Adult camogie team take home shield:The ladies of Eire Og travelled to Aughrim on Sunday last with an air of expectation. Jerseys lined the walls, skorts, hurls and helmets at the ready. Eire Og had faced the ladies of Ballinacor in September in Eire Og, a game which Ballinacor came out on top but the difference on the score sheet indicated the gap was narrowing between the teams. In the intervening weeks, the training intensified, the skill levels and fitness continued to improve. Were we ready to take the next step????
The game commenced at a ferocious pace. Ellie, sister of senior hurling stars Dan & Hugh O’Neill, opened the scoring with a point from play and then another from a free but Ballinacor responded with two goals. Eire og were enjoying the lions share of possession but were struggling to find their range. Jean and Michelle with direct running were stretching the Ballinacor defence but that last pass wouldnt go to hand. Suzanne and Rachel, linked defence to attack repeatedly. A free 45mtrs out, Ellie strikes sweet and it lands just under the crossbar, 1.2 v 2.0 with halftime approaching. Then one of the moves of the game, Michelle lifts and carries, handpass to Ellie, who flicks the ball beyond the fullback to the Angela. Angela picks and turns, bearing down on goal one on one, and shoots to the roof of the net. 2.2 v 2.0 with halftime upon us.
Whilst the first half was an open flowing game, the second half was a tighter, tense affair. After a period of sustained pressure which Ballincor withstood, they broke up the field to exert some pressure of their own. Bronagh, Marguerite, Christina, Helen, Lynn and Grainne stood firm, fought hard for every ball, a little too hard on occasion, two frees resulted, and game was all level. Driving forward again, Angela received a long ball from Suzanne, turned and shot over. Ellie drove a long range free straight and through. As the game entered the final quarter, Eire Og led by 2, the most dangerous of leads. A Ballinacor free, was cancelled out by another Ellie strike from the deadball. The intensity increased to new heights, Ballinacor withstood attack after attack and Eire Og just couldnt extend the 2 point lead. With 5 minutes on the clock, disaster struck. Shannon Doyle, one of the players of the game, ran onto a breaking ball in midfield. She soloed beyond the 40, beyond the 20, and at full pace struck a goal to the top corner that deserved to win any game. Rita in goal had no chance. 2.5 v 3.3, 1 down five to play. To their credit the ladies of Greystones didnt drop the heads, but time was running out. Ballinacor were keeping us in our own half at they sought to close out the game. With two minutes remaining Lynn deep in defence got low, picked and soloed to midfield, popped the pass over the head of the onrushing midfielder to Ellie who turned provider driving a low ball in front of Angela just left of the posts, 30 meters from goal. Angela jinked right and spun onto her left, carrying the ball beyond the defender. The choice of taking the point to level never crossed her mind, she shot with all she had and a roar went up from the Eire Og support. 2 points up again but Ballinacor were not finished. Suzanne and Helen broke up an attack and Rachel was onto the break, again linking with Ellie. Ellie shot from out wide and the onrushing Grainne was millimetres away from connecting on edge of square and the ball bounced wide. That was to be the final act as the final whistle followed the puckout. The game finished 3.5 v 3.3. Cue celebrations…
It had been an exhilarating game. Ballinacor deserve great credit for their performance. It has to be remembered that this is their second team, the other being senior, and they are the only club in Wicklow Camogie who fields a second adult team which in itself is an enormous achievement. Many thanks to Dora, Josie and all the girls.
A big thank you to the Wicklow Camogie County Board and the fixtures committee especially, for playing the Junior B and Junior B Shield Finals, to the Aughrim club for hosting and after game refreshments and lastly to Con Keddy and Ciaran “Mossy” Gaskin the referees on the day.
We also need to mention the enormous support on the day and probably the best part of the day was the many children watching their Mammies (and coaches) being part of a team and celebrating the win with them. And finally the ladies themselves. Make no mistake, they should be and are an inspiration to us all. Starting to play camogie, a little later in life than most, really isn’t the easiest of ways to stay fit. The game has many skills that are difficult to achieve. But these ladies, many of whom coach camogie, hurling and football in the club are determined that there will be an adult camogie team for their daughters to graduate to in the coming years. Mixed together with the youthful exuberance of Ellie and Rachel, the driving forces of the team and now with dual county medals this year following their win with the Eire Og LGFA also. Well done girls, it is difficult to find the words to stay how proud we are of you all.