Under 16 Girls Take County Title

Cloonacool/Tubbercurry 4 – 12 St Michael’s 2 – 6

1978 Team Photo

The TSB Cup found a new home to go to on Saturday night last as Cloonacool/Tubbercurry claimed their very first U – 16 Championship title in Tourlestrane. Over the years the Cup – first presented for the U – 16A Championship back in 1995, and represented for the U – 16B Championship in 2007 – has found many a home but never before in the Town and Country Club.

The pitch looking it finest despite the recent weather served up a classic even though the Final score line wouldn’t suggest that. Apart from a gentle breeze, the day was perfect for the game considering the time of Year. Despite this defeat the Ballintogher outfit could hardly say 2009 has been a bad year for them on the playing fields claiming booth the U – 14A and Minor A Championship titles, the Intermediate Championship crown and were very unlucky not to have won the Connacht Intermediate Club Title a few weeks back. On Saturday 7 of their Intermediate team were in the line up while most of the rest had tasted success either in U – 14 or U – 18.

Prior to the commencement of the game the Southern outfit had to make a late change, calling up Micaela Murray to their starting line up in place of Emily Ryan. At times late changes can have a knock on effect on a team but not this time as Murray would go on to play a cracker for 59 minutes before being called ashore, in fact her switch to pick up Lisa Mc Connell after 5 minutes would be one of the many turning points in the game. In the opening 5 minutes Mc Connell had caused Sarah Kilcoyne problem a plenty but once Murray picked her up the damage seemed less effective. Ironically Kilcoyne would also go on to have a stormer for the remainder of the game.

This however was very much a team performance from the winners as others in the back line would play their part in this success none more so than Lisa Wynne. Time and time again as the losers raided the Winners rear guard, Wynne came to the rescue particularly 7 minutes into the second half as St Michael’s came looking for a major score that would get them back into the game, no fewer than 7 St Michaels Players were in or around the house waiting to pounce and finish to the net, in the mist of it all Lisa Wynne emerged with the ball calmly soloing her way out of danger before delivering a re-laving clearance into the St Michael’s half. With it probably went the game for them as well.

In midfield Laura Gillespie probably hadn’t one of her better days at the office – one wonders what’s a good day – she finished the game with a personal tally of 2 – 2. If Gillespie was off form then the same couldn’t be said for her partner Niamh Ross. Over the course of the game Ross must have covered every inch of Tourlestrane pitch reminding you of the old add for Castrol Oil all those years ago, Durable, Reliable and always dependable. Up front Caoimhe Gallagher used all her County experience to good effect while both Maire Brennan and Cliodhna Murphy worked their socks off before being called ashore with minutes remaining.

It was probably two of their lesser known forwards that stole the show. Laura Mc Intyre won a lot of as they say dirty ball around the middle, while her vision to pick out a team mate was magnificent, and in Ciara Forkin they have a star in the making, if she doesn’t appear on a Co U – 14 Panel in 2010, it will be beyond belief. Not since the days of Louise Brett have the Club produced anyone as classic. Overall it was still a team performance from the Winners camp. For St Michaels, they will be disappointed not to have added the U – 16 Championship to their collection of ’09 silverware but on the day they were edged out by a more balanced outfit. However they will ask questions as to why they didn’t move goalkeeper Shauna Kelly a little earlier. For the last quarter Kelly played outfield and scored 2 – 1 for them. The loss of Danielle O’Connell so early on probably upset their plans but they had performances in Eire Gorman, Katie Mc Dermott and Nicole Clancy in the back line. In midfield Lauren Boles was more out of the game from the performance of Niamh Ross and Grainne O’Loughlin tried hard in the opening half, her involvement in the second half was somehow curtailed by the presence of Sarah Kilcoyne. In the forward division Emer McKeon and Lisa Mc Connell worked hard while the introduction of both Aideen McTiernen and Ciobha Hennessy worked well.

The losers made a brisk opening forcing a save out of Orla Coleman in the opening minute as a Grainne O’Loughlin rocket seemed destined for the net only for Coleman to turn it around the post for a 45. St Michael’s hadn’t long to wait for their opening score as within a minute of the Coleman save, Lisa McConnell sent over from play. At the other end Ciara Forkin pulled the side’s level following good work on the wings by Laura Mc Intyre and Cliodhna Murphy. The sides would remain level for all of two minutes as once again the saints went marching on as Emer McKeon sent over following an assist from Mc Connell...

The switch soon followed but didn’t take effect straight away as Mc Connell once again bearing down on goal, fouled and Lauren Boles converting the free. Two Ciara Forkin points and a third from Laura Gillespie had Cloonacool/Tubbercurry one to the good by the 18th minute. In between those points, St Michaels lost forward Danielle O’ Connell to injury being replaced by Aideen McTiernan. Probably one of the scores of the game if not the Championship arrived in the 20th minute as Ciara Regan broke up a St Michael’s attack, place Laura Mc Intyre. Mc Intyre had the vision to pick out Ciara Forkin with an over the top pass. Forkin picked up the ball on the 45 meter line and headed for goal. As goalkeeper Shauna Kelly approached from goal to try and prevent the score, Forkin coolly chipped the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net. A minute later she pointed her side into a five point lead after receiving a pass from a Cliodhna Murphy line ball.

A Lauren Boles pointed free narrowed the gap to four points entering the final five minutes of the half but the final two scores of the half would belong to Caoimhe Gallagher. A shot for a point from some 30 meters out on 27 minutes dipped in under the crossbar for a major and on the stroke of half time the same player pointed to send the sides to the dressing rooms at 2 – 6 to 0 – 4 for Cloonacool/Tubbercurry.

A whirlwind start to the second half by the losers signaled what was to come one guessed. Some 30 seconds in Emer Mc Keon pointed and for the next 12 minutes the CT goals was under constant siege but somehow now score was to come from any attack that the losers made. A Ciara Forkin pointed free was to ease the nerves of the winners on the 13th minute with the losers switching their keepers there after with Aideen Mc Tiernan taking over between the sticks and Shauna Kelly heading outfield. Maire Brennan added a point for the winners possibly one of the point of the day curling a ball in from the left with the aid of the post. A Shauna Kelly goal in the 17th minute through St Michael’s a lifeline with the gap back to six points.

A point from Cliodhna Murphy and a rocket of a goal from Laura Gillespie on twenty and twenty one minutes respectively put the game beyond reach, points soon followed from Ciara Forkin and Laura Gillespie again to seal St Michael’s fate in a thirty second period in the 24th minute. Shauna Kelly scored from distance for the losers in the 27th minute only for them to be hit with another Gillespie rocket a minute later to extend the lead out to fourteen points.

A minute from time Laura Mc Intyre scored the point; her work deserved to increase the lead to fifteen, while deep in injury time Shauna Kelly fired to the net to end the scoring and with it came the final blast from James Finan’s whistle to end the contest. After the game the TSB Cup was presented to the winning Captain Ciara Regan by ironically one of there own Club People, Co Secretary Martin Seery.

Scorers Cloonacool/Tubbercurry: Ciara Forkin 1 – 6, Laura Gillespie 2 – 2, Caoimhe Gallagher 1 – 1, Maire Brennan, Cliodhna Murphy and Laura Mc Intyre 0 – 1 each

Cloonacool/Tubbercurry: Orla Coleman, Katie Gilmartin, Sarah Kilcoyne, Micaela Murray, Ciara Regan (Capt), Lisa Wynne, Niamh Ross, Laura Gillespie, Caoimhe Gallagher, Cliodhna Murphy, Laura Mc Intyre, Maire Brennan, Ciara Forkin. Subs used: Eadaoin Mc Carrick, Nicole Cretaro & Laura Burke for M Murray, C Murphy & M Brennan. Other Subs: Shona O’Dowd, Muireann Ni Bhaoghill, Erin O’Dowd, Emma Gillespie and Emily Ryan