What a wonderful day Tramore Camogie experience on Saturday last.
While it all began in Modeligo in late April, it culminated yesterday in the shadow of the Comeragh mountains at Kilrossanty GAA Club where our Under 14 girls took on Lismore in the Championship Final.
The squad woke early in the morning and came together at Riverstown before embarking on the bus trip to Lemybrien. A quite confidence oozed from the squad (apart from the boisterous rendition of "Wrecking Ball" from the back of the bus. (Keep with the sports girls, the singing needs a lot of work!! We did like the choice of song mind!)
With a building entourage of Pink Clad supporters the team took the field and had the benefit of the breeze for the first 30 minutes.
From the off, space was at a premium and both teams pressured and harried their opponents to ensure that every inch of territory was earned. It was evident from the Lismore set up that they had identified our strong axis in the middle of the pitch and attempted to neutralise it. While they achieved this early in the proceedings, as the match wore on, Tramore began to come out on top in the one on one battles.
The amount of ground being covered by all the girls was immense and our girls never gave up the cause and consequently won many battles through sheer determination
The first score came after 15minutes and following a usual template of Clara reacting quickest in front of the posts; she took deadly aim and pointed.
Lismore responded very positively and after a further 5 minutes, they breached the Tramore defence and scored a goal. During this period, the backs of Alannah Jones, Karen Carbery and Muireann Burns worked tirelessly with the half backs of Cassie Bolster, Muireann Cuddihy and Jordan Scholtz to keep Lismore at bay. Further forward, Kim Hennessy and Emma Barry ran themselves to a standstill chasing any sliothar that came within 30 metres of them. As the half drew to a conclusion, Sally Kelly found some space to the right hand side and struck a sweet point which she followed with pointed free following some great work in the half forward line.
So at half time, the teams were even on a score of Lismore 1-0, Tramore 0-3.
The Tramore line up was tweaked after the break with Abbey Dunphy introduced for Chloe Kinsella who had fought tirelessly in the first half. The full forwards of Anna Finnegan, Flora Dooley and Chloe were putting themselves about, but were getting little change from a very determined Lismore defence.
The change paid immediate dividend with Abbey latching onto the sliothar in space and driving forward and smashing the ball into the net after just 3 minutes of the restart. Again, Lismore showed their character by travelling to the Tramore end and striking a goal to cancel our effort.
Lismore took the lead again with another well executed point and from here the match stretched from end to end as space opened up. Clara Griffin and Leah Barry appeared to be beneath each dropping sliothar about the middle of the pitch. Further forward Abbey was proving a major thorn in the Lismore defence with searing runs. Following a free won by Emma Barry, Sally goaled to give Tramore the lead this was stretched further by another classy effort from Abbey.
Lismore haven't been beaten all season, and they were not going to go down here without a major fight. They threw everything at our girls and managed to score a goal and a point to leave the bare minimum between the sides. At this stage, Beth O'Neill was introduced and she tormented the Lismore backs. With 7 minutes remaining, our half backs, midfield and half forwards redoubled their efforts despite aching limbs and lungs. They snuffed out any chances for Lismore and drove the ball forward into the breeze but far away from the Tramore end.
Never has a ref’s final whistle been so welcomed by the team, supporters and mentors. Celebrations ensued as the girls validate the very strong belief they have shown in themselves all season, winning on a score of 3-3 to 3-2.
Muireann Cuddihy stepped forward to accept the Under 14B Championship as captain of her team, and delivered a very magnanimous speech despite the barrage of paparazzi straining to get their photos to capture the moment which will live long in the memory.
The entourage of team, mentors, parents and supporters meandered their way back to Tramore GAA club to celebrate their win and enjoy the glow of a season which promised so much, and which this bunch of girls delivered in the most emphatic way. Well done. By way of your effort, believe and skills, you fully deserve to wake up this morning as county champions!!
Championship Winning Team:- Mash Power, Alannah Jones, Karen Carbery, Muirenn Burns, Jordan Scholtz, Muireann Cuddihy, Cassie Bolster, Leah Barry Clara Griffin, Sally Kelly, Emma Barry, Kim Hennessy, Anna Finnegan, Chloe Kinsella, Flora Dooley,. Subs: Beth O'Neill, Shannon Barry, Abbey Dunphy, Natasha Dobbyn, Deirdre O'Byrne