DREAMS of two in a row are alive for the Kilkenny City girls, who earned the right to represent the county at this year’s national Feile finals.
Despite heavy overnight rain the morning sunshine added to an enjoyable competition in Thomastown on Sunday. Barrow Gaels, Castlecomer and Muckalee made a little history by competing in their first Feile competition while Kilkenny City, Thomastown and Piltown brought their experience to the day.
The day began well for Castlecomer’s Erin’s Own as they beat Barrow Gaels by 3-2 to 0-3.
Three fine points from Denise Byrne, Aoife Cleere and Hannah Moran had Barrow Gaels well in the game before a late goal sealed the win for Erin’s Own. The win put the ’Comer side into the semi-final against neighbours Muckalee.
The two North Kilkenny sides were evenly matched in the opening quarter of their game before two points from Danielle Morrissey settled the ’Comer girls. A point from Kate Nolan point, followed by Danielle Morrissey’s cracking goal, left Erin’s Own 1-4 to 0-0 ahead at half-time.
In the second half Hazel Moore, Fiona Manning and Catriona Murtagh caused problems for the Erin’s Own defence but could not match the winners’ scoring threat. Kate Maher grabbed another 1-2 for Erin’s Own while Danielle Morrissey added 1-1 to complete a 3-7 to 0-0 win and give the Castlecomer team a place in the final at their first attempt.
The other side of the draw saw Thomastown and Piltown face off in an eagerly awaited encounter. Eimear Farrell was a thorn in the side of the Piltown defence, scoring 1-2 in the opening minutes to give Thomastown a dream start. Piltown rallied, with Emily McCarthy, Aoife Doyle and Alanna Gallagher all going close, but Thomastown held on to lead by 1-2 to 0-0 at half-time.
Piltown came into the game more in the second half and were unlucky to see Emily McCarthy’s goal-bound shot shave the bottom of the post. Thomastown rallied after that, Tara O’Neill and Eva Hynes adding points before Ava Kavanagh sealed a 2-4 to 0-0 win with a goal in the closing minutes.
Kilkenny City were hot favourites to claim the county title for the second year in a row but were made to work hard by Thomastown in the semi-final. The city girls eventually wore the opposition down, with two Ciara Delaney goals either side of a Hannah Scott point giving City a 2-1 to 0-0 lead at half-time. City’s third goal put the game beyond Thomastown, before Kate Drennan sealed the 4-1 to 0-0 win with a cracking goal late in the half.
The city girls maintained their form in the final against a young Erin’s Own. An injury to ’Comer’s main scoring threat forced ace forward Danielle Morrissey to play in goal but Leah Maher, Roisin Allen, Meabh Walsh and Kate Maher battled bravely against a rock solid city defence. The deadly accurate Ciara Delaney tapped over three points early on followed by a Beth Behan goal.
City kept attacking at will and points from Hannah Kelly, Ciara Delaney, Hannah Scott and Kate Drennan were followed by goals from Ciara Delaney and Lucy Power to give the champions a 3-7 to 0-0 half-time lead. Erin’s Own were well out of the game but continued to battle and made the City girls fight for their scores. Lucy Power scored Kilkenny’s fourth goal and points from Rachel Kelly, Saoirse Comerford-Liston and Aobha O’Gorman sealed a commanding win for the City.
Despite a one-sided final this year’s Feile competition was a great success with newcomers Muckalee, Barrow Gaels and Erins Own gaining valuable experience ahead of the under-14 county league. Kilkenny City were deserving champions and will not be out of their depth in Division Two of the national finals, having claimed the Division Three title last year.