Top-drawer action in girls’ football finals

There were goals, points and plenty of action as six clubs battled it out for silverware in the county under-14 ladies Gaelic football county finals.

There were goals, points and plenty of action as six clubs battled it out for silverware in the county under-14 ladies Gaelic football county finals.

The eagerly awaited Roinn A final saw Kilkenny City beat Thomastown to maintain their position as the pace-setters in juvenile football.

On the attack from throw-in, City took the lead with a Niamh Deely point before Shauna Valentine cleared a Thomastown attack, picking out Hannah Scott to rattle the net from a narrow angle in the fifth minute.

Laoise Prendiville added a second goal but Thomastown came into the game when Eimear Farrell goaled after a fine solo. City points from Jennifer O’Keeffe and Nicole Carter were cancelled out by two Blathnaid Galwey points, but Hannah Scott (0-1) and Kate Drennan (1-0) stretched the City girls’ lead.

Thomastown didn’t give up, staying within touching distance when Eimear Farrell and Iona Gardiner combined for their side’s second goal. At half-time Kilkenny City led 3-4 to 2-2.

They had to withstand some pressure at the start of the second half,

Thomastown started well in the second half with an array of scoring chances but the City rearguard formed a solid line with Saoirse Comerford and Aobha O’Gorman dominant.

Gradually the City girls began to turn the screw. They gave an exhibition of scoring, with Kate Drennan (1-1), Hannah Scott (1-1) and play-maker Niamh Deely doing most of the damage. Despite some fine saves by Leah Brennan City’s Nicole Carter added a superb solo effort while subs Rebecca Roche, Rachel Kelly and Lucy Keane combined for a further two goals to give the City a comprehensive lead.

Thomastown continued to battle, Eimear Farrell and Iona Gardiner added 1-1 but the game was out of their reach, Kilkenny City had maintaining their hold on top spot in the county.

In winning the final the City side showed the skill and strength that earned them their second All-Ireland Feile title during the Summer. Some of the best players in the county were on show in this final and both clubs have good underage structures which will see them set a high standard at all grades in the future.

Captain Aobha O’Gorman accepted the cup from county chairperson Joe Fox, thanking the club’s mentors and supporters after what has been a dream year for the City side.

Kilkenny City - Laura Tynan, Andi Snyder, Saoirse Comerford-Liston, Neasa Galwey, Jane Cass, Aobha O’Gorman, Shauna Valentine, Jennifer O’Keeffe, Niamh Deely, Nicole Carter, Beth Behan, Hannah Scott, Laoise Prendiville, Kate Drennan, Carolyn Howes, Eadaoin Murphy, Lucy Power, Emma Nolan, Kate Dempsey, Clare Curtin, Sarah Smith, Hannah Kelly, Rachel Kelly, Rebecca Roche, Lucy Keane, Holly Smith, Ciara Delaney, Ciara Deely.

Thomastown - Leah Brennan, Ashleigh Morrissey, Jill O’Neill, Hannah Brennan, Rachael Walsh, Niamh Costigan, Jenny McGuinness, Blathnaid Galway, Tara O’Neill, Jessie Maher, Lizzy Buckley, Eva Hynes, Roisin Galway, Eimear Farrell, Cara Gibbons, Ruth Ryan, Maddy Lawson, Ciara Morrissey, Iona Gardner, Nicole Dunne, Rebecca Nevin, Laura Quigley, Sarah Gittens.

Referee - Paul Whelan.

Roinn B

The Roinn B final saw Erin’s Own (Castlecomer) get the better of Piltown.

Opening at lightning pace, Erin’s Own brought some great save from Piltown netminder Linda Norris. They piled on the pressure until Sarah Smyth claimed a high ball on the 20 metre line and rattled the net to give Erin’s Own a 1-1 to 0-0 lead.

Although Piltown settled into the game the ‘Comer forwards were too sharp. Danielle Morrissey tapped over two more points, the latter after a 40-metre solo run before a Maedbh Walsh goal and Sarah Smyth point left them 2-4 to 0-0 in front at half-time.

Piltown came out fighting after the break but Alannah Gallagher and Laura Falconer had goal attempts blocked by Katie Tynan in goal. Emily McCarthy tried her best in attack but scores from Maedbh Walsh and Danielle Morrissey helped ‘Comer extend their lead before Sarah Smyth grabbed the insurance goal to ensure an Erin’s Own victory.

Castlecomer Captain Meabh Delaney accepted the cup amidst great celebration as the girls in blue wrapped a great year for the club. Piltown and Erin’s Own both have huge potential and will undoubtedly aim for more silverware in the near future with an array of talented under-12s who have gained great experience in the past year.

Erin’s Own - Katie Tynan, Michelle Farrell, Rebecca Brennan, Laura Mullally, Leah Maher, Evelyn Phelan, Emma Cahill, Roisin Allen, Meabh Delaney (captain), Sinead Brennan, Danielle Morrissey (0-4), Sarah Smyth (2-1), Niamh Walsh, Kate Maher, Meabh Walsh (1-1), Aoife Dowling, Ellie Boland, Molly Boland, Shauna Kerr.

Piltown - Lisa Norris, Sarah Jayne Brophy, Jennifer O’Dea, Megan Byrne, Sine Kavanagh, Emily McCarthy (captain), Sarah Tobin, Aoife Doyle, Laura Power (0-1, free), Aoibheann Kavanagh, Máire Beth Kirby, Marlise Flynn, Alanna Dunphy, Alanna Gallagher, Laura Falconer, Chloe Power, Danielle O’Brien, Anna O’Brien, Maria Phelan, Emer Dunphy, Rebecca Doyle, Niamh Kirby, Emma Phelan, Jessica Gaynor, Bribhanna Doody, Caoimhe O’Callaghan.

Referee - Paul Whelan.

Roinn C

A blistering start saw Barrow Gaels claim the Roinn C title when they took on Muckalee in Nowlan Park.

Denise Byrne got the Gaels up and running when she rattled off 1-1 in the early stages. Although Muckalee fought back with points from Catriona Murtagh and Ciara Malone the Gaels upped the tempo, Emma Fox driving a powerful shot to the net to put her side 2-1 to 0-2 up.

Muckalee rallied and narrowed the gap when they pounced to grab a goal to leave just two between the sides. Hannah Moran (2) stretched the Barrow lead again before Hannah Moran struck her side’s third goal five minutes from the break.

Muckalee had a chance to get back into the game when they were awarded a penalty, but Abbey Bolger pulled off a fine save. As the ball was cleared Hannah Moran raced upfield, pausing only to unleash a goal that left her side 4-3 to 1-2 in front at the interval.

Muckalee needed scores on the resumption, but although Kate Cullen and Claire Moore had chances Diane Foley did well to deny them. Barrow Gaels kicked in to action again and Aine Ryan goaled from close range before Denise Byrne added two further points to her tally.

When Emma Fox grabbed her second goal on 40 minutes the game was beyond Muckalee’s reach. Aine Ryan and Denise Byrne scored four points on the trot to wrap up a fine win for Barrow Gaels, who celebrated when joint captains Aine Ryan and Hannah Moran were presented with the cup.

While both sides are only in their second year, Barrow Gaels were physically stronger than a very young Muckalee side. The experience of playing in a county final at Nowlan Park will be a memorable occasion for both teams, with most of their players eligible for under-14 competition again next year.

Barrow Gaels - Abbie Bolger, Brid McCabe, Dianne Foley, Faith Savage, Maeve Ryan, Lea Carroll, Kate Drennan, Hannah Moran, Darcy Bolger, Aisling Prendergast, Aine Ryan, Eimer Holden, Sophie Phelan, Denise Byrne, Roisin Moran, Sorcha Moran, Emma Fox, Tara O’Brien, Holly Brooks, Brid O’Dwyer, Ali Flood, Niamh Fogarty, Holly Carroll, Aoife Cosgrove, Chloe Kennedy.

Muckalee - Caoimhe McGuinness, Martina Morrissey, Kate Geoghegan, Emma Kelly, Hazel Moore, Ciara Malone, Aoife Murphy, Laura McDowell, Claire Moore, Fiona Manning, Caitriona Murtagh, Anna Healy, Ciara Farrell, Kate Cullen, Shauna Coady, Katie O’Neill, Therese Kelly.

Referee - Orla McCormack