Community Games Gold for Manorhamilton Area Under 14 Ladies Footballers
The second and final weekend of the National Community Games finals were held in Athlone AIT last weekend where over 7000 athletes from all over Ireland competed in a myriad of sports and in doing so followed in the footsteps of many famous sports stars such as Sonia O’Sullivan, Tommy Bowe and Ronan O’Gara who competed in Community Games in the past.
There were high hopes for the Manorhamilton Area U14 girls GAA football team as this team were previous gold medal winners at the national finals two years ago at U12 level and had graduated from the Connacht finals with relative ease beating St. Brigid’s, Kiltoom 3-8 to 0-2 in the semi final and Breaffy, Mayo 10-5 to 2-4 in July’s Connacht final.
The All Ireland semi-final against the Ulster champions Sheelin of Cavan was no place for the faint hearted as this was a bruising affair where a battle had to be fought before any football could be played. Muireann Devaney led the team and was in excellent form notching up six first quarter points in addition to a goal and a point from Leah Fox to Sheelins two points. Sheelin however started the second quarter very strong and scored a goal and four points to just three points to the North Leitrim girls. The game was in the mix but the resilience shown by the four backs Hannah Gallagher, Hannah Johnston, Emma McMorrow, Clodagh McGee and sweeper Sarah McGloin provided the platform which limited the CavanÓgirls to only four further scores in the remaining two quarters. In contrast from the accuracy of goalkeepers Aine McCann’s and Kelly Gallagher’s kick-outs, the Leitrim girls were keeping possession better and scores duly came from Rachel Conlon, Muireann Devaney, Leah Fox and an excellent interplay between the latter two resulted in a goal at the end of the third quarter that had the Leitrim girls ahead by eight points. The Cavan teams cause was not helped with a sin binning of a Sheelin player for dangerous play preventing a certainÓgoal. The Leitrim girls held out in the final quarter as the CavanÓgirls went for long balls in search of further goals that did not come leaving the final scoreline of Leitrim 2-17 Cavan 2-8.
The final against Dublin and Leinster champions Knocklyon of Dublin was a purists free flowing and quick game where both sides were intent on playing football and moving the ball fast. Knocklyon encompassed some of the St. Enda’s, Ballyboden club and had the Leitrim girls on the back foot from the beginning Scóring a lightening quick goal and point in the first two scores. The Leitrim girls regrouped and composed themselves with their opening score coming from the boot of Muireann Devaney followed by an excellent Amy Fowley point. The Leitrim team were now starting to settle and Muireann Devaney and Emily Conlon steadied the ship with two excellent team goals followed by a well taken Rachel Conlon point. This left the Manorhamilton Area girls with a 2-3 to 1-2 first quarter lead. In the second quarter forwards Sarah Brady and Shona Sheridan began to stretch the DublinÓgirls backline and with Mairead Clancy always an outlet in midfield both sides began to search for opportunities for critical scores but these were few and far between with two points for Leitrim’s Muireann Devaney to one point for Knocklyon the only scores in the second quarter. scores were hard come by for both teams again in the third quarter with Leah Fox netting for the Leitrim girls and the Dublin champions adding a point to their tally.
The deciding moments came in the last quarter with two quick fire goals from Captain Leah Fox leaving the DublinÓgirls trailing 5-5 to 1-4. The back line was holding firm and further points from Emily Conlon, Muireann Devaney, Leah Fox and an outstanding goal from Roisin Kelly left the final scoreline of 6-8 to Manorhamilton Area and 1-6 to Knocklyon.
The Manorhamilton Area U12 girls also competed with great distinction in Athlone bringing home bronze medals.
Well done to the Manorhamilton Area U12 girls team on their great team performances at the National finals in Athlone at the weekend. They got off to a bad start on Saturday morning v Monaghan but played some fantastic football in the last 20 minutes and showed real heart and determination through out the match but just fell short. A very early start for these young girls on Sunday v Tipperary and the result didnt go their way either with Tipperary running out winners. Although the results didnt go their way over the weekend these girls played great football and gave their all on the pitch. It was a great experience for such a young team and they and their parents should be very proud of them achieving fourth place at the All Ireland festival. Great future ahead of them. Well done to all.
23-Aug-16 by Collette Fox