Ballinteer St Johns Camogie team win the Feile!


1.Aishling Larkin 2. Aoife Ryan 3. Eadaoin Cullen 4. Eibhlin Barry 5. Ellie Kearns 6. Ellie O’ Connor 7. Eve Leslie 8. Eve O’Callaghan 9. Grace Lynch 10. Hannie Culhane 11. Hazel Grady 12. Kate Brennan 13. Laura O’ Connor 14. Lauren Bourke 15. Leah Kavanagh 16. Muireann Nathan 17. Niamh Ni Bhaoighill 18. Noelene Anderson 19. Ruth Keoghan 20. Siuin Dununion 21. Sophie Fearon

An 8.30 meeting of the teams in the club house allowed us to complete operation team photos (for team and mentors), operation hair plait (for team and Aidan) and operation face/legs/ arms paint (for team and a few willing parents) and get to the Cuala pitch sand St Olf’s by 10 bells. After a procession around the pitches in the sunshine to the sound of the bagpipes the girls got ready for a battle with the old enemy, Kilmacud Crokes. We had to re-gig the team with Laura moving from midfield to centre forward due to a slight injury. It turned out to be an inspired move as she slotted into the role with ease and looked like she had been playing their all her life. Nine goals in four matches!

Game 1: 10 am
BSJ 3-2 to Kilmacud 0-5
First up was Kilmacud Crokes, the local rival. Within a few minutes we were dominating play, controlling the midfield and feeding the forwards with quality ball. A point for Grace and a goal from Laura was a great start to settle the Feile nerves. As ever with this squad we are not only gifted with great midfields and forwards we are also double gifted with a defensive unit that would send the all blacks running back to the cloudy island. Again and again Kilmacud attacked and despite five or six goalmouth skirmishes they managed to keep them out and score free. Kate was at her best and at one point a high missile came in towards goal and cool as a cucumber she connected with it in the air to clear her lines. We dominated most of the second half and Laura scored a two more goals with a point from Lauren. In the last six minutes Kilmacud found their mojo again and scored a few points. It was too little too late and BSJ won by a good margin of 6 pts.

Game 2: 12.45 am
BSJ 6-7 St Vincent’s 4-3
The next match was against St Vincent’s and this was the match of the weekend. We reached dizzy heights against a very good St Vincent’s team who had totally outplayed Kilmacud in their first game (yet lost). The highlight of this high scoring game was the jaw dropping third goal. With Lauren help, Hannie took it out of defence with another dominant thundering run and then smacked the sliothars up field; Sophie caught it and immediately connected sliothars to hurl hitting it up field. Laura leapt in the air like a salmon, caught the sliothar and beat the U14 Dublin goalie with a thunderous strike to the back of the net. GOAL of the Season! St Vincent’s always looked dangerous and scored a few goals but we always had the edge in this open high scoring high skill game. This is why we love camogie! The points/ goal scorers included Laura with another brace of goals, Lauren 3 points, Grace 2 points, Eve 1 point, Sophie 1 point and a great goal by Ruth.

Game 3: Semi Final 3.45 pm
BSJ 2-3 Cuala 0
We played the hosts Cuala in the semi-final and dominated most of the game with a stress free time for dependable Katie in goal. Again another gritty display where the defense mopped up everything and kept a steady flow of balls to the midfield and forward line. After a few weeks of injury it was good to see Hazel back to her best with an impressive performance from start to finish. Lots of hugs and excitement – we made it to the final! We were to play Kilmacud who had a dramatic last minute comeback against St Vincent’s saving them a very early exit and a good win against Clontarf in the semi-final.

Game 4: Final 1 pm
BSJ 1-2 Kilmacud Crokes 0-1 point

The final was in Lorcan O’Toole Park and was a tight affair. With a big pitch we were never going to get a goal scoring fest of the Saturday. Overall we were the better team but every skirmish mattered and the score was always very very close. It’s fair to say parents and family we on edge for the full 40 minutes. Parents watched in awe as every single player stood up to the plate and gave 120%. You don’t beat Kilmacud with an average performance and thanks to a “haka/ karate Aidan led” warm up; the girls were in the right frame of mind. John O Connor, the mentor, knows how to get the best out of these girls and he is never short of inspiring words of praise. It’s fair to say that this not a team of individual stars, it’s a team where the sum of the parts is more powerful than the individual. Together these girls could conquer the seven kingdoms. Score from Eve, Lauran and from “another game another goal” Laura secured victory. At the final whistle the crowds ran onto the pitch and there were major celebrations. Congratulations to Lauren whose masterclass of very high skills, gritty never give up tenacity and her ability to cover every corner of the pitch won her the Player of the Final. My most inspiring player of the weekend was Hannie, whom many of the girls refer to as a “total warrior”. Despite a few bad knocks she battle on and made it to the final. Her displays represent everything we love about this team; resilience, fair play, honesty and courage. We left the pitch after another little Aidan inspired haka and there was mucho celebrations in the clubhouse that night. Well done to the B team who made it to the semi-final and played some incredible camogie to get there. Thanks to the mentors and parents who helped on the day including John O’Connor, John Champion, Mick Brennan, Aileen O’Grady Liam Ni Bhaoighill, Mags Brennan, Aidan Bourke, Brendan Barry and John Dununion who all give their time. Last but not least to Sharon Kavanagh who drove the fundraising and was unanimously voted queen of 2005 Feile!