U14A Championship final victory plus reports from Feilé

    • 2009 U-14 A Championship County Final

Friday July 10th 2009

Castleconnor 2-14

St. Mary’s 1-15

The under 14 team defeated St. Mary’s on Friday evening last in the A Championship final in an enthralling encounter at Markievicz Park. These two sides have clashed three times this year, all in county finals. In February, Castleconnor defeated St. Mary’s in the County Feile final 2-10 to 2-9 at the same venue.

The north division side got one back on us in the A League final some weeks back by ten points, despite leading by two at the interval. Since then, it has been nothing but hard work and effort from both management and team players. After a fantastic weekend at Feile peil na nÓg, the team were focused on the Championship final, and the Feile definitely stood to this group of players.

Referee Enda Mullaney got proceedings under way at 8.15pm and Cian Barrins got Castleconnor off the mark after fine work from Stephen Curley and Matthew Cullen who bagged 2-6 and 0-3 respectively. Trailing 0-6 to 0-3, Matthew Cullen got our side going again on 13 minutes after a Damien Barrett pass and 4 unanswered points from Stephen Curley had the crowd on their feet.

Kevin McDonnell was having the game of his life at midfield, catching clean ball in mid air while Shane Wright worked well along side him and the hardworking James Flynn did also. Leading by a point with 3 minutes left to the interval, Curley went on an unstoppable surging run and blasted to the St. Mary’s net. Our rearguard were superb for the last few minutes of the opening period, with Mary’s not registering another score after the 17th minute. An excellent catch on the kickout by Ciaran Kilcullen resulted in another score, followed by a 13 metre free from Curley after an excellent pass from Conor Gallagher. Castleconnor headed to the dressing rooms at half time been 1-9 to 0-6 the better.

If you thought this game was over at half time, well you were wrong.

Three minutes into the second period a high ball into our danger area ended up in the back of our net. St. Mary’s got a great confidence boost at this point and on the kickout they won possession and popped a point straight between the sticks.

We didn’t panic however, and the fantastic exhibition of fielding from McDonnell gave every one at Markievicz park something to talk about as this County A Championship final opened up to be a real thrill-a-minute epic.

The half back line of Eoin Kent, Conor Judge and Gallagher were a real help in support play for the midfield and both wing backs were carrying the ball up the wings and delivering quality ball. Kevin McDonnell inspired the side with two fantastic points, one from the left sideline approximately 30 metres out. This left the score at 1-11 to 1-7 in our favour.

It was end to end for a few minutes now, but St. Mary’s made use of their part of the possession scoring four unanswered points leaving the sides at 1-11 apiece.

After 22 minutes in the second half, we trailed 1-14 to 1-12 but the words of encouragement from the line and the crowd of supporters rallied behind the team and the lads new it wasn’t over until the final whistle. One or two high balls were floating in around our goal mouth but Arthur Beardshaw was on alert and kept busy, and was supported by the corner backs Keith Foody, Liam Naughton and full back Jason Earlis.

On 24 minutes in the second half of this epic encounter a thunderous roar from our supporters nearly brought Markievicz park down as Stephen Curley rattled the Mary’s net for the second time after another expeditious run from the right hand side. The score at this stage read Castleconnor 2-12 St Mary’s 1-14. Matthew Cullen and McDonnell added two more points on 29 and 30 minutes respectively, as St. Mary’s notched up another point on the board to leave the final score at 2-14 to 1-15 in Castleconnor’s favour in this A Championship final – another cup was coming back west!

Scenes of delight were to be seen after the final whistle, as all this year’s hard work had paid off. Peter McHugh, Chairman of Coiste na nÓg Shligigh presented Kevin McDonnell with the Cup. Well done to the team and management of Michael Langan, Jim Kent, Frank Barrett & Barnes Kelly for their time and effort into this team.

We would also like to thank Kevin Finan (Finan Formwork LLC) for sponsoring the team with their fantastic new kit, and also to PJ Judge, Judges Honda for the tracksuit and gearbags. Thanks to all parents, supporters and club officials for coming out in fantastic numbers all year. After the game the large calvacade of cars headed for Mahony’s where refreshments were served for all.

Team on duty was: Arthur Beardshaw, Keith Foody, Jason Earlis, Liam Naughton, Conor Gallagher, Conor Judge, Eoin Kent, Kevin McDonnell, Shane Wright, James Flynn, Stephen Curley, Ciaran Kilcullen, Cian Barrins, Matthew Cullen, Damien Barrett. Subs: David McGinty, Sean Carrabine, Lewis Beardshaw, Enda Kilcullen, Stephen Durkan.

    • 22nd February 2009:

    • County Feile Final: Castleconnor 2-10 St. Mary's 2-09

    • Castleconnor created history on Sunday afternoon in Markievicz Park when they won there first ever Feile final. The conditions were close to perfect with a breeze towards the Colloney end. St. Marys had the advantage of this in the first half but it was our boys who were on the mark straight from the throw in when Matthew Cullen had the first score of the game. St.Marys responded with 3 points in a three minutes spell but Stephen Curley responded to put the minimum between the teams after being put through by Matthew Cullen after 13 minutes.

    • Yet again Marys put 3 points on the board by the 25th minute but the last five minutes proved to be a golden time for our lads with a point from Kieran Kilcullen after a pass from Stephen Curley, who then put through Kevin McDonnell for another point. We were dominant at theis time and had a wide right afterwards. When Marys broke out it was intercepted by the half back line and three kick passes later Mathew Cullens deft sidefoot flick put Kieran Kilcullen in for the games first goal that left us leading on a scoreline of 1-4 v 0-6 at the break.

    • The second half was twon minutes old when Marys equalised but two points, one apiece from Stephen Curley and Matthew Cullen restored the lead. At this stage the game was a real ding-dong battle where everyone was putting their shoulders to the wheel. Marys again scored a point and then we hit three points between the 42nd and 44th minute coming from Kevin McDonnell and two from Stephen Curley, his first one after a fine catch. Marys then had their own hot spell when they scored 1-1 to equalise in the 47th minute.

    • Matthew Cullen steadied the ship and restore our one point advantage with a point from play after being put through by Curley in the 50th minute. Then seemingly disaster when in the 53rd minute a long range free from Marys found it’s way to the net after a mixup in the defence. The lads did not panic though and showed their inner strength when they worked it up the field for the decisive score. Kieran Kilcullen went very close after a great catch and the Marys goal survived one or two more chances but eventually in the 57th minute a string of passes ended with Kevin McDonnell putting Stephen Curley through where he slid the ball into the corner.

    • The big travelling support went crazy but they were put to the pin of their collars in the last three minutes plus two minutes of injury time but when Kevin McDonnell cleared the ball with the last klck of the game, the scenes of unrestrained joy told you the historic significance of what this group of players and management had achieved, we were county champions for 2009 on a final score of 2-10 v 2-9.

    • All players played their part . Arthur in goals was outstanding and his save in the last minute will be remembered. Keith Foody was as steady as always with Liam Naughton doing his job in his usual quiet and efficient manner. Eoin Kent would be close to man of the match especially when he moved out to the wing. Jason Earlis and Cian Barrins showed their pace on a number of occasions with Conor Judge controlling the centre. In the middle little and large Shane Wright and Kevin McDonnell provided a great link to the forwards from defence and did their bit in defence also. Conor Gallagher showed great tenacity whilst Stephen Curley and Matthew Cullen were the twin threat in the forwards every team loves to have. The inside line did their bit with Damian Barrett showing all the time and James Flynn a constant threat from kickouts whilst Kieran Kilcullens ability to catch high ball and convert was of the highest order. Sean Carrabine entered the fray and alongside the other youthful subs of Lewis Beardshaw and Enda Kilcullen played a significant part in bringing the team to the final when both Kevin and Matthew were out injured before the Christmas break.

    • Of course the management team of Jim Kent, Frank Barrett and Declan Flynn work can not be under-estimated. The number of sessions that took place under floodlights since the holidays was amazing along with the background preparations was superb. It must have been a strange day for Jim in particular in a county final against his old club who he won numerous county titles with. The club would also acknowledge the work put in by Michael Langan, Barnes Kelly and Barry Judge at u12 level. Thanks to the big number of supporters who not only attended the final but all games.

    • Definitely February 22th 2009 will go down as one of the biggest days in the clubs history

    • 2009 Feile Peile na nÓg Chill Dara:

        • The Castleconnor under 14 boy’s team proudly represented Sligo at Feile Peile na nÓg 2009 in Kildare at the weekend. On Friday morning the team and management left from the Church grounds by Bus to Kildare. A good crowd gathered to see the team off on their journey.

        • It was great to see the parish well decorated in red and white and it gave a great sense of feeling to all. Later, the parents, supporters and club officials travelled up to watch the team’s first game that afternoon.

        • The team arrived at the fantastic GAA grounds in Celbridge at 12.15 approx and were greeted by Celbridge club officials. The team were welcomed and briefed on the day’s events, and tea and biscuits were served for all. The sun was shining in the sky for the day and the supporters gathered for our first game against Celbridge at 2.45pm.

        • The team looked brilliant warming up in their new jerseys kindly sponsored by Kevin Finan (Finan Formwork LLC). The first half of this game was keenly contested by both sides and it took our lads an extra while to settle. The team trailed 0-5 to 0-4 at the interval. In the second half our rearguard tightened up and only a point was conceded for the second period.

        • From the throw in Castleconnor were on top and a classy display from Stephen Curley was causing headaches for the Celbridge defence. A surging run from Curley resulted in a Matthew Cullen goal, later followed by a cracker from James Flynn. At midfield Kevin McDonnell was catching clean ball in mid air while Shane Wright was gathering breaks and delivering quality ball. Ciaran Kilcullen when pushed in posed a threat to the Celbridge full back line. Jason Earlis and Keith Foody linked up and helped eachother out well throughout as did the hard working Conor Judge. We finished this game strongly with a fine score from Cian Barrins.

        • Final Score Castleconnor 2-8 Celbridge 0-6.

        • After the match the teams left Celbridge with their host families for dinner, as the majority of the travelling contingent went and checked in at the Westgrove Hotel in Clane. Later in the evening the parade took place in Newbridge starting in St. Conleth’s park. The lads looked very well in their new tracksuits, sponsored by PJ Judge (Judges Honda) as they paraded through Newbridge. After the parade had taken place it was time for the lads to head home with their host family for the night.

        • It was an early start for everyone on Saturday morning as Castleconnor travelled to Kilcullen for a 9.30am start. This venue was also second to none and the facilities and services provided were much appreciated by all.

        • This second round encounter was versus the home side Kilcullen. In wet and slippery conditions Kilcullen got off to the better start and had 3-1 on the scoreboard after 11 minutes to our two points. A few scores before the break got the lads going and an excellent second half performance seen the team progress. In defence Eoin Kent and Conor Gallagher excelled as Liam Naughton was kept busy collecting broken ball and working it out well.

        • Keith Foody and Earlis were on the ball as the defence kept the opposition scoreless for the second half. The nippy Sean Carrabine was winning low ball and laying the resultants off to our influential players such as Curley, Cullen and McDonnell as Damien Barrett who was introduced for the second period did also.

        • Final Score was Castleconnor 0-14 Kilcullen 3-1.

        • We were delighted to have Cyril Feehily there with us as part of our big crowd of supporters.

        • After this match a much welcomed cup of tea and sandwiches was served for teams and supporters. At 11.30am Stephen Curley was our representative in the skills competition. Our final game of the competition was at 12.30pm against Coralstown/Kinnegad from Westmeath. The winner of this game would subsequently go through to the semi final as ourselves and our Westmeath counterparts had won all of our group games so far.

        • The day’s weather conditions helped nobody but it was the same for everyone else.

        • The team were out on the pitch again for a 12.30pm start, this time in their Jacob Truck jerseys. The team got off to a bad start and found themselves in similar circumstances from the previous game at half time. In the second half the contest between both sides never faded away and the reflection on the scoreboard did not do any justice. Castleconnor never gave up showing determination and endeavour throughout but whatever the team tried, it just didn’t seem to go right.

        • Final score was 4-4 to 0-2.

        • After the game the supporters from both sides cheered on both teams for great performances in the group stages as they headed for the dressing rooms. The weekend’s football had now finished and everyone was proud of the display that the team put on for the weekend. The lads headed back to their host homes before returning to Celbridge GAA Clubhouse again that evening.

        • All the parents, supporters and club officials gathered and met the team and management and a barbeque took place outside. Later a disco was held in the Main hall for the Feile teams and the adults made their way to the Clubhouse by our brilliant bus driver Ray. A great night was had by both the players and the travelling support.

        • The Clubhouse was packed and our very own Darren Ruane was the lucky winner of two tickets to the Leinster Football Final.

        • On behalf of the club, John Judge presented Celbridge GAA with a token of our appreciation and their Club Chairman Willie Homles presented our Club with a fabulous piece of crystal.

        • The club would like to thank Celbridge GAA Club and host families for their hospitality during the weekend. The club highly compliments Frank Barrett and Jim Kent along with club chairman Declan Flynn for their time and effort put into this under 14 team. Any of them will tell you it’s a joy working with such a team – and any of the team players will tell you how good the management have been!

        • We also acknowledge the work of Michael Langan and Barnes Kelly with the team this year.

        • Also a word of thanks to our Club secretary Anthony Reape who put so much work into this great weekend. We thank Coiste na nÓg Shligigh and the County Board who extended good wishes to us, and kept in touch as the weekend went on.

        • We also thank Mullaney’s Buses and Ray for their great service. On behalf of the team management and players, the Club thanks all the parents and supporters – many of whom didn’t have a son playing for travelling to Feile. It goes to show that our Club is going onwards and upwards, and no better place to start than at underage level. This group of lads are a credit to themselves and their families, which was pointed out by many Celbridge officials who thought that we had a lovely group of well disciplined and mannerly young men.

        • It was definitely one of the biggest events in the club’s history and one that will never be forgotten.

        • 2009 Castleconnor U-14 Panel:

        • Arthur Beardshaw, David McGinty, Liam Naughton, Eoin Kent, Keith Foody, Conor Gallagher, Jason Earlis, Conor Judge, Kevin McDonnell, James Flynn, Stephen Curley, Shane Wright, Matthew Cullen, Ciaran Kilcullen, Cian Barrins, Damien Barrett, Lewis Beardshaw, Enda Kilcullen, Sean Carrabine, Stephen Durkan.

        • July 10th 2009:

        • U-14 A Championship Final

        • Castleconnor 2-14

        • St. Mary's 1-15