The third and final round of the 2018 French Ladies Football Championship was hosted by Rennes this past weekend. A fantastic total of eight teams took part on the day, including hosts Rennes A/Rennes B, Clermont, Bordeaux, Paris, Nantes, Vannes and the Drag’AngeZ (Niort/Angers). Rennes A & B, Clermont and the Drag’AngeZ made up Pool A whilst Nantes, Bordeaux Paris and Vannes made up Pool B.
Pool A kicked things off with the inter-club derby between Rennes A and Rennes B. When we are dealing with a club as dominant as the Rennes Ladies, a “B” team doesn’t tend to mean very much and this was very much proven as Rennes B dominated the game to win 4-3 (15) – 0-4 (4). Next up we had Clermont taking on the Drag’AngeZ. This match was much more competitive than the opener but it was the Bougnates from Clermont who came out on top, winning 3-3 (12) – 1-5 (8). In the third game Rennes A were keen to atone for their loss in their first game and took out their frustrations on the Drag’AngeZ, comfortably winning 2-12 (18) – 0-3 (3). Rennes A were flying now and made it two wins on the bounce, keeping Clermont scoreless in a 1-7 (10) – 0-0 (0) win. Almost sensing their clubmates were building up ahead of steam, Rennes B made sure to show their skill, as they dismantled Clermont 6-6 (24) – 0-4 (4) and overcame the Drag’AngeZ 1-10 (13) – 0-2 (2) in a tighter affair to secure top place in the pool.
A hugely entertaining, high-scoring match between Paris and Vannes kicked off the Pool B proceedings nicely, with the ladies from the capital ending up on the right side of a 5-2 (17) – 2-2 (8) scoreline. The second match of the Pool saw Bordeaux take on Nantes in another Federal vs Bréton matchup and just like in the first match it would be the Federal team who emerged victorious as Bordeaux won 1-8 (11) – 0-1 (1). Nantes were up again straight away, taking on Paris in a very competitive match. Paris just had too much yet again however, as they ran out 2-4 (10) – 0-5 (5) winners. The next match was the crunch tie of the Pool as Bordeaux took on Paris. This match was as close they come with both sides looking like they could win it. In the end, the match was decided by the slimmest of margins as Bordeaux picked up the single point 1-7 (10) – 2-3 (9) win. Bordeaux followed that all important win up with another straight afterwards as they assured their place at the top of the Pool with a comfortable 3-6 (15) – 1-5 (8) win over Vannes. Pool B finished just like how it started, with another high-scoring, cracker of a game as Vannes took on Nantes in an All-Bréton affair. A brilliant back and forth tie was won by Vannes 2-5 (11) – 2-3 (9).
The two semi-finals lined out with Rennes B taking on Paris and Rennes A taking on Bordeaux in two intriguing ties. Paris had fallen to Rennes in each of the previous two round’s finals so were hoping to avoid a third loss on the trot. They had absolutely no answer for Rennes B’s awesome play however as the Bréton girls saved their best performance of the day for now and ran out emphatic 6-11 (29) – 1-4 (7) winners. Bordeaux also did their best to avoid an All-Rennes final in the other semi-final but they too had no answer as Rennes A recorded a routine 3-9 (18) – 0-4 (4) win to join their clubmates in the final.
When Rennes A and Rennes B met in the opening game of the tournament, Rennes B comfortably beat their counterparts but there was no way that was going to happen as second time as we were treated to a final for the ages. Tournament finals tend to be low-scoring tense affairs but the Rennes sides weren’t interested in any of that as they threw the shackles off and goals started to rain from the heavens. No fewer than 12 goals were scored in the final as the onlookers struggled to take in what was happening. After the dust had settled on two blistering halves of Gaelic Football, Rennes B emerged unbeaten on the day, winning an all-time classic 7-6 (27) – 5-8 (24).
All eyes turn to the All-France Finals in June in Lyon as the rest of the French Ladies teams will once again attempt to end Rennes dominance over French Ladies Football.
You can view the full set of results from this tournament here.