Many congratulations to Celbridge U14 Ladies who deservedly won the Division 3 Championship at Hawkfield on Saturday 4th of June. A very focused and determined Celbridge team took to the pitch for the final with great support from the sidelines. Having won possession from the throw in Two Mile House got the first score of the final. Despite falling behind Celbridge soon began to show their quality with Caitlin Thomas dominant at centre-half back supported superbly by Eve Wallace, who never stopped running for the duration of the match and Ellen Thornton who was rock-solid throughout the game.
At midfield, Maria Keating and Niamh Mortell, who between them must have covered every blade of grass on the pitch, started to dictate play and create chances for Celbridge’s dangerous forward line. In the first quarter however Celbridge failed to translate possession into scores firing a number of wides. Two Mile House’s full back line were very strong throughout and made Celbridge’s forwards work for their scores all day.
Celbridge’s first score of the game came from a free by Maria and this was followed by a great point from Rachel O’Reilly who had a superb game and was at times practically unstoppable. Celbridge were now flying and following a sustained period of pressure Two Mile House conceded an own goal. Megan Quinn, who was a constant threat, then got Celbridge’s third point when she sped in from the left wing and accurately pointed. A point from distance from Niamh was then followed by an absolutely fantastic goal when Rachel soloed past three or four opponents before smashing the ball into the net off the bar. Megan then got her second point of the game following another fine run. Celbridge’s final score of the half came when full forward Ciara Gallagher, who was carrying an injury, turned her opponent and fired low into the corner of the goal to put Celbridge 3-5 to 0-2 up at half time. Celbridge’s defensive display in the first half was superb, with Aideen Stack turning in a true captain’s performance while Ciana O Sullivan and Claire Landers probably played their best games of the season. Meanwhile in goal Eva O Hara had a really fine game until she was injured in the second half and was replaced by Amy Hogan, who also played outfield in the final. Amy Hanlon and Erin Ruddy worked tirelessly during the half and contributed to Celbridge’s strong performance with their determination and skills.
Celbridge’s dominance of the game continued in the second half as they scored 2-3 without reply. Nikki O’Keefe got the first goal of the half pouncing on a loose ball to finish well and shortly after that a fifth goal arrived when Rachel caught an accurate kick pass from Maria and finished strongly. Maria, Ciara and Rachel then added further points to stretch Celbridge’s lead to 5-7 to 0-2. To their credit Two Mile House kept going and were rewarded when they scored 3 goals and point in a three minute spell. Celbridge however soon bounced back and fittingly got the final score of the game when Maria danced though the oppositions defence and fired into the net.
So congratulations to Celbridge, who having lost two previous finals were worthy winners on the day. This was a real team effort and throughout the game the Celbridge players displayed a really high level of skill, fitness and commitment. As always the players on the sideline were like a 16th man as they roared on the team from start to finish. The depth of the panel has been one of Celbridge’s key strengths all season and this was certainly a victory for every member of the squad. Special mention to the four mentors– Tommy Stack, Paul Lynch, Jason Adderley and Darren Gallagher, who have put a huge amount of time and work into building this excellent football team. It is worth mentioning that both sets of mentors and supporters while enthusiastically supporting their teams did so with the utmost respect for their opponents and this contributed to the sporting manner in which the game was played. The referee, Caroline Sexton ensured the flow of the game and explained her decisions to the teams which was much appreciated.
Commiserations to Two Mile House who never gave up. They are a young and a very skilful team who will surely go from strength to strength. However in the end Celbridge were too strong and were deserved winners having been the dominant team in this division all season. Well done ladies you are a credit to Kildare LGFA and to the club. Celbridge Abú !
Final Score: Celbridge (6-8) v Two Mile House (3-3)
Celbridge Scorers: Maria Keating (1-2); Megan Quinn (0-2); Rachel O’Reilly (2-2) Nikki O’Keefe (1-0); Ciara Gallagher (1-1); Niamh Mortell (0-1)