What a fantastic end to a fantastic season, our U14 team secure the Co. League Title after their replay win over Crannford 5-5 to 3-2 today in Monamolin, it was a fantastic game. After winning Co Feile & Co Champions already this year!
This was always going to be a very tough assignment, particularly as our rivals had competed in the higher Premier championship grade since we last met and reached the final which they lost to St. Martin’s. However, our girls were determined to end the year on a high note and this was typified by Sarah Harding-Kenny who was looking on with her wrist in a cast when her team-mates trained on Friday last.
By Sunday morning she had removed it though and lined out in the unfamiliar role of corner-forward, picking off the opening point to give her colleagues an early lift. Jessie Harding added the second score and we stormed into a 1-4 to nil lead by the ten-minute mark as Craanford-Monaseed had no answers to us all over the field.
There was no let-up in intensity or desire as the girls enjoyed a healthy interval advantage of 2-5 to 0-1, with the injured Jenny Murphy replaced for the second-half by Thea Kehoe. Another strong marker was laid down one minute after the re-start when Sarah Harding-Kenny completed her hat-trick, but our rivals responded quickly with their first major to suggest that a tough battle was in store.
Fiona Kinsella kept the spirits high though with a goal from a high ball and the outcome was never really in doubt. Jessie Harding made sure of success with three minutes left with another major, and a late consolation effort from Craanford-Monaseed left us on the right side of a 5-5 to 3-2 scoreline. The location of the game was appropriate as last year we had gone down narrowly to the same opponents in the championship final at the same venue, so it was nice to exorcise those ghosts.
This was only the second time in the history of the club for the grand slam of Under-14 Féile, championship and league titles to be completed. The previous occasion was in 1981 and remarkably there are four mother and daughter links between the two teams: team captain Angie Hearne and Fiona Kinsella, Christine Harding and Mikaela Lanigan, Mag Keane and Jenny Murphy, and Jackie Carr and Chloe Mythen.
As this is the last chance for a while to wax lyrical about this great group of girls, as club Chairman I want to echo the sentiments of all members in highlighting their marvellous achievements this year. Apart from winning three titles and contesting an All-Ireland semi-final, they were a credit to their families off the field as well and we are all very proud of them. Eight of the girls are also part of our Under-16 squad so let’s hope they are not finished yet in bringing silverware home!
A big word of appreciation also to mentors Mick Lanigan, John Harding and Mary O’Leary who deserve a well-earned rest for the next few weeks after their hard work throughout the year. And thanks to Trish Fielding for her Twitter updates from Sunday’s final as I was otherwise occupied in Croke Park….if you are not following Trish already, please do so (@p_fielding) as I’m hoping she will keep us informed on county Senior final day also when my phone will be the least of my concerns!
Team: Ailis Neville; Anna Whelan, Sadbh McCarthy, Chloe Mythen; Jenny Murphy, Larah Campbell, Megan Scallan; Zoe O’Leary (joint capt.), Molly Byrne; Siobhán Doolan, Jessie Harding (joint capt., 1-4), Fiona Kinsella (1-0); Sarah Harding-Kenny (3-1), Mikaela Lanigan, Eleanor Lacey. Subs. – Thea Kehoe for Murphy, inj., Aoife Fielding for Harding-Kenny, Lauren Murphy for Lacey, Caitlin Carroll for Byrne.