Phase one of the Under-12 mini-league finals
produced a great outcome in Hollymount last night when our Blue team won their last game against Shamrocks thanks to a very strong second-half performance. Our club was delighted to act as hosts for the evening, with three finals taking place in all. The fourth – featuring our Red team and St. Martin’s Maroon – was deferred until Tuesday next in Hollymount at 7 p.m. as our opponents have four girls in Athlone at the Community Games finals this weekend.
Anyway, back to last night’s action on the small pitch. Shamrocks were our opponents and we knew they would be tough after playing a 2-1 each draw with them in Fr. Murphy Park last month. On that occasion their very tall midfielder did a lot of damage and she was hard to miss again yesterday evening when her team emerged from the dressing-rooms, towering over many of the adults. However, our girls had done their homework very well and closed her down at every opportunity as she was confined to striking off her right side.
Time and again our determined girls showed great bravery as they tackled her like demons and gave her little or no time on the ball. This attitude was replicated all over the field, and just one score was recorded in the first-half – a Shamrocks point from a ’30 after 23 minutes. When play resumed that big midfielder had departed owing to injury, but I’d say frustration had a lot to do with it too as our girls had hounded her with their non-stop tackling.
Aoife Hearne was brought on in the full-forward line just before half-time and what an impact she made! She hit a superb hat-trick to put us well on the way to victory, rattling the net in the fourth, tenth and 16th minutes. And just for good measure Nicole Gillen, one of the strongest strikers of the ball on the team, added a fourth to leave us commanding 4-0 to 0-1 winners.
It was an excellent display, and naturally enough team manager Tom Tynan got soaked by the girls afterwards…it’s becoming a habit for Tom to come home dripping wet after every Under-12 game now! We decided not to present the girls with their medals afterwards as we will hold a special end-of-year night for them instead. Well done to them and to mentors Tom, Angie Kinsella, Trish Fielding and Andy O’Connor who had them in fine fettle for this important game.
Panel: Ciara McMahon, Nicole Gillen (1-0), Grace Harding-Kenny, Beth Byrne, Sophie Whelan, Amy O’Connor, Nicole Harding-Kenny, Caoimhe Parker, Mai Ling Tynan, Abigail Gillen, Sinéad Banville, Aoife Hearne (3-0) Sophie Byrne.
Hollymount was a hive of activity for the finals as Kilmore beat St. Martin’s White by 5-3 to 1-0 while Buffers Alley saw off Oylegate-Glenbrien by 2-4 to 0-2. A lot of people worked very hard to make the evening a success, with a special word of praise going to Trish Fielding who organised the shop and had willing helpers in Emma Hearne, Mary Rose Newman, Marguerite Murphy and Elaine Hearne. Tom Tynan and Andy O’Connor were instrumental in setting up the pitches, while Thomas and Amy O’Connor gave me lots of assistance collecting the flags afterwards! Mick Lanigan refereed two of the games (Kevin Kehoe of Our Lady’s Island did our one), and it was a real team effort to ensure the evening ran smoothly. There wasn’t one complaint from our five visiting clubs so that says it all, and my apologies if I have omitted anyone who deserved a word of praise.