Na Fianna Ladies Gaelic Football - Atlanta, GA

Peach 7’s Cup Glory for Na Fianna

The 9th of June, 2007 shall go down in history as the date when Na Fianna recorded their first tournament victory. At a sweltering hot Southeastern Athletic Complex in Dekalb County, the warriors of Na Fianna were able to overcome all comers from Atlanta and Charlotte, and eventually hold off Clan Na nGael “B” to take home the prize of the Atlanta Peach 7’s Cup.

Game 1: Na Fianna 4-1; Clan Na nGael “A” 2-3
The day began early with the home town teams taking the field, and what a game! Neither team seemed to have any difficulty with the early start, and it was end to end stuff for the full 10 minutes of the first period. However, Clan Na nGael were definitely more accurate early on and the game appeared to be slipping away from Na Fianna, only for Lil O’Sullivan to pounce for a goal just before halftime. At half-time everybody sensed that the tide was turning, and in a second half, which saw both teams trade score for score, Na Fianna were able to eke out that extra goal which would see them to victory in the end.
Na Fianna: Ivett (1-1), Lil (1-0), Joanna (1-0), Kim (1-0)
Clan Na nGael “A”: Andrea (1-2), Jen L. (1-0), Judith (0-1)
M.V.P. – Lil O’Sullivan for scoring the goal that turned the game, and the tournament, in our favor.

Game 2: Na Fianna 0-4; Clan Na nGael “B” 3-3
In order to accommodate the smooth running of the tournament, Na Fianna agreed to play a second game right after Game 1 as the Charlotte teams had not yet arrived at the venue. Na Fianna opponent were Clan Na nGael “B” team, and again this was a high-tempo affair. A schemozzle midway through the first half, which left referee Rob Kiely with no choice but to a red card to a player from either side, did little to slow down the pace of this match. Clan Na nGael “B “were that bit fresher and more clinical in the end, as a number of goal-scoring opportunities whistled over the bar for Na Fianna. This would be Na Fianna’s only loss of the day.
Na Fianna: Ivett (0-2), Bridget (0-1), Kim (0-1)
Clan Na nGael “B”: Abs (3-0), Ashley (0-1), (Cathi) Dugger (0-1), Lorna (0-1)
M.V.P. – Ivett and Natalia Kyriacou for the speed of their support.

Game 3: Na Fianna 3-9; Charlotte “B” 0-1
Charlotte played well, but the more-experienced Na Fianna girls, such as Kim Wilkins and Bridget Lawlor, were able to come up with the scores that would see them to victory, and a slightly flattering score line. Bridget capped a run that started in her own half with a fine finish to the net. That said, Na Fianna had a number of new players get their first competitive experience in this game, and perhaps the loudest cheer of the day greeted Lauren Swilling’s floated point.
Na Fianna: Bridget (1-1), Lil (1-0), Kim (1-0), Joanna (0-2), Karina (0-2), Lauren (0-1), A.N. Other (0-3)
Charlotte “B”: Patti (0-1)
M.V.P. – Jessica Ohmann for repelling attack after attack, and for intelligent distribution.

Game 4: Na Fianna 4-8; Charlotte “A” 1-4
This was a tighter affair with Summer Porter, April Bruno and Maureen Koscinski called into action in defence on a number of occasions. Charlotte fought hard, but in the end Na Fianna had the extra firepower. The highlights of this game were a superb lobbed goal from Linda “G-Lo” Giuffre, and an opportunist strike from Erin Whigham.
Na Fianna: Ivett (1-2), Karina (1-1), Linda (1-0), Erin (1-0), Joanna (0-2), Jen (0-1),
Bridget (0-1), Kim (0-1),
Charlotte: Fiona (1-1), Shannon (0-1), Patti (0-1), Meg (0-1)
M.V.P. – Joanna Robinson for taking her points with class.

Peach 7’s Cup Final: Na Fianna 0-7; Clan Na nGael “B” 1-3
Round about 5pm, the final whistle blew and the cheers resounded from the Na Fianna sideline. By this stage everybody from players to referees and officials were exhausted, which led to a modicum of confusion on the part of the scorekeepers, but ultimately, it was declared what Na Fianna knew in their hearts to be true: they were the new Peach 7’s Cup Champion, and this in spite playing the final without Lil and Joanna, whom they had lost to work commitments, or Kelly and Sharon, whom they had lost to injury; a tremendous accomplishment for the club and a great kick off to the season.

The final was a tense affair with neither team willing to run the risk of making the error that would cost them the title. In defense, Bridget Lawlor and Natalia Kyriacou, who played in every position, were regularly called into action, with Emily Ely also making a rare but very effective appearance there. Jen Beatto, Kim Wilkins, and Ivett Kyriacou contributed prominently in the middle of the park. In the end, it boiled down to the point-taking ability of Karina Clarke, who kept a cool head throughout to take her points when the opportunities were presented to her. She was ably-abetted by Lauren Carter, who grew in stature at midfield as the day wore on and had to be practically carried off the field in the final, and Jess Ohmann who took her passing to new levels as befitted the occasion.

With the seconds ticking down, the score stood at Na Fianna 0-7, Clan Na nGael “B” 0-2. To an uninformed passer-by, that might have seemed like a fairly safe score line, but to everybody else in the ground, there was nothing safe about it because they were all well-aware of Clan Na nGael’s history of staging comebacks… and come back they did. In a matter of a couple a seconds they had fired in a goal and a point to close the gap to the bare minimum. Quick thinking from Shannon Scott in goals saw her take a short kick-out to Jess Ohmann, who was able to bring the ball into the opposition half, and set up one final shot on goal for Clarke. A wide proved to be as good as a score on this occasion as it took valuable time off the clock, and the full-time whistle blew on the very next kick-out.

Na Fianna: Karina (0-5), Natalia (0-2)
Clan Na nGael: A.N. Other (1-3)
Final M.V.P. – Karina Clarke for a superlative point-scoring display in the final.

Tournament M.V.P. – Jessica Ohmann for reasons already mentioned and for maintaining a consistently high level of performance throughout our five games.

Na Fianna Panel: Kim Wilkins (captain), Bridget Lawlor (vice-captain), Sharon McAleer, Jen Beatto, Jess Ohmann, Emily Ely, Linda Giuffre, Natalia Kyriacou, Ivett Kyriacou, Joanna Robinson, Shannon Scott, Lil O’Sullivan, Lauren Swilling, April Bruno, Summer Porter, Kelly Kamees, Maureen Koscinski, Lauren Carter, Erin Whigham.

It was a great day for Ladies Gaelic football in the Southeastern Division: Clan Na nGael hosted their 2nd Peach 7’s Cup tournament in style, the division welcomed a new team, Charlotte, and Na Fianna finally won their first tournament. The win was celebrated in style with a long night at Fadó, and other locations around the city…and that, as they say, is not suitable for printing.