Under 12s crowned county champions

Ladies under 12 division one finals
17 July 2016

The under 12s completed a remarkable competitive season in style at O'Donnell Park last Saturday. The girls took on Buncrana, Dungloe and Saint Eunan's in the division 1 finals blitz at the Letterkenny venue having come top after five games in the south. Ballyshannon were without Emily and Lauren McHugh, Cora Rooney, Lucy Barden and Fodhla Sheerin who all played significant roles in getting the Ernesiders a place in the top graded blitz. Aodh Ruadh travelled with a panel of 22 with every player getting at least a half of football.

The wind was a factor on the day with all sides having to work hard against it.

First up for the Shamettes were Buncrana. The Inishowen girls, playing with just the bare nine made a real go of it and had bagged a couple of goals by the break to make it nervy enough. Katie O'Brien rose to the challenge though and her 2-2 combined with 1-2 from Emer O'Brien helped Aodh Ruadh to a first win.

Next up were Dungloe who had lost their opener to the hosts, Saint Eunan's. This proved the hardest fought game of the blitz with the Rosses girls showing real team spirit to go with a good sprinkling of talent. Aodh Ruadh played against the wind in the first half and trailed by two goals at the turnover, not unbridgable with the aid of the breeze. Dungloe played their hand well though and it took some exceptional scoring from Lucy McGlynn (2-2) and Aoibhínn McGarrigle (1-1) in that second period, not too mention some gritty defending from the likes of Grainne Maguire to earn a draw on a scoreline of 3-5 to 4-2. There was huge evidence of the Ballyshannon girls commitment in that game when Hannah Gallagher and Cara Davit both shipped heavy injuries in their determination to win the ball.

With Saint Eunan's two wins from two that left the game between Aodh Ruadh and the Letterkenny girls effectively the decisive game of the blitz. Eunan's needed a win or a draw, while only a win would do the Shamettes. This turned out to be the girls best display of the day. Facing into the breeze, Aodh Ruadh delivered a power-packed first half of football which the hosts simply couldn't contain. Aoibhínn McGarrigle was in explosive form and had bagged two goals before her bravery saw her having to leave the fray with an injured foot. The indefatigble Emer O'Brien showed the exactly what she was all about in this game and capped a phenomenal blitz with a first half 1-1 against Eunan's. Áine Hill created lots of problems and her point left it Aodh Ruadh 3-2 to 0-0 at the turnover. The second half saw the Ernesiders peppering the Eunan's posts, but with the backing wind proving tricky to judge they could only add a beautifully taken effort from Clodagh O'Connor to their first half tally to leave the final score 3-3 to 0-0 and Aodh Ruadh county champions.

When the result was confirmed it set off huge jubilation. The presentation commenced with Greg Harkin commending all the teams on the day's football before presenting captain Lucy McGlynn with the county trophy. Lucy hoisted the trophy to a rapturous reception before paying tribute to the coaches, parents and opposition on the day.

There was a poignant moment in the dressing rooms afterwards as we made a presentation to, Megan Kane, who had played her last game for Aodh Ruadh, before heading off to Cork. But doubtless she'll never forget the last day she pulled on the white and green.

Great credit has to go to Saint Eunan's who organised the blitz to the highest standard. All ran smoothly on the day and there was a great spread of grub in the club house afterwards which was very welcome after the hard day's football. Aodh Ruadh extend their gratitude to Greg, Agnes and all their helpers who looked after us on the day.

Thanks are due too to our own Shane Toolan who represented our club with distinction as referee on the big day. It was great to be able to say we did our part on the officiating front and we're grateful to Shane for stepping up.

After that it was back to Ballyshannon where Thomas O'Brien lead off the convoy around the town which was met with a great reception. The Aodh Ruadh Ladies Board made a well received contribution for some celebratory snacks at Father Tierney Park where we also took a special team shot to mark this achievement and bring the curtain down on a never to be forgotten day.

Of course we have to thank the parents / guardians of this great bunch of players for their help and support all year, not least with the transport to the game on Saturday. We mentioned the some of the scorers in the brief match report, but this was honestly a 22 player performance on the day and a 27 player achievement over the course of the season. The panel who played their hearts out on the day for Aodh Ruadh were Ciara Caldwell, Cara Davitt, Evelyn Rose Gallagher, Hannah Gallagher, Lucy Gallagher, Niamh Gallagher, Ciara Gillespie, Áine Hill, Niamh Hughes, Caoimhe Hughes-O'Brien, Megan Kane, Annie Keon, Grainne Maguire, Rhiana Masterson-Burrows, Aoibhínn McGarrigle, Kaitlyn McGarrigle, Lucy McGlynn, Emer O'Brien, Katie O'Brien, Clodagh O'Connor, Shauna O'Mahoney and Rachel Patton.

Important also to salute the contribution made by past coaches like Clare Flood and Paddy Kelly in helping to develop this great bunch of players.

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Last modified: Sunday, 17 July 2016 at 9:25pm