Report on County Féile ’09 By Paul Tobin.
After a very early Sunday morning start we faced Adamstown in our first game of the day , at a sun-drenched Páirc Charman. We got off to a flyer, and after some initial jitters, and having weathered an early Adamstown storm, a Róisín Tobin goal settled the team who went on to lead 1-3 to a goal at half time. While Adamstown made us work all the way in the second half, we were never under any real threat, and ran out winners on a 1-5 to 1-0 scoreline. Scorers Róisín Tobin 1-3 ; Gemma McCabe 0-1 ; Niamh Doyle 0-1.
We then faced St. Annes, many people’s fancy for the title. We suffered a disastrous start with the irrepressible Fiona Bennett planting two balls in the Shelmalier’s net within the first two minutes. However we steadied the ship, the girls dug in and worked very hard, and the lively Gemma McCabe scored two fine points from midfield to leave the score 2-1 to 0-2 at half-time. The second half was a tight affair but we just couldn’t add to our score , despite contesting well all over the field and coming close to threatening their goal several times. Final score: St Annes 2-4 ; Shels 0-2. Scorers: Gemma McCabe 0-2.
Next up was Horeswood. They were a strong physical team but our girls moved the ball fast, and our good combined play gave us the edge all through this game. Clíodhna Flynn was extremely threatening at full-forward throughout, bagging two fine goals, while Marcella Furlong and the excellent Ciara Corrigan also added goals. Final score: Shels 4-4 ; Horeswood 1-1. Scorers: Clíodhna Flynn 2-0 ; Marcella Furlong 1-0 ; Ciara Corrigan 1-0 ; Niamh O’ Connor 0-2 ; Róisín Tobin 0-1 ; Gemma McCabe 0-1.
We had to win the last group game against Castletown to qualify for the shield semi-final, as The Annes were likely to top the group, and we won it in some style. Clíodhna was again in fine poaching form, getting herself a hat-trick, while the impressive Ciara Roche surged forward from the back to grab 1-1. Niamh Doyle who was a tower of strength all day at midfield, contributed two fine points. We ran out easy winners on a 6-6 to 1-0 scoreline.
We were now in the semi-final of the shield at four on a very hot afternoon, having already played four games. Fatigue was very evident in the play, and while the girls battled bravely for every ball, some mistakes were inevitable. The score after half an hour of football was 1-0 to 0-3. We now had to face ten agonising minutes of extra-time. Precious points from Clíodhna Flynn and Niamh Doyle finally separated the sides to leave us through to the shield final. Scorers: Róisín Tobin 0-2 ; Niamh O’ Connor 0-1 ; Clíodhna Flynn 0-1 ; Niamh Doyle 0-1.
This was an excellent day’s work, which will undoubtedly bring this team on. They did the simple things right, played some beautiful combined football, and took some great scores. We had strong performers all over the field – Dervla was ever dependable in the goal, while the full-back line of Imaani, Ali and Becky were solid all day. We must mention the surging runs forward and dogged defence of each member of an outstanding half-back line, Ciara Corrigan, Geraldine Doolan and Ciara Roche. Niamh Doyle and Gemma provided the engine of the team, making run after run at the opposition, and picking out some fine scores, while up front the scoring power of Clíodhna and Róisín was matched by the smart movement and passing of Mary O’ Rourke, Marcella Furlong, Megan Macintosh, Niamh O’ Connor , Éadaoin Fitzgerald and Ruth O’ Gara. Other players from a large panel who came on and acquitted themselves well were Sinéad Moore, Maeve Doyle, Ciara Lawless, Gemma Fox, Aoife Berney, Róisín Doolan, Lindsey Lannigan, Leanne Corrigan and Enya Byrne.