Bray L3s 7 - 2 Navan 2s
Bray L3xi set out on Sunday for their second match of the weekend. Spirits were high following a comprehensive 4-1 win over Wicklow the day before. A strong and focussed warm up set the tone for the beginning of the match and it was no surprise to see Bray score within the first two minutes. Samantha Speidel found the backboard following a solid reverse cross by Caoimhe Guilfoyle.
Bray continued to dominate the possession and created a lot of chances very early on. 17 minutes into the game Juliette Kinghall showed great skill and composure when she found the bottom left hand corner with what can only be described as a ‘smasher’ of a strike! Michelle Lambert and Sarah Martin continued to pile on the pressure in the centre of the pitch and created another goal opportunity, which Juliette Kinghall had no difficulty slotting straight into the back of the net less than 2 minutes after her last.
Finiding themselves 3-0 down 20 minutes into the first half, Navan showed that they weren’t going to back down that easily and a break in play saw a hard ball from Navan’s key playmaker find it’s way through Bray’s tight-knit defence to another Navan player, who slotted it into Bray’s goal. Although this gave Navan a temporary spring in their step, Bray continued to pile on the pressure and Caroline Kennedy was unlucky not to find the backboard with Bray’s first short corner of the match. Caoimhe Hardiman and Clare Murray capitalised on the space they found themselves with on the left-hand side of the pitch and set up some lovely plays into Navan’s 25, but Bray weren’t to score again before the half-time whistle blew.
Bray’s team talk was both positive and constructive and a tactical change in the line-up and this setup allowed Bray to play an even more attacking game. Michelle Lambert and Juliette Kinghall teamed up well in the centre of the pitch and Bray were awarded their second short corner of the game within the first minute of the second half. This short corner broke down, but Saoirse Guilfoyle used her initiative to find Juliette Kinghall, who set the ball up for a first time strike by Caroline Kennedy, allowing Bray to start the second half, just like they had the first.
Soon after this, Sarah Martin was unlucky not to add her name to the goal tally as her strike skimmed the edge of the right post. Navan continued to show determination, however, and kept trying to pile the pressure on Bray’s defence. Niamh Byrne, Caroline Kennedy and Caoimhe Hardiman were solid and consistent, giving Navan very few chances to get into their 25. Caitlin Evans showed her versatility as she stepped up from defense and into mid-field making some superb runs up the right hand side of the pitch.
Bray’s passing game was exceptional in the second half and every player worked so hard for each other and ensured that they were the first to every ball. The speed of Bray’s forward line was a real asset as Aisling Dalby, Samantha Speidel and Caoimhe Guilfoyle created a number of other chances for Bray. Following a well-executed set-play short corner from Juliette Kinghall, Samantha Speidel found herself in the perfect position to slot the ball past the keeper to bring the score to 5-1.
Navan fought back hard and another quick ball from a breakdown in play saw them find the back of Bray’s goal once again. Bray were determined not to allow Navan back into the match and immediately put the pressure back on by winning another short corner. It was Samantha Speidel who found the backboard once again with a well-executed strike from the left, making it her third hat trick of the season.
Determined to keep their score tally up, Bray’s midfield and forward line kept pushing for another goal, which came 2 minutes before the final whistle when Bray’s player of the match Clare Murray set up the perfect goal for Caoimhe Guilfoyle to dink straight into the bottom left corner.
A special thank you to Saoirse Guilfoyle for subbing in for us and to Eimear Martin and Ross Wellwood for umpiring. It was yet another comprehensive win for coach Ruth McDonagh’s L3 team, whose league goal tally now lies at 45 goals in 11 games!
Match report by Helen Kingston.