From the Captain, Katie Quinn:
The Lady Swannies were fired up going into the 2023 Asian Champs weekend in Pattaya, Thailand on September 9th, 2023. After a late night of travel fuelled by 7/11 toasties and gatorade, the girls went into their first 3 matches of the day against Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand in the regular pool games. The Swannies team was composed of Northern and Southern players, with a special guest appearance all the way from Australia, long time Vietnam Swans coach and leader Chia Sabbatucci. The Swannies came out on top each time, battling through the heat and lack of breaks throughout the day. Many girls made their first time appearance at Champs, including Amy Banville and Courtney McCrea. Eimear Kelly Grealy made her mark with wicked catches, scoring her first goal and putting pressure on defense the entire day. The Swannies finished first in their pool, scheduled to face long-time opponents and friends Cambodia in the semi final match. Recently both teams have traveled to face off in 2023, both with a win over the other on home turf. The Swannies had the upper hand, moving the ball well in the midfield to secure the semi final W.
With an hour break until the Grand Final match vs Singapore, the Swannies refueled and prepped for ONE MORE game (their motto for the weekend, pumped up by the Aussie native and women’s coach himself- Wayne McMahon). The 2 teams were evenly matched and fought hard the entire game. Ruck-woman Lucy OR was strapping in the midfield, creating many opportunities to move the ball to our firecracker player Brody, who scooped up countless balls to maintain possession. An early kick down towards the posts by Katie Q and finishing tap in by Chia put the Swannies ahead. The Wombettes quickly returned with strong offensive playing, keeping the defense on their toes and returning 3 points and a goal, causing the Swannies to get a little frazzled. Mary Eviston knew she wouldn’t let the Wombettes any further without a fight, pinching up to the midfield and securing the ball at the halfway line on defense with great running efforts. Alana Devenny (aka the marathon running monster) was an absolute weapon on the wing, running non-stop and shutting down any offensive play the opposition tried. A cheeky little boot and lucky bounce by Quinner Chicken Dinner is just what the Swannies needed, putting them ahead 12-9 at the half.
Molly Coleman and Bad Gal RhiRhi found their inner beasts in the 2nd half, fighting hard on defense to keep that ball out of Swan territory. Indestructible Ev was a force in the midfield as usual throughout the entire day, with a quick pop over the goal after a great pass by Chia. A booming kick down-field by newcomer Amy Banville with the tap in finish by motivator “THIS IS GAS” Irish lad Niamh Keating gave the Swannies the upper hand, with a final score of 24-21 to secure the win. Big thanks to the men’s team for their support and Coach Wayno for all your hard work and dedication to developing the women’s team. We wouldn’t have made it here without you!
Congratulations to our All-Star Asian Team Players for 2023: Mary Eviston, Lucy O’Rourke, Aoife Brody and Katie Quinn.
Special shout-out to the Northern players Kari, Krista, Louise, Layla, Phuong, Van and Lan for making the journey to join the Southern Swannies on tour!
From the Coach, Wayne McMahon:
Going into the weekend it was impossible not to start dreaming of ultimate glory. I had full belief in our players and I knew that it was certainly achievable. But whilst being crowned Asian Champs was the goal, it wouldn’t be how we measured our success.
Before the first game we spoke about how hard football, effort and positivity was how we wanted to play. The recipe was simple; do those 3 things well and we can look back on the weekend and view it as a success. And the girls delivered, surpassed and thrived in all 3 of these areas.
After an incredible group stage and semi final, where we had only conceded 1.1 across all 4 games, we knew that the Grand Final against Singapore was going to be a battle unlike any other game.
We did have a moment against Thailand where they got on top with an early goal and really tested us, and I believe our girls learnt a lot from this and found out how to dig deep which would prove useful against a strong Singaporean outfit. The game was neck and neck for the entire 30 minutes and I won’t harp on about it too much as you have (hopefully) already read Katie’s summary above, but the fight and intelligence from the girls in the final made me incredibly proud. From the first game of the day until the last every girl out there improved. I watched us get smarter, cleaner with the ball, grow in belief, fight harder than I could have ever imagined and most importantly; become closer friends and teammates.
It was an incredible day and hearing that siren go at the end of the match with us up by 3 points is a moment I’ll never forget.
With the Indochina Cup on next month I only have one more thing to say… ONE MORE!!!!
Vietnam 2.5 – 17 def Malaysia 0.1 – 1
Bests: Aoife Brody, Katie Quinn, Alana Devenny, Mary Eviston, Krista Hope
Goals: Evrena 1, Katie Quinn 1
Vietnam 5.2 – 32 def Pakistan 0.0 – 0
Bests: Katie Quinn, Aoife Brody, Chia Sabbatucci, Lucy O’Rourke, Evrena Everard
Goals: Katie Quinn 3, Aofie Brody 1, Chia Sabbatucci 1
Vietnam 1.2 – 8 def Thailand 1.0 – 6
Bests: Amy Banfield
Vietnam 2.2 – 14 def Cambodia 0.0 – 0
Bests: Eimear Grealy, Katie Quinn, Amy Banfield, Jennifer Murphy, Alana Devenny
Goals: Eimear Grealy 1, Katie Quinn 1
Vietnam 4.0 – 24 def Singapore 3.3 – 21
Bests: Mary Eviston, Evrena Everard, Lucy O’Rourke, Aoife Brody, Molly Coleman
Goals: Chia Sabbatucci 1, Katie Quinn 1, Evrena Everard 1, Niamh Keeting 1