Knocklyon U14 Girls Gaelic Football Panel were runners-up in the National Community Games Finals played in Athlone at the weekend (20/21 August 2016).
The journey started out last April when the girls won a very tight game with Clontarf in Cherryfield by 2 pts in awful weather conditions, with the result in the balance until the final whistle. The following week the girls travelled to Man O’War to play Round Towers Lusk in a Dublin final. The result was a comfortable win for Knocklyon. After a few weeks break next up was Leixlip who had just beaten Kilcullen – All-Ireland finalists from two years previously. The Knocklyon girls went into the 4th quarter a goal down but had a storming last 10 mins to win by 13 pts.
Then came the Leinster semi final and potential final, both on the 2nd July in Carlow. The girls played Drumrainey/Tang (Westmeath) in the Leinster semi final and won comfortably on a scoreline of 8-14 v 0-3. Within two hours of finishing that game the girls faced Dunboyne who had a similar winning margin in their semi final. The Knocklyon girls competed with great tenacity and skill and won a hard fought game on a scoreline of 3-5 v 1-5.
On Saturday 20th August the girls faced Listowel in the national semi final. Every possession was hard fought in dreadful weather conditions on a very small pitch. At half time Knocklyon led by 2 pts (0-5 v 0-3) but in the 3rd quarter Knocklyon increased their lead to 6 pts. Listowel scored 2 goals in the final 10 mins to reduce the margin but Knocklyon prevailed on a scoreline of 1-11 v 2-5. On Sunday in the national final the girls faced Manorhamilton who had beaten Sheelin Gaels (Cavan) by 9 pts. Mentors and players knew the final would be very tough against a more physical side on a very small pitch. So it proved to be, as Knocklyon found it hard to break down the Manorhamilton defence despite scoring an early goal. The 1st 3 periods were competitive, with 7 pts between the sides entering the final quarter. Manorhamilton used the ball better to finish strongly and score 3-3 to make the final score Knocklyon 1-6 v Manorhamilton 6-8. The 3rd/4th play-off between Listowel & Sheelin Gaels ended in a draw with the latter winning by 1 pt after extra time.
The journey through this competition was a fantastic experience for these young players. Parents and supporters who followed their progress can be very proud of their achievements. Hopefully the girls achievements will raise the profile of community games in Knocklyon (and Dublin), and players from the younger age groups will have an opportunity to compete in a national competition.
Thanks to Miriam Christie for taking photos.
Ballyboden St Enda’s u13: Auveen O’Neill; Erin Christie; Grace Lawlor; Grace O’Neill; Hannah Byrne; Hollie Bolger; Jennifer Hanrahan; Julie Vaughan; Leah Moran; Michaela Fitzpatrick; Sarah O’Connell; Sophie Cullen
Ballyboden St Enda’s u14: Ciara Lynch; Rebecca Keane
St Annes u13: Jodie Coghlan
Kilmacud Crokes: Ciara Jones
Mentors: Mike Fitzpatrick; Colm Bolger; Danny O’Connell, Barbara Vaughan, Michelle Fitzpatrick