There are some days when there is simply nothing better on earth than being in Ballyboden. Last Saturday, April 28th was one of those days. The sun shone, the camogie committee had the Cherryfield pitches set up from early morning, a community created a sandwich and cake mountain and the club, our club, led by the parents of the under 13s, magnificently hosted seven other clubs competing with us in the Division 5 and Division 6 Camogie Feile competitions. And all of that was only the trimmings. The main event was the achievement of our Under 14 B and Under 14 C teams, who both hurled their way into the Feile finals the following day. All of this happened on a day of two historic firsts for the Dublin Camogie Feile: the competition was extended to seven divisions, and one club fielded three teams in the competition (now who was that?)
Like all good GAA days, it wasn’t without its controversy, with the arrival of Adam the physio being the cause of debate on this occasion. Mothers who’ve spent years watching matches, suddenly had concerns that aging (not their word) joints might be in need of “a good rub” after a day on the side-line at Feile. The disappointment was palpable when it was clarified Adam was only available to attend to the needs of the players. And so all made do with admiring the view (of the games of course). No one was surprised when Adam wasn’t at Sunday’s final.
Elsewhere on these pages, the campaigns of the A team and the C team will be covered, while the account of a great weekend for our B team follows here.
The long wait for Feile 2018 (somebody mentioned it back in the academy) finally ended when the ball was thrown in at 10.30 in the first match against Kilmacud Crokes. The preparations paid off, as the girls immediately set up camp in the Crokes half, but despite dominating for the entire half a single Alana Newe point was the only score at half time. “Keep doing what you’re doing” was the half-time mantra and the advice paid off as the domination continued in the second half continued. The backs were called into operation on a couple of occasions but mopped up with ease, and Kate O’Brien did what she’s doing all year, pulled hard on the ground to put the ball in the back of the net. Alana Newe added a goal to her point and Boden finished out winners on a score line that totally understated their performance.
Boden 2-1 Crokes 0-0
The Na Fianna team arrived with 19 players, which was 8 more than they had for the league game the previous week so no-one was expecting a similar result. Well that was wrong. An early goal by Siofra Kelly who out worked every marker she got all day, and two more from Kate O’Brien (both ground strokes) put Boden on the way. Two further points from Alana Newe, who doesn’t run, she just skilfully glides away from all who chase her, was a just reward. And then Anna Lambert who ran, chased and got in front of her marker all week-end, planted the sliotar to the left of the keeper. That left Boden comfortably in front by 4-2 to 0-0 at half time. The Na Fianna threat wasn’t as quiet as it seemed but the performance of what could only be described as a half back wall of Abbey Morley, Lucy Regan and Emma Fisher killed off attack after attack from Na Fianna. Early in the second half the ever running Lucy McCarthy took the ball on her stick went out the wing and scored a wonder point, one of the highlights of the week-end. Na Fianna responded with a point, but a further goal from Anna Lambert closed out the game.
Boden 5-3 Na Fianna 0-1
And then it was Bridget’s, where a win would ensure a place in the final. But you don’t just get to a Feile final, you have to earn it. And so it proved as the long clearances of Grace Regan, the solo runs of Niamh O’Farrell, the assuredness of full back Naomi Coote and the marking and speed of Laura Rourke meant that the Bridget’s forwards got no return for their efforts. The midfield battle was tough but the dogged persistence of Ciara Jelly ensured Boden won it. She was well supported by Saoirse Pender who seemed to be in the middle of every maul, melee, and maelstrom, as she bumped, jostled and pulled all round her. It was just rewards that her low hard shot from well outside the 21, found its way into the back of the net for the game’s only score.
Boden 1-0 St. Bridget’s 0-0
Safely in the final, the last match was against Cuala who needed a result to be assured of going through. The endless work rate of Aisling Duffy who seemed to be as fresh as she was in the first three games created two goal chances which were taken by Kate O’Brien and Anna Lambert. That saw Boden ahead by 2-0 to 1-0 at half time. After a long day, tired legs on both sides soldiered on, with Cuala squeezing a goal to make it a draw. Two exhausted teams were relieved to hear the final whistle.
Boden 2-0 Cuala 2-0
A sunny Summer’s morning in St. Peregrine’s GAA club in Blakestown became even brighter as the warm-up was paused to cheer on the Division 6 Boden champions as they were presented with their trophy. And then, with defibrillators at the ready in the stand, the final started. With both teams fresh from a night’s rest, this game was a different affair from the group game. Early pressure from Boden could have and should have ended with at least a goal if not more but somehow the game stayed scoreless. Cuala gradually came into the game and the quality of the hooking and blocking by both teams was outstanding as everyone fought to make room for a strike that would gain some bit of distance. The long and dangerous frees launched by Aoife Doyle proved a constant threat and were matched by her contribution from general play. Huge support came through the efforts of Laura Dunne and Tara O’Kelly who threw themselves into an epic battle around the middle of the park. There was never going to be much in it and Cuala took a second half score that proved decisive.
Boden 0-0 Cuala 1-0
“There are no losers in Feile” said the county board chairman in his presentation and while it may take a little time to realise it, it’s true, and theFeile week-end was a magnificent experience for this group of girls. The team represented themselves, their families and their club so well. Different games threw up different leaders but all were heroic throughout. Huge thanks is due to a great management team: Tony Morley, organising things with precision, Rob Lambert, who seems to effortlessly get drills and warm ups organised, and has probably forgotten more about coaching than most will ever know, Ken Regan of whom nothing is ever too much especially where it means helping girls to play and train and Paul Newe with his constant quiet encouragement. Finally a special acknowledgement to the work of Eoin Reid who led the organisation of all the girls through their Go Games years. As the girls moved to competitive leagues at under 13, he was meticulous in ensuring the B and C teams had a good management structure in place as he took up his own role with the A team. It was this as much as anything else that led to the club fielding three Feile camogie teams this week-end.
For the record – Ballyboden St. Enda’s Under 14 B Feile 2018 Team. Goalkeeper: Grace Regan; Backs: Niamh O’Farrell, Naomi Coote, Laura Rourke, Emma Fisher, Abbey Morley, Aoife Doyle, Lucy Regan, Shauna McCarthy (captain); Mid-Field: Ciara Jelly, Tara O’Kelly; Forwards: Laura Dunne, Alana Newe, Lucy McCarthy, Saoirse Pender, Aisling Duffy, Anna Lambert, Kate O’Brien, Siofra Kelly; Mentors: Tony Morley, Rob Lambert, Ken Regan, Paul Newe; Female Liaison Officer: Melissa Pender
As the Ballyboden B and C teams readied themselves for Division 5 & 6 action at home in Cherryfield, the U14A team headed to Oliver Plunketts to compete for Division 1. The draw had put the Boden girls in a strong group of 3 with Brigids and Lucan, with only 2 teams to progress to Semi Final stage.
The girls were greeted with sun shining on fine pitches and were then led out by a piper playing the National Anthem and then it was time to get down to business with perennial rivals Brigids up first.
Our girls started well enough and put up the first score with a pointed free from Clodagh Reid. However Brigids responded quickly with a goal, to take the lead in a tight match. The Boden girls responded well with a point from play from Aine Rafter to bring the gap back to a point. Next, however a sucker punch for Boden as Brigids went up the pitch and scored 2 goals within a couple of minutes. The Boden girls were left shell shocked, they rallied to pick up another point from Clodagh but then deep into first half injury time a 4th goal for Brigid left Boden with a mountain to climb in the second half.
In the second half the Boden girls took the play to Brigids and following a point from the ever lively Hannah Byrne and a goal from Leonie Power, the Brigids team looked rattled and a famous comeback looked possible. However a 5th goal for Brigids killed off the comeback and consolation scores from Leah Cunningham and a goal from Caoimhe O’Sullivan left Brigids as deserving winners.
FT BBSE 2-5 Brigids 5-0
Next up for our girls, after a short turnaround was other perennial rivals Lucan playing their first match in the competition. The Boden girls knew that defeat would send them home while victory would at least give them a play-off shot. They started with an extra intensity in their play in another tight encounter and again chalked up the first score with a point from play from Caoimhe. Lucan responded with a point of their own from a free and then a goal to leave Boden trailing again. However the girls responded well with an opportunist goal from Sarah Cooney leaving the sides level at half time.
In an exciting match, Boden came out fighting in the second half. A pointed free from Clodagh gave Boden the lead. A goal from Caoimhe was cancelled out by a goal from Lucan, then a 3rd Boden goal from Aine gave Boden the advantage to the delight of the Boden support. However, as the Boden girls tired, Lucan fought back with another goal followed by another 2 points to take a one point advantage into injury time. The Boden girls never gave up and a final point from the left from Abbie Brennan drew the game level as the final whistle blew.
FT BBSE 3-3 Lucan 3-3
This result gave Boden a glimmer of hope knowing that a win for Brigids over Lucan would give Boden a playoff against Lucan for 2nd spot. Our girls watched on however as Lucan got the better of eventual Division 1 winners Brigids to send our girls out. Our girls were disappointed but travelled back to Cherryfield with hurls in hands to watch and support the Ballyboden B & C teams in their Feile divisions.