Congratulations to N Bríd, Div 2 winners of Camogie Féile
See below for account of a great weekend
May Bank Holiday weekend finally saw the arrival of the Camogie Féile 2022 for the Na Bríd U15 camogie panel. There was a great sense of anticipation, excitement, and nervous energy throughout the panel of 37 girls. This along with the pride and support beaming from their parents made for a marvellous atmosphere. The weather may have been damp and cold, but the spirits were high. The panel was split across two teams and locations, Division 2 in Na Mearnóg and Division 5 in Ballyboden but this was very much one joint effort by all the girls. The girls made the decision themselves earlier this year to keep the full panel as one unit. This showed a great display of inclusion, leadership, and courage. Little did they know this would stand to them in what they would achieve and the memories they would make together.
Saturday – Division 2 Venue Na Mearnóg
The division 2 team arrived to Na Mearnóg at 9am. The welcome and organisation of the hosts was exceptional from the unbelievable spread of food and treats put on, to the minor details of dressing rooms – they went above and beyond. On top of this the Na Bríd Feile committee kicked into action…!! Headquarters was set up also known as ‘Naomi’s Marquee’ all decorated in our red and white club colours. Catherine Duignan had been up early making sausage breakfast rolls for us all while also being the ‘flag lady’ and Edel Littleton brought enough sandwiches to feed all of Dublin. Karyn Williams had refreshments for all the girls and were provided throughout the day. Marie Duffy our photographer kicked into action to ensure she captured every memory for the girls. But best of all the girls had their secret weapon – their supporters. By far the most vocal side-line over the weekend. The encouragement and positive energy they created was unbelievable. What would normally be considered “unforgivable” from embarrassing parents, became really appreciated by the girls. They grew in confidence as they got the cheers, pats on the back and once considered embarrassing hugs. The supporters also helped throughout the whole weekend which led to a great sense of inclusion.
The girls wore their colours with pride during the parade as the sense of occasion grew. Our Div 2’s first match was up against our friendly foe Na Fianna. The nervous energy in the dressing room was palpable. The girls didn’t need to be told; they had put the hard work in – it was now time to deliver. They ran through the game plan one last time. They all drew inspiration from each other, and you could visually see the bond they have created as a team. It was clear from the warm-up on the pitch the girls were truly up for this match. They started like a greyhound out of the traps with a quick goal in the 1st minute from Faye Maguire and they never let up for the full match. From start to finish it was a real team effort…!! The sense of relief was all over the girl’s faces. But it was also clear they had been on losing side of these matches in the past as they turned straight away to Na Fianna to say, “Well done and best of luck for the rest of the day”. This is what sport is all about – we should be so proud of them.
The next match was against our neighbours St Oliver Plunkett’s and it was extremely competitive, but the girls stuck to the task and came out on top. We then faced Raheny but we knew we had done the hard work and were through to the semi-finals. During the warm-up they could be heard singing “Jog along little Donkey” to the coaches dismay. But they managed to focus again just in time, and they also departed some words of wisdom to their coach as well. “Stop stressing so much – you’re freaking us out……!!”. But once again we won this match – All three matches won – we were straight to the semis.
During lunch they got time to “Chillax” and enjoy some down time. This is when the hospitality of Nh Mearnóg and the efforts of our Feile committee really kicked in. Throughout the morning the girls wanted to know how the other team was doing in Ballyboden. It was the first question at the end of each game. The semi-final was delayed due to a play off in the other group, but the girls managed to stay focused. They knew they had a tough match ahead and their legs were starting to get sore. They spent longer stretching and warming up. We found out we were playing St Judes in the semi-final, and we got off to a flying start. They encouraged and roared each other on. Once again it was a competitive match with both teams leaving nothing behind. The girls got the upper hand and never let it go. When the final whistle went the sense of joy and relief was unbelievable. It was hugs and high fives all over the pitch and on the side-line too. Yet again the girls knew a team had just lost a match and on top of wishing them well, Catherine Reilly (team captain) went over and let her opponents know they put in a tremendous performance, and they should be so proud of what they had achieved.
We were off to the Finals where we would be facing Commercials, so we knew we had a battle ahead. The coaches told the girls how proud they were of them but to get home, get fed, hot bath and rest, as it was onwards and upwards to a final the next day.
Division 5 Venue Ballyboden
The division 5 team arrived in Ballyboden brimming with excitement and anticipation. When we landed Southside the weather was similar to Na Mearnóg, but yet again the spirits were high. We were allocated our dressing room and the girls gathered as parents arrived to establish a base camp over by the Feile pitches. Making a reappearance was Rufus the bear, fully kitted out in the famous Red and White of Nh Brid and he looked at home in his matching Red and White festooned gazebo. The girls got into the spirit of Feile and soon had the music rocking in the disco (aka dressing room…!!).
We owe a debt of gratitude to our U-13 camogie girls, who have formed part of the panel throughout the year, once again stepped up for Feile. It was a different style of music as the Piper arrived to lead the teams on the pre-match parade, and our girls looked the part, fully kitted out as they carried their hurls and waved their red and white flags alongside their divisional opponents. Even the “shame” evident as they heard their mentors “trying” to sing Amhrán na BhFiann was quickly forgotten.
First match was against BBSE. With the strength of their opponents it was a very tough battle, however battle the girls did and when Leah Curtin stepped up bravely to hammer home a hard won penalty for our first goal of the tournament, we were up and running, even though this first match was well beyond our grasp another point left us feeling better. A special mention to Kate Bruen who fell victim of a wild swing early on and had to come off for a period to recover, but she was bravely back on the pitch soon after. Éabha Keeling in goals got a special mention from the BBSE coach after, for her bravery between the posts. Captain Eva Philips speech encouraged the girls after the match, as the girls came to realise that a place in the semi-finals remained within reach.
We received a bye for the next match so the girls had some time to recover, relax and re-energise. Firstly, this involved tucking into the pre-prepared refreshments provided by the Feile committee. We also availed of the fantastic hospitality provided by BBSE, along with the warm welcome, we were given all the food you could want – it would have been rude not to..!! Leah produced some card tricks and magic to keep us entertained, while the energy levels were raised further in the disco led by Nancy & Orlaith to get the girls moving again and in full swing.
Time for the warmup for the crunch match of the day. With BBSE also having beaten our next opponents Setanta, it was a ‘winner takes all’ encounter. A lot of positional changes and tactical moves for this one, and the match got underway. More support had arrived for Nh Brid and side-line got into full swing, roaring the girls on. Setanta started strongly and put Nh Brid under severe pressure, but the defence battled bravely to restrict the lead from 0-2 to 0-0 at half time. Elizabeth McCabe set the example as the backs bravely battled to keep Setanta at bay, she took a bad knock and had to come off – it takes a lot to get Elizabeth to leave a pitch, so it was a heavy blow indeed.
Even with the loss of Elizabeth, you could sense the tide was turning as the other girls stepped up. Setanta’s attacks were less frequent, and the tide was beginning to turn but where would the scores come from? We knew the girls had more still to give, so a few home truths and passionate words of encouragement from Nancy at half time and the girls efforts were raised to a new level.
Grace McLoughlin was protecting Éabha Keeling, Gillian Creedon was getting in blocks and clearances and Eimear Maloney was now protecting the defence also. Kate Bruen & Beatrix Dolan were battling and harassing and Allanah Keane was always on the move, working hard and with skill, you could feel the momentum shifting, though would the scores we desperately needed come ???
Eva Philips and Caoimhe Brady in midfield were gaining more and more possession and the forwards were buzzing around. Katie “H” had come alive and we were looking more dangerous as Aisling Feeney and Allie Tuthill were winning ball and getting it into the full forward line.
And so it was that the siege of Ballyboden’s pitch 2 began as our girls threw everything at their opponents in a bid to bridge that 2 point gap. A free-in and Leah Curtin stepped up to calmly stroke it over. The gap was one, but try as they might the girls could not get that sliothar across the line until eventually Maeve Delappe duly delivered, bravely emerging from a crowd to get the sliotar in the back of the net, with the assistance of converted back Neasa Warren and the other forwards..!! The roar of joy and relief from the Nh Brid supporters could have been heard back in Russell Park.
Suddenly we were two ahead, but Setanta weren’t finished yet as they battled for their semi-final place. The girls bravely repelled the Senanta come back and when Leah Curtin drove the sliotar into the back of the net once again, suddenly we had breathing space!!!! A 5 point lead and there was only time for the puck out. The elated scenes as the ref blew the final whistle were a joy to behold. To hear the supporter’s appreciation for the girl’s efforts was fantastic.
The girls had achieved their objective, against the odds and through a proud team performance, they had qualified for their Feile semi-final and emulated their Division 2 teammates whom they had been so happy for throughout the day. And so it was back to the dressing room for a breather before the semi-final with Na Fianna. Word had travelled about the girl’s fine achievement and the support had swelled.
Na Fianna were another very strong team, and despite a valiant resistance in the first half in particular, Nh Brid’s earlier exertions, injuries and smaller panel worked against us and it wasn’t to be as Na Fianna pulled away to reach the final.
Our hosts in Ballyboden were fantastic. The welcome and complete setup for the day was a real credit to them. The mentors, helpers and parents all supported the team and it really added to the occasion. The weather stayed damp all day but the spirits remained high. The “Disco” generated a lovely atmosphere and the girls enjoyed the crack. But most importantly the team grew and bonded throughout the day and this in turn helped their confidence. The girls reached their potential as a team and that’s all you can ask of them. The girls went home happy and tired, but with a lot of great memories. Plans were made for Sunday, as they were part of the U15 panel representing Na Bríd at the Finals. Their support would be needed to get the job done….!!
Division 2 Final Day Venue Trinity Sports Ground Santry
The final was in the Trinity sports ground in Santry. We had our full panel of 37 girls present. 17 in the stands roaring the other 20 on – this was a combined panel effort…!! The red and white of Na Bríd was worn with pride. The scene in the dressing room before the match was inspirational. The sense of anticipation and excitement from the previous day was replayed with belief, determination, and steadfastness. In their minds they were winning this match and they were going to do whatever it took to do it. They listened carefully to the coaches as they spelt out the game plan. But then they took the floor. Once again Catherine gave the speech of a true leader. Then one by one the girls stepped up and departed their words of wisdoms to drive the team on. Every point was 100% on the mark – they clearly didn’t need the coaches at this point. They knew it was on them to do the job. If their parents could have seen the desire and drive coming out of the girls in that room, it would bring a tear to their eyes. We knew then it would take something special to beat them.
They got a great reception when they went onto the playing field – the supporters were doing their job…!! They went out with a clear plan – start fast and hard, stop the opposition midfielders and half forward getting a hold on the game and remove the risk. In the first half it was working. They limited the scores they conceded, and they managed to build up a healthy lead. Every player understood what was required of them and gave every last drop of effort that they had. While some players were busy marking players out of the game, others were constantly driving the ball forward and importantly getting scores.
At half time the hunger was clear from the girls. The roars from them were “The jobs not done” – “it’s still all level” (even though they were well on top…!!) – “second half is a new game – drive it on” – “don’t sit back”. Second half started as the first half ended. The girls continued with the same level of drive. 10 minutes in the opposition hit a purple patch – 2 quick goals were conceded. The side-line and supporters started to panic – the girls on the pitch didn’t. It’s as if they knew what to do automatically. Then corner forward (Sarah Duffy) did something that summed up the effort of the whole team and their training for Feile. She jabbed lifted the sliotar, stepped one way then the other, drove past her player and drove it over the bar. This was a true team performance.!!
Eventually the final whistle went – THEY DID IT – FEILE CHAMPIONS….!!!!! The celebrations on the pitch and in the stands was amazing. The girls had their moment but once again paid the respect the opposition deserved. Catherine collected the cup and Mae Duignan was named the player of the match and it was time for MORE celebrations. They travelled in convoy back to the club and made sure the whole of Castleknock knew something had happened…!! They received a brilliant greeting back in the club.
This was a massive achievement for the girls and the club. They managed to get to 1 semi-final for Div 5 in Ballyboden and win a final for Div 2. This was done as one panel of 37 girls. The panel was also supported by the U13 & U14 teams who were amazing and were critical to everything the girls achieved. The effort and commitment and more so the spirit each girl showed over the 2 days was a credit to themselves, their mentors, their parents, and the club. These girls have created memories that will live long in their minds and those of their parents, supporters, and the club.
Take a bow our Feile 2022 Camogie Panel
• Faye Maguire
• Leah Curtin