St Brendan’s Phoenix Park ladies continued their incredible run of promotions as they snagged second in division seven a fortnight ago – two points behind UCD III – to make it five moves up the league ladder in seven seasons.
Their impact was swift; the team winning Division 11 on the last day of the season in a nail biting winner-takes-all fixture against neighbours Botanic.
Keane stepped down the following season to pursue his interest in umpiring, with Lowe continued the daunting task of coaching the ladies single-handedly.
But he managed this more than ably with a track record under his belt that a coach in any sport would be proud of. He guided the squad through division 10 at the first attempt, aided greatly by then captain Carol Nolan holding the defensive line strong from sweeper.
They sailed through division nine with a nine point margin over the chasers before hitting a slight speed-bum in division eight.
At the second attempt, promotion was achieved while division seven also took a similar period to master. Their initial attempt saw the team ending in sixth place but the addition of new players Deirdre Murphy, Philippa Leahy and Maeve Farrell to the squad for 2011/12 saw them pushing for the title, vying with UCD for the top spot to the end.
The club has benefited from a core group of players who originally learnt their skills in St Dominic’s College, Cabra and tasted success there in their early hockey playing years.
Four current team members – Carol Nolan, Claire Martin, Catherine Murphy and captain Emma Morley (pictured, above) – have been with the team since the division 11 days and have since been joined by other St Dominic’s alumni.
Midfield has remained a key area with consistent performances from Sharon Finn and Alva Molloy throughout, both of whom have won their team-members’ vote for player of the season on separate occasions. Isolde Veld joined the team in recent years, and has added power up front as the team’s first choice centre forward.
The Fitzsimons sisters, Caroline and Mairead, have injected an element of pace on the left side, balanced on the right by Emer Brogan’s skills which the St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh player adapts easily from camogie to hockey.
She comes from a famous sporting family around the are, the cousin of back-to-back gaelic footballers of the year Bernard and Alan Brogan.
The team’s defensive record has also been similarly impressive, reinforced by goalkeeping stalwart Yvonne McEneff and backed up this season by substitute keeper Emma Jane Morrissey, who has doubled up and stepped out from the sticks to play outfield when required.
The squad is looking forward to the challenges that division 6 will bring and welcomes new players to assist in this task. Catherine Murphy can be contacted on 086 3776507 for further information.
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