U14 Div1 Camogie Championship Final

Ballyboden St. Enda’s versus Lucan Sarsfields

3rd November 2018

The main club pitch in Parnell’s GAA Club was the scene for this years Division 1 Championship Final and to the joy of our girls, parents and supporters alike, Ballyboden St. Enda’s came out on top of what was an intense and thrilling game of camogie on a final score of 4-05 to 2-07.

Conditions on the day were ideal, albeit there was a strong breeze at play throughout the match that favoured Boden in the first half. The pitch in Parnell’s was as good a surface as the girls had ever played on and helped contribute to some great displays of skill by both sides.

Our girls got off to a great start with goals from Clodagh Reid and Caoimhe O’Sullivan followed by a point from Áine Rafter to establish a lead of 7 points after just 7 minutes play. The Ballyboden work rate all over the pitch was incredible and should have yielded more than their three scores, but one chance after another seemed to slip wide and it wasn’t until 26 minutes in, that Áine managed to snatch a goal to reward all the efforts out the pitch.

At that stage, Lucan had put over 3 points of their own and tagged on another just before the whistle to leave a half time score of 3-01 to 0-04. A six point lead at half time didn’t reflect the dominance our girls had on the pitch in the first half and we knew with the breeze at their backs in the second half, Lucan would come back out and heap on the pressure. The girls were asked at half time to leave everything they had out on the pitch in the second half and as always with this group they gave it their all.

Lucan spent the first 5 minutes of the second half camped around the Boden goalmouth but a great defensive effort including a crucial save by Shauna Feely meant that for all Lucan’s efforts they could only manage one converted free during this spell. Our girls eventually lifted the siege and over the next 10 minutes both teams registered 2 points each, with both of Boden’s coming from play, brilliantly converted by Leonie Power.

Lucan tagged on one more point from yet another free before Shona Kenny pounced on a breaking ball to score our fourth goal and establish an 8 point lead with about 15 minutes remaining. Clodagh added a long range free to put the lead to 9 but between then and the end of the match Lucan’s Sinead Daly managed to score two goals from two near in frees to keep the match alive right to the end. One final insurance point from Clodagh from another long range free out on the wing meant we were protecting a 4 point lead for the last nail-biting 3 minutes.

When the final whistle eventually blew there were scenes of pure joy. The girls had prevailed in what was undoubtedly their toughest match of the Championship.

Truth be told, the scoring sequence only tells half the story of this match.

Shauna Feely and the entire defence kept Lucan to just 1 point from play over the whole match! Emma Jane Weir, Leah Cunningham, Sarah Gleeson, Megan Deignan and Sadie Codd put in tackle after tackle, block after block. Every time a there was a pile up of bodies, somehow one or other of these girls came away with the ball. Abbie Brennan and Megan Dignam performed heroics on the wings and contained Lucan’s most attacking forwards.

The midfield of Hannah Byrne and Leonie Power were phenomenal. Hannah who was captain on the day never stopped running and lead by example throughout. She spoke brilliantly after the final whistle during the acceptance speech and represented the club so well. Leonie Power, just like she did in the U13 Championship Final, put in an outstanding performance. She seemed to turn up everywhere on the pitch, getting in that vital tackle or clearance and was a thorn in the side of Lucan for the entire match.

All the forwards were brilliant. Alice Rudden, Ella McNair, Kate Donaghy and Caoimhe O’Sullivan got on so much ball. Each of them took on the Lucan defence and made crucial runs with ball on stick, setting up scores, and retaining possession. Shona Kenny’s goal came at a crucial time, and Áine Rafter’s 1-01 from play doesn’t nearly reflect her effort put in, nor the influence she had on the game, indeed Áine had a perfectly good goal overruled by the ref in the second half, a score that thankfully wasn’t needed in the end. When the pressure was on in the second half, Clodagh came into her own with some great high catches out the field and important clearances down the pitch, with her final long range free possibly the score of the match.

Celebrations back in the club that evening went long into the night and were enjoyed by one and all. A great finish to the camogie year, with another League and Championship double for the girls. They are a credit to both themselves and the club.