spectators just showed the how ecstatic the feeling was. It was a tough match. Probably the toughest to date and special mention must go to a superb Knocknacarra team who kept the Colemanstown girls on their toes right to the bitter end. The girls are now a semi final away from a Cup Final in Eamon Deacy Park.  Well done girls, unreal zest & elation!