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U13 Imokilly B Cup Final Castlemartyr 04 - 02. Bride Rovers 03 - 04

Castlelyons provided the venue for the culmination of this year's Imokilly u13 League. We faced Bride Rovers on Saturday morning last in what was expected to be a very evenly balanced game. We both had qualified for the B cup final having finished in the third tier of the league group games. As we were still in the middle of holiday season we had limited numbers but still managed to to field a team of 15 girls from our u12 and u13 squads. Spirits were high as this was their very first time playing in a final of any sort and they were delighted just to be able to compete. With warm ups done and team positions allocated they took to the field knowing that only full commitment to each other and hard work would do if they hoped to be successful. From the very first whistle they battled hard and took control of midfield. Lilly Hayes Nally and Aisling McCarthy showing their skills winning lots of 50/50 ball and delivering pin point passes in to our forwards. Center back Alannah Newlands with Grainne Steele and Meadhbh McCarthy on the wings soaked up a lot of pressure stopping a lot of attacks before they became a threat. What ever ball did pass was dealt with by our full back line of Ella Fleming, Alannah Murphy and our captain and full back Kate Butler. Leah Peddar Dugan was having a superb game between the posts pulling off some very impressive saves and clearing ball back out to our waiting players. We opened our account with a point from Aisling after a well worked series of passes. We threatened the opposition's goal a few times but our full forward line of Ruby McGrath, Lilly Foley and Roisin Kelly were well shepherded and unable to force the ball over the line. Our opening goal came from Aisling after a long range shot went in over the head of the goalkeeper. This gave our girls a great boost and it wasn't long before we had raised the green flag again with a more direct approach this time, again from Aisling who ran at the defence and picked her spot. As the first half was drawing to a close Bride Rovers were bearing down on goal. Breaking through our defence they drove a shot at goal, destined for the top corner of the net. Leah, with lightening reactions, deflected the sliotar over the bar as the short whistle blew to leave the half time score 02 -01 to 00 - 01 in our favour.

The girls, as were their mentors, we're delighted with how they had played and how hard they had worked. We knew that Bride Rovers would up the stakes in the second half and we would have to work even harder to counter their efforts. It didn't take long before we were proven right. They came at us with all guns blazing. We held firm for a while with Leah again being called on to make some fantastic saves. But their direct approach eventually paid off and they scored 2 goals and 2 points without reply to leave us training by 2 points half way through the second half. Although we were under the cosh our girls kept up their work rate and our half forwards Lucy Foley, Juliet Cahill and Anna Knowles linked up well with our midfielders. After a well engineered passage of play we raised the green flag once again. A superbly taken free by Aisling sailed over the bar to now leave us leading by 2 points. There were a few stoppages in the second half due to injuries on both sides and we were now over the normal time. Rovers converted a 45 and shortly afterwards were awarded a free well within their free takers range. She sent in a probing shot and as the ball dropped into the square it was deflected into the back of our net. Although heartbreaking, support on the sideline never waned and the girls were urged on. We were finding it difficult to break through their half back line but when Lucy and Aisling swapped positions it gave us a direct line to goal. Lucy wining breaking ball and Lilly linking up with Aisling gave us a renewed impetus. Rovers goalkeeper had to make a fine save to deny a blistering shot from Aisling. Form a puck out from Leah directly into Lilly's hand our final attack was launched. Lilly and Aisling, under the constant attention of the Rover's girls passed the ball between themselves up the pitch with a confidence you only see in players who love to play. There was only one thing on their minds and only one outcome would do. With great support play from our forwards the ball was driven over the line to our huge delight and relief. We still had work to do because credit to Bride Rover off they went again looking for their winning score. As the ball headed down the pitch again towards our goal we won a free on our 45m line. This was to be the last action of the game and the final whistle blew.

An unbelievable, hart stopping and pulsating game where either team could have been victorious. Never once did our girls give up or complain. They got on with the job at hand and worked tirelessly for each other. In the end their ambition, skill and determination were the deciding factors. Every one of the 15 girls on the day deserved the win. Their families, as our club is, should be hugely proud of them for the way they played and the spirit in which they played. Thanks to Ann-Marie for refereeing the game and to Castlelyons Camogie for hosting and for providing the much appreciated refreshments afterwards

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