The Kingdom are crowned U14 All Ireland Champions

The Kingdom are crowned U14 All Ireland Champions

Kerry 7-11
Galway 4-05

The title of Kerry’s first All Ireland Ladies winners of the new Millennium has a nice ring to it. The honour of achieving this feat went to the wonderful Kerry girls u14 side who had an impressive 15-point victory over Galway in Caughaun on Thursday night last. Kerry were seeking revenge against a Galway side who had put paid to their ambitions in last season’s All Ireland semi-final. They made no mistakes on this occasion however in a super display of passion and skill in front of a large and vocal band of Kerry supporters. A number of buses left all corners of Kerry on Thursday evening and a crowd of close on 1,000 people managed to add to what was a memorable occasion in the history of Kerry ladies football.

The final margin of victory may have totalled 15 points in favour of the girls of the Kingdom but this score did not reflect the true quality of a gritty and determined Galway team. Kerry were well served in every area of the pitch. Michelle O’Connor once again pulled of a couple eye catching saves, the West Kerry girls of O’Sullivan, De Hora and Murphy all did well in defence while McNulty and Guiney were solid down the centre. Sarah Kelly was dominant throughout and even managed to venture forward to score appoint. Marie Quirke and Nicole O’Connor were superb in midfield. Young O’Connor was a revelation and at 12 years of age has a bright future in the game while Quirke ran herself ragged kicking four great points in the process. The forward line all worked hard for possession but the real trump cards were Megan O’Connell who moved to full forward early in the game, captain Amy Fitzgerald, and Claire O’Sullivan. Megan O’Connell, in a performance reminiscent of the great Kieran Donaghy, scored 4-2 from full forward, Captain Amy added 2-2 from play while Claire O’Sullivan dropped back in the second half to man mark the dangerous Roisin Leonard. Eilish Lynch set up a number of key scores while Barbara Browne and Meghan Buckley did a lot of the often-unseen hard work of creating space for the other forwards to exploit.

Kerry played into the swirling breeze in the first half and got off to the perfect start when Amy Fitzgerald ghosted past the Galway defence to score her side’s first goal. Galway however had their own star player in the shape of Roisin Leonard and

replied almost immediately with a couple of goals form the sharp shooter. Kerry were back on terms again in the 12th minute when Amy Fitzgerald netted for a second time. Goals were the order of the day and it was Kerry who managed to add another three to Galway’s one before the first half was over. The Kerry selectors pulled off a tactical masterstroke when they switched Nicole O’Connor to midfield and Megan O’Connell to full forward. Both players excelled in the game from that moment on. O’Connell grabbed her first goal in the 13th minute, this was followed by a Claire O’Sullivan goal straight from a free, and a couple of good points from Amy Fitzgerald and another from O’Connell. Galway stayed in the game mainly through the brilliance of Leonard who added another 1-1 before half time. Kerry however had the final say of the half as full forward O’Connell was on hand once more to clip the ball past the Galway keeper. Kerry led at the interval by 5-5 to 3-3.

The third quarter was tension fraught as Kerry failed to avail of a number of chances. Galway closed the gap to five points when their substitute Orla Dixon finished a mazy run with superb goal in the 48th minute. The unthinkable was on the cards as it appeared that Galway were about to stage an audacious comeback. Kerry however managed to defend superbly with Marie Quirke driving out of defence, and Amy Fitzgerald dropping back to assist her colleagues. Sarah Kelly lifted the siege with ten minutes to go when she ventured forward to shoot over a very good point.

Megan O’Connell then produced a double blow for Galway when she added to her goal tally in the 51st and 52nd minutes. Michelle O’Connor meanwhile pulled off a couple of amazing saves at the other end of the pitch.

Kerry had weathered the storm and broken Galway’s resistance and added a couple of late points to further their margin of victory. The title was theirs, their first title in nine long years. Kerry Ladies football was back where it belonged thanks to a gallant and wonderful group of young footballers. If this group of girls allied to last year’s Munster u14 winners stick together then there promises to be many more years of glory ahead for Kerry Ladies football.

Well done to Eileen Jones of Tyrone in her handling of the game and letting the game flow.



Kerry: Michelle O’Connor (Kenmare), Kate O’Sullivan (Corca Dhuibnhe), Sorcha McNulty (Listowel), Niamh De Hora (Corca Dhuibhne), Sarah Kelly (Southern Gaels) (0-1), Sinead Guiney (Desmonds), Ciara Murphy (Corca Dhuibhne), Megan O’Connell (Southern Gaels) (4-2), Maria Quirke (Na Gaeil) (0-4, 2f), Meghan Buckley (Dr Crokes), Claire O’Sullivan (Kenmare) (1-0, 1f), Amy Fitzgerald (Southern Gaels) (2-2), Eilish Lynch (Demonds), Nicole O’Connor (Ballyduff), Barbara Browne (Brosna) (0-1)

Subs: Leanne Mangan (Desmonds) for De Hora, Sabrina Sheehan (Glenbeigh) for O’Connor (Blood Sub), Alice Neville (Listowel) for Buckley, Johanna O’Callaghan (Laune Rangers) for Murphy


Galway: Lucy Greene, Nicola Ward, Georgina Healy, Sadbh Moyles, Brona Murphy, Claire Gibbons, Aoife Fogarty, Kate Cullen, Cliona Kerrigan, Danielle Forde, Fiona O’Connor (0-1), Sile Ni Shuileabhain, Ailish O’Reilly, Roisin Leonard (3-4, 2f), Louise Ward, Subs: Orla Dixon (1-0) for Ni Shuillebhain, Shaunagh Jackson for Forde, Emma Naughton for O’Connor, Danielle Carroll for Moyles


Referee: Eileen Jones (Tyrone)


Sylvester Hennesy

Paddy White


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