All Ireland U - 14 Seven A Side Championship @ Kilmacud Crokes

Banner Ladies Football Club Press Release:

All Ireland U – 14 Seven A Side Championship
@ Kilmacud Crokes

Final result: The Banner (Clare) 3 – 8
Oldcastle (Meath) 3 – 1


The Banner Ladies Club of Ennis completed another
chapter in their illustrious underage history by winning the inaugural
Kilmacud Crokes All Ireland Sevens competition held at the famed
Dublin club over the weekend.

Playing with passion and style the current All Ireland Division
One Féile champions left no one in any doubt that they are
the best team in Ireland at their age group. Throughout the seven
matches of the tournament the Ennis team scored an incredible 55
goals and 42 points while conceding a meagre 8 goals and 9 points.
On their way to the All Ireland Final they overcame Claregalway
(Galway), Valleymount (Wicklow), Harps (Monaghan), Naomh Peadar
(Armagh) and Mulahoran (Cavan). In the final they faced the Meath
champions Oldcastle who had defeated amongst others the reigning
champions Foxrock-Cabinteely (Dublin) and Erin’s Own (Cork).

The final was a thrilling encounter and easily the game of the
tournament. Oldcastle started the game at a tremendous pace and,
despite playing against a stiff breeze, they stunned the Ennis girls
with two early goals. The Banner replied with a pointed free from
Niamh O’Dea and a goal from Eimear O’Connor before again conceding
another point to the Meath girls. The half time score thus read
Oldcastle 2 – 1, The Banner 1 – 2. Facing the prospect of playing
into a stiff breeze in the second period things looked ominous for
the Clare representatives.

Things looked even worse early in the second half when, following
a Niamh O’Dea point for the Banner, Oldcastle goaled again. Thus
with seven minutes remaining the Ennis girls were four points adrift.
The Banner girls are not All Ireland champions for nothing though
and in these final seven minutes they used all their skill and experience
in producing a scintillating display of football. In the remaining
time they rattled Oldcastle in scoring 2 – 5 without reply. During
this period the Banner had magnificent displays from Laurie Ryan,
Naomi Carroll, Louise Woods, Eimear O’Connor and Niamh O’Dea. Laura
Brennan also contrived to play her best football of the tournament
during this period and goalkeeper Marie McMahon made one of the
finest saves I have ever seen at this level of football when diving
full length to her left to tip on Olcastle bullet around the post
with three minutes remaining. The large crowd in attendance could
only gasp in awe at the level of footballing intensity and skill
displayed by the Banner team in this final second half. And when
one considers that this came at the end of seven high speed games
of sevens football it really spoke volumes of this great team. At
the final whistle the Banner were All Ireland winners on a 3 – 8
to 3 – 1 scoreline.

Although devastated by their loss after such a bright opening the
Oldcastle team, mentors and supporters were most magnanimous in
defeat and heartily congratulated the new All Ireland champions.
Oldcastle were a tremendous side and will win major honours in the
very near future. Had they met any team other than the Banner in
the final they would surely have won the championship. The overall
standard of football in the final match was certainly the highest
I have ever witnessed at this level as two superbly coached and
skilful teams battled it out for supremacy.

Limited to ten players The Banner were superbly served by all their
panellists in this gruelling one day tournament. Further honour
was bestowed on the Ennis club when Naomi Carroll was nominated
as player of the tournament. This must have been a very difficult
selection task for the judges and could easily have gone to Banner
captain Louise Woods or to Laurie Ryan, Eimear O’Connor or Niamh
O’Dea such was their great displays throughout the tournament.

A memorable finale to a historic weekend for the Ennis club came
at the TG4 Ladies All Ireland Finals in Croke Park on Sunday when
club members Eimear O’Connor (All Ireland Féile winning captain)
and Megan Hough (Clare U – 14 All Ireland B winning captain) were
introduced on the field to the 27,000 in attendance by Mary Morrissey.

Banner Team: Marie McMahon, Naomi Carroll, Louise Woods (captain),
Niamh O’Dea, Eimear O’Connor, Laurie Ryan, Megan Hough, Niamh Walsh,
Lorna Higgins, Laura Brennan.

Mentors: Joe Reidy, Patricia Ryan, Dr. Paul McKenna, J.J. O’Dea,
Niamh Coffey.


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