Féile Peil na nÓg 2009 All Ireland Division 1 Championship

Féile Peil na nÓg 2009 All Ireland Division 1 Championship

The Banner Ladies Football Club of Ennis again had an excellent Féile championship and represented Clare in the highest division of the competition hosted in Co. Kildare over the weekend.


The Ennis side were in a very tough group which included the Kildare champions Balyna Ladies, Newbridge Sarsfields and the Cork champions and tournament favourites Mourneabbey.


Banner Ladies 5 – 3 Balyna Ladies 5 – 2


Venue: Balyna GAA, Johnstownbridge, Co. Kildare @ 2.00pm Friday July 3rd


Whether it was the long bus journey on Friday morning or just the nervousness of many of the team appearing in their first national Féile game but the Banner ladies were very sluggish early on in this game as the physically stronger Kildare champions Balyna piled on the pressure. Indeed by half time the home side had built up a 3-1 to 1-1 lead and looked very comfortable. Aisling Cahill was the Banner ladies goal scorer while Sinéad O’Keefe got their point.


Balyna continued to dominate the early stages of the second half and with just six minutes remaining had built up a 5-2 to 1-2 advantage and all seemed lost for the Ennis side. True to the fighting spirit they have show all year the banner girls refused to give in and three goals in a minute from Aisling Cahill, Sinéad Quinn and Aoife Keane left the home side reeling. Another Sinéad Quinn goal a minute from time levelled affairs and in a frantic final minute Karen Roche converted a thirty metre free to win the game for the Clare representatives.


Great credit is due to the team for this stunning comeback. Many teams would have given up any chance of victory as this game entered its final minutes but not the remarkable young ladies in saffron and blue who gave it their all right up to the final whistle.


Banner Ladies 4 – 4 Newbridge Sarsfields 0 – 0

Venue: Newbridge Sarsfields GAA, Newbridge, Co. Kildare @ 9.30am Saturday July 4th


As both teams took to the field for this early morning game the discrepancy in the physical size of both teams was startling and one feared the worst for the much smaller Ennis girls. However any fears were soon dispelled when the Banner girls gave a scintillating display of fast fluid football that left their opponents grasping at thin air for most of the game.


Gone was the lethargy of Friday’s display as the Banner side got straight down to business and had an early point from Karen Roche before Aisling Cahill found the net. Further goals were to come from Cahill and Roche to give the Ennis side a 3-1 to 0-0 half time advantage.


Despite frantic efforts from the home side to mount a second half comeback the Banner girls continued to dominate and had points from Gráinne Nolan and Aoibheann Malone (2) before closing out the game completely with a second Karen Roche goal.


Banner Ladies 0 – 1 Mourneabbey (Cork) 1 – 7


Venue: Newbridge Sarsfields GAA, Newbridge @ 12.30pm, Saturday July 4th


Forget the final score. This was one of the best displays by any Banner Ladies side in any Feile game since the club first entered the championship over ten years ago. Faced by a team of nearly all fourteen year olds that included four current Cork inter-county players few people gave the Ennis side any hope in this game and many feared a heavy defeat.


Mourneabbey won the toss and elected to play with a then gale force wind in the first half. They immediately stormed into the attack but time and again they were repelled by a massively determined Banner defence for whom goalkeeper Orla Hennessy and full back Elaine Casey were outstanding.


Heading towards the break the Cork side were just 0-2 to 0-0 to the good when the Ennis side were dealt a cruel blow. Mourneabbey midfielder Doireann O’Sullivan clearly took a ball into her possession while on the ground and as the Banner backs hesitated momentarily anticipating a free their way O’Sullivan laid off the ball to her inrushing centre forward who dispatched it to the Ennis net. This was a cruel blow for the Banner team and on the resumption they launched an all out attack that ended in Karen Roche beating all only to see her great low shot shave the left hand upright and go narrowly wide. Cork won possession from the kickout and were again given a free in front of the Banner goals after Elaine Casey had brought off a wonderfully executed blockdown on her direct opponent. The resulting point left the interval score 1-3 to 0-0 in the Cork side’s favour.


Unfortunately for the Banner the squall that dominated the first half passed over and with it the significant wind advantage that would have helped in the second half. Mourneabbey got the first score of the half before Gráinne Nolan added the Banner’s point. The approach of the Cork side then began to take its toll and in succession the Banner lost centre back Doireann Hennessy and full back Elaine Casey through injury. Still the team battled on and refused to surrender. The Ennis side reduced the much vaunted Cork county captain Doireann O’Sullivan to being cautioned and switched to corner back as both she and her side became increasingly frustrated by the Banner’s tactic of crowding the mid-field area.


Eventually with the loss of their two central defenders and with a few other players shipping heavy knocks the Ennis side began to tire and Mourneabbey added three late points to put a completely lop sided look on the scoreboard. Though shattered and in tears following the game each player that pulled on the club jersey can be proud of her display in this game. Twelve of the starting fifteen in this game and both introduced substitutes will be eligible for Féile next year so the future is very bright for this group of players. The route to Féile 2010 in Derry is already being plotted and don’t be surprised if the Banner Ladies of Ennis feature significantly in the Oak Leaf county.


Banner Ladies 2009 Féile Panel: Orla Hennessy (Capt.), Emma Neylon, Elaine Casey, Emily Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh, Aine O’Shea, Orlaith Lynch, Aoife Keane (1-0), Doireann Hennessy, Sinéad O’Keeffe (0-1), Gráinne Nolan (0-3), Sinéad Quinn (2-0), Aoibheann Malone (0-2), Eva O’Dea, Aisling Cahill (4-1), Karen Roche (2-1), Maria Clune, Shauna O’Connor, Niamh O’Brien, Niamh Donnellan, Emily Tone, Eilish Counihan, Eve Copley, Teresa O’Keeffe, Andrea O’Keeffe, Laura Chesser, Eimear Rutherford, Jessica Donnellan, Megan Fitzgerald, Lorraine Whelan, Ellen McAuliffe, Rachel Coote, Amy McNamara.


Mentors: Dr. Paul McKenna, Alan Copley, Dr. Siobhán Hennessy, Kathleen O’Brien

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