Féile Peil na nÓg 2019 (Girls) Report

posted 1 Jul 2019, 03:06 by Matthew Ryan   [ updated 3 Jul 2019, 14:14 by Garrycastle GAA ]

The Garrycastle under-14 Girls squad did their club proud on and off the field at this weekend’s Feile. As Division 2 winners in Westmeath they were placed in a very strong Division 4 which included several teams who had either won or finished runners up in their own county’s Division 1 Final. 

However, they exceeded all expectations by winning all three of their group games and then giving eventual champions Clonguish of Longford an awful fright in the cup quarter final before going down to a gallant and somewhat controversial defeat. 

After making the bus trip to Mayo to their wonderful host club St Mary’s of Aghamore, Garrycastle faced two matches on Friday evening. Their first opposition were Charlestown Sarsfields who really put it up to the girls for much of the match before Garrycastle eventually pulled away in the second half, with Kacey Mulvihill’s goal a real turning point. 

Final score was 1-7 to 0-2. 
Scorers: Kacey Mulvihill (1-1), Ella Dowling (0-2), Tegan Foley (0-2), Hazel Donegan (0-1), Nessa McNamara (0-1). 

The second game saw the girls up against the hottest of group favourites, Donaghmore-Ashbourne, who had only lost the Meath Division One Feile Final by a point, and featured some players from the Meath team that won the Leinster Final against Dublin earlier in the year, and who had comfortably won their first group game against very good opposition by 17 points. However, in an incredible atmosphere the Garrycastle girls put in probably their best ever performance as a team, winning 3-2 to 1-4 against stunned opposition, who just simply couldn’t cope with the pace and intensity of the Garrycastle players all over the field. 

A word has to be given to Hazel Donegan’s critical third goal, an amazing strike on the turn into the top corner from the edge of the square. 

Final score was 3-2 to 1-4.
Scorers: Tegan Foley (1-1), Moya McKiernan (1-0), Hazel Donegan (1-0), Ella Dowling (0-1). 

The final group match on Saturday morning against hosts St Mary’s was another fiercely enjoyable game. The Aghamore girls were really up for this one and led by a goal early in the second half, but Hazel Donegan was now unstoppable and fired home four goals in an amazing ten minute spell to see Garrycastle home on a score line of 7-3 to 3-3.
Scorers: Hazel Donegan (4-0), Jessica Frawley (2-0) Ella Dowling (1-1), Tegan Foley (0-1), Roisin Murphy (0-1).

Garrycastle then decamped to Oran GAA club in Roscommon on Saturday afternoon to play Longford Division One champions Clonguish Óg in the Cup quarter final. Just like their game the night before, Garrycastle were in blistering form early on and their two goal lead was little reward for their dominance before Clonguish scored from a soft looking penalty right at the stroke of half time. The start of the second half followed the same pattern with Garrycastle the better side but they were not taking their chances and moreover they were also suffering from a succession of very questionable refereeing decisions against them, many of them taking even the opposition by surprise. Gradually the inevitable happened as the fitness of the older Longford girls paid off and they fired home some late scores to prevail against a very tired but very brave Garrycastle side, 4-3 to 2-2. 

In fairness to Clonguish, they are clearly a superb team and they proved it the next day as they played some brilliant football on their way to the Division 4 Cup title. 

And so the journey ended for this remarkable group of Garrycastle girls who won a lot of supporters from different clubs over the weekend with their brand of non stop attacking play. Every one of the 20 girls played a huge part. 

Gemma Duffy made some great saves and driving clearances and her kick outs nearly always found their targets. 

The defence were probably the real stars of the tournament - Jasmine Molloy, Emma Connaughton, Kaleigh Clyne and especially Emma Kearney and Arlene Devery were all phenomenal, turning over countless ball, and reading the game superbly. Orlaith Lynch deserves special mention for her display against Donaghmore-Ashbourne while Amy McGovern was a revelation, especially in the quarter final, where she was probably the player of the match. 

Captain Tegan Foley, as always, led the team by example with her skill and unlimited determination, driving her players forward at every opportunity and literally running herself into the ground, while her midfield partner Jessica Frawley was probably the squad’s most consistently excellent performer throughout. 

Kacey Mulvihill played a key role in both attack and defence getting and setting up some key scores but also sweeping back when called upon. Nessa McNamara started the tournament in great form but unfortunately picked up an injury in the second game and her ability to find space and link play was badly missed in the quarter final. Roisin Murphy worked tirelessly from her centre forward role and while receiving a lot of attention from the opposition managed to set up numerous scores as well as scoring a crucial point at a key stage against St Marys. 

At the point of attack Meliagh McDonagh showed up really well in all of the games pressuring defenders into mistakes and was really unlucky not to get on the scoreboard. Ella Dowling was as impressive as ever, scoring in every game, and could well have been a match winner in the quarter final if she had been awarded even a fraction of the frees she looked to have earned. Moya McKiernan’s well taken goal in the Meath match was a huge moment but her work rate and rate of improvement in all the games was even more impressive. 

The younger players on the squad, Rihanna Lowe, Juliet O’Hara and Eve Murphy all played their part when called upon, and what they lacked in size they each made up in effort while Hazel Donegan has to receive special plaudits for a stunning performance, scoring five goals and causing all sorts of problems for her markers despite just having returned to the squad this week after being away all year. 

Huge credit has to go to manager Colin Clyne for the way he prepares and motivates this group of girls and gets them playing football in the right way. Thanks too to his backroom team Geraldine Griffith, Noelle O’Donnell and Ann Kearney for all of their hard work, to David and Marie Mc Govern for all their help especially with fundraising and to the many parents, relatives and supporters who travelled all the way to Mayo to provide such great support. A special word of thanks to Paddy Mulvihill for his inspiring work with the girls over the weekend. 

And last but not least, it is very difficult to put into words how wonderful as hosts the people from St Marys, Aghamore were. They really could not have done any more to make this weekend a wonderful memory for the girls. Their kindness and hospitality, will never be forgotten.