THE first ever girls’ under-age Gaelic football league got off to a good start in Kilkenny with some impressive displays in the opening round of games.
Girls up to 12 years of age have had the opportunity to play football in the primary schools league in recent years, but competition for clubs was only available in neighbouring counties.
With the interest ever increasing three new juvenile clubs were set up this year in Castlecomer, Barrow Gaels and Muckalee, adding to under-age clubs already running in Thomastown, Piltown, Freshford and Kilkenny City. The Gaelic for Girls programmes in Castlecomer and Graignamanagh were the catalyst for the upsurge in interest in both areas, while last year’s under-13 county development training was such a success that Kilkenny had four teams at the Leinster development blitz in November.
Girls from all over the county have had the chance to wear the county colours in recent months with A and B squads in action in Leinster under-12 and under-14 blitzes. The county A team claimed the Leinster under-14 B title last month while Kilkenny City had national success when they won the Division Three title at Feile Peil na nOg.
All the clubs took part in a blitz day for under-12s and under-14s in Clara recently, where plans were made for leagues at both grades. Thomastown A, Piltown and Kilkenny City A will meet in the A league while Freshford, Barrow Gaels, Erin’s Own, Muckalee and Thomastown B make up the B’ competition. An under-10 blitz planned for last weekend fell foul of weather conditions and will be rescheduled.
In the opening round of games at under-12 level Barrow Gaels beat Erin’s Own by 4-3 to 2-0, while Thomastown B saw off Muckalee by 5-3 to 2-3.
In the under-14 competition Freshford proved too strong for Erin’s Own as they won by 4-4 to 2-0. Thomastown A gave a great point-scoring display as they saw off Piltown by 3-12 to 4-2.
Fixtures for this weekend will see Erin’s Own take on neighbours Muckalee and Thomastown B go up against Barrow Gaels at under-12 level. At under-14 level Muckalee will host Barrow Gaels.
The next round of under-14 games will be held on the weekend of July 28 and 29. Muckalee take on Freshford, with Thomastown B facing Barrow Gaels.
At under-12 level Thomastown B will play Erin’s Own with Muckalee going up against Barrow Gaels on the August Bank Holiday Weekend.
A seven a-side blitz for under-16 footballers will be held in the coming weeks. Clubs with insufficient numbers at under-16 level can join with neighbouring clubs to make up panels of 10 players.
At adult level the senior and junior championships will be getting underway in August with Thomastown, Freshford, Muckalee, James Stephens and Railyard all vying for honours.
A panel of Kilkenny under-13s represented the county in the mini games at the Leinster ladies football finals in Dr Cullen Park on Sunday. While the seniors of Dublin and Meath and the juniors of Louth and Offaly did battle for provincial honours, mini teams from 10 counties provided the half-time entertainment.
The Kilkenny girls beat Wexford in the 10-minute game. Each player was presented with a full set of playing gear. The Kilkenny panel featured Eva Hynes, Laura Nevin (Thomastown); Lisa Norris, Aoife Doyle, Caoimhe O’Callaghan (Piltown); Hannah Kelly, Rachel Kelly, Rebecca Roche, Nicole Carter (Kilkenny City); Roisin Allen, Leah Maher (Erin’s Own).