Back in late March our club was one of 12 teams from Cork to be chosen to take part in the Camán To Thurles 2016 event for u12 girls. It is an event held every year in Semple Stadium where 48 teams from all over Munster compete in a blitz adhering to Go Game rules. Originally it was to be held in April but had to be postponed due to poor weather so last Saturday the rescheduled event took place. With the bus loaded with players, coaches, parents and gear we headed off to the Premier County early Saturday morning with the girls in full voice and eagerly looking forward to day ahead. Thurles was basking in warm sunshine as we arrived and it was looking like it was going to be perfect weather for the day. Everybody enjoyed an al fresco lunch before the girls suited up and we all headed for the stadium. The pitch was a hive of activity as we entered with the teams from the earlier groupings playing out their matches. We settled ourselves in the stand overlooking the area where we would be playing and enjoyed the spectacle before us. Near neighbours, Aghada, were playing Inagh/Kilnamona from Clare and it gave our girls a flavour of what lay ahead. As the throw in time approached, Donal took the girls to one side for their final instructions and Judy and Art put the finishing touches to the team line up that would start the first of our three matches. With helmet on and hurley in hand the girls took to the hallowed turf to begin their warm up routine and it wasn't long before they were rearing to go.
Brian Borus from Tipperary provided our first opposition. The game began at a frantic pace with both sides competing feverishly to gain the upper hand. We suffered an injury early on with Kate Butler receiving a blow to the leg and she was replaced by Aisling Lewis. Fortunately Kate recovered quickly and was able to return to field of play a short time later. Meadhbh McCarthy was excellent in goals and her mammoth puck outs landed the ball right up with our forwards to give them a huge advantage in getting their scores. As with all the games, the duration was 17 minutes straight through without any half time. Subs were used throughout the game to keep up the intensity levels. The final whistle blew, hands were shook, congratulations exchanged and the girls returned to the dugout for a well deserved rest before their next encounter.
Next up was another team from Tipperary, Fethard. With a new starting line up the girls again took to the field and began as they had ended the first full of running with an very impressive work rate. The combination of forwards Ella Fleming, Juilet Cahill, Roisin Kelly, Chloe Lane and Leah Costigan worked fantastically well together and wasn't long before their efforts were rewarded. Defenders Lucy Foley, Muireann Coughlan and Ruby McGrath had a difficult task keeping the very skilful opponents at bay but they did a magnificent job and with the help of Milly Bowles, Leah Pedder Duggan and Alannah Newlands working hard, the team as whole proved a formidable force.
Our third and final game began only minutes after our second one ended. So with just enough time to get some well needed water on board and the final team line up to be read out off they went again into battle. This time we faced Banner, from where else but Co. Clare. Chloe O'Dwyer took up position between the posts and was well protected by ever dependable Caoimhe Murphy at full back who gave an exemplary display of coolness under pressure. Ably assisted by Monika Jurciukonyte, Gráinne Steele, Aishling Lewis and Kate Butler they repelled any advancing threat. Millie Bowles, Lucy Foley and Muireann Coughlan again did great work in mid field and set up multiple attacks. And with more great attacking play from Chloe Lane and Ruby McGrath we finished the trio of contests in the strongest way possible.
As the girls left the pitch for the final time the pride and elation felt by the coaches, mentors and spectators who were lucky enough to be there was immeasurable. The way the girls played, not only their skill level, but the spirt in which they played and how they conducted themselves on and off the pitch was a credit to their parents and the club. With souvenir t-shirts bought, boots, helmets and hurleys discarded it was back on the bus with a scramble for the much sought after back seat. After a well deserved detour to McDonalds where every puck of the ball was relived it was a straight run home. A tired bunch of girls were greeted by delighted parents and whisked off home for a much needed rest. Well done to all the girls,to Donal, Judy and Art and also a special mention to Niamh Molloy who carried out refereeing duties for us.
Full squad. Alannah Murphy, Alannah Newlands, Caoimhe Murphy, Chloe O'Dwyer, Ciara O'Dwyer, Ella Fleming, Juilet Cahill, Kate Butler, Leah Pedder Duggan, Lucy Foley, Meadhbh McCarthy, Monika Jurciukonyte, Roisin Kelly, Yvonne Abernethy, Gráinne Steele, Aishling Lewis, Leah Costigan, Chloe Lane, Muireann Coughlan, Millie Bowles & Ruby McGrath.