U14 A Camogie Final: CARNEW EMMETS were crowned Under-14 ‘A’ Cup Champions following a physically demanding win over Éire Óg on a cold Monday night in Ballinakill.
A war of attrition between two sets of players benefitting from the careless enthusiasm of youth played out in front of a raucous atmosphere at the Wicklow GAA Centre of Excellence as both clubs were well supported by fans travelling to the game.
While Carnew won and were fully deserving of the trophy following a ruthless performance that was low on sentiment and high on ambitious intent, it was a landmark night for Éire Óg, who were competing in their first under-14 ‘A’ final on the night and gave just as good as they got in the process.
The car park side of the pitch was swollen with the presence of vocal supporters who were treated to a frantic opening five minutes. The ball had barely thrown in when Carnet Emmets got the opening goal of the day through Laoise Doran.
The game was still less than five minutes old when Éire Óg responded. A free out on the left-hand side was taken by Sadhbh Hartley, but rather than go over the bar, the sliotar dropped over the head of Abbey Finnerty and into the back of the net, sparking overjoyed celebrations from the player and fans on the sideline.
Carnew responded with points from Meabh Molloy (free) and Leanne Twamley, before the former bagged the second goal when her shot squeezed over the line despite the best efforts of the game Ciara O’Farrell.
From a technical point of view, Carnew were the superior side, carving up openings for scores at a regular, reliable rate, while Éire Óg did their best and then some to keep them at bay. They were in full control at half-time at 3-5 to 1-1, with their third goal of the half coming from Leanne Twamley after Meabh Molloy had hit the bar.
The bulk of the scores arrived in that first half, with the second delivering just 1-1 to 0-1 in Carnew’s favour. However, where the second half lacked scores, it made up for in ferocious physicality and competitiveness that betrayed their formative age profiles.
Ciara Browne put her body on the line in a very literal sense right from the restart, taking a nasty blow to her arm on 33 minutes and then, after recovering well enough to continue, took another one on the exact same limb on 35 minutes.
Once again, she continued to play and would last until 46 minutes, when she was ultimately substituted much to her visual frustration. Competitive spirit embodied in the defiance and determination to carry on.
In terms of scoring, there was very little to write home about in the second half, not that it was detrimental to the game’s quality and watchability. Carnew’s only two scores came early on when Laoise Doran scored her second goal of the day, followed by Meabh Molloy’s fourth point.
On the flip side, Greystones added their final score through a Sadhbh Hartley free. They were denied a second goal of their own when Caoimhe Davis’ strike was saved brilliantly by Abbey Finnerty.
When the final whistle went, Emmets were confirmed as the victors while, based on both teams’ performances, the future of Wicklow camogie was made even brighter.
Éire Óg: Ciara O’Farrell; Molly Howlett, Dearbhla Kinsella, Georgia Cullen; Ciara Browne, Ella Andrews, Aine Ryan; Lauren O’Leary, Caoimhe Davis; Hannah O’Carroll, Sadhbh Hartley (1-1f), Kate Myler (0-1); Maria Roche, Grace McDermott, Maisie Grey. Subs: Aoibheann Hartley for M. Howlett (19), Layla White for G. Cullen (HT), Grace