Castleknock Troika lead the Feile 2013 Circus to town

It’s that time of year again when the Feile circus rolls into town. Over the next 4 weeks we’ll be inundated with all things Feile…feile fundraisers, feile tops, feile teams, feile matches, feile taxes (only joking about the feile tax…although we should keep Feile below the Government radar just in case they start taxing that too!) and most importantly Feile players. Ladies Football is the first of the Feile’s followed by Camogie in 2 weeks, followed by boys football a week later and boys hurling two weeks after that again.

Among all the hulabaloo clubs can sometimes lose sight of the important things like the spirit of Feile and players participation. Luckily for Castleknock we had three wise sensible heads leading the good ship Feile. The Castleknock troika of Mags Heelan, Jimmy Martin and Brendan Phelan took over the ’99 girls football team last year when Jean Carr stepped down and sensibly adopted a low key approach to Feile.

Before we go any further just a few words about the troika…

Mags Heelan
What more can be said about Mags? Already a living legend of Castleknock GAA, Mags is full of good humour and has an understated nature which sits really well with the girls. She also has oodles of experience having been Ladies Chairperson for years and coached many teams down through the years. She also makes the best chicken soup in Dublin that warmed many of the Castleknock faithful in the rain last Saturday, she also provided scones, tea and coffee and sambos for the girls. Rumours that Mags is the first prize in next week’s lotto have been denied although if she was I’d definitely buy a ticket!

Jimmy Martin
Another experienced club stalwart who coached a Castleknock club team back in 1952 with Johnny Corcoran. Jimmy then thought he had retired to the golf course until Mags gave him the call last year. Apparently Jimmy’s handicap has doubled recently because he has missed so much golf since coaching the girls. Jimmy brings a no nonsense approach to coaching and him and Mags are like good cop/bad cop! Jimmy denies it was his idea to get pink tops for the girls Feile…I have my doubts however, have you seen the get-up some of those golfers wear !!!

Brendan Phelan
Brendan is the public face of the club in the local schools and in parnell park etc. He spends most of his time representing the club brilliantly coaching young kids but has also great experience with older teams and brought some super tactical and coaching skills to the table. As you know Brendan hails from Co Laois but despite that his knowledge of Football is top class. He completes the Castleknock Troika.

First Feile game was set for 9am so for the girls that meant an unholy start to the morning. They were dragged out of bed at 7am, got to CCC, got the traditional photo taken and we’re on the road by 8am. Straight out of the cars and onto the pitch for game 1 v Ballyboden. It was a lovely morning at that stage but the rain wasn’t far away. The girls were drawn to play Ballyboden St Enda’s, Fingallians, and Foxrock Cabinteely in Div 1A

Game 1 v Ballyboden
We were unlucky to lose the toss and had to play against the wind (against the bigger clubs it’s always good to get a good start with the wind) but despite that scored the first point of the competition within 1 minute after great work from Niamh Mulroney finished over the bar by Aoife Whelan (a move straight off the training ground), With the aid of the wind it was all Ballyboden for the remainder of the first half as they rattled in 4-02. In the second half the Castleknock girls battled hard and pulled a couple more points back through Emer Mullins and Aoife Whelan again but couldn’t retrive the game as Ballyboden maintained their lead to the final whistle.
Final Score; Ballyboden 4-02 Castleknock 0-03

After a midtern review by the Troika Game 2 v Fingallians got underway
Again Castleknock lost the toss and had to play into a gale force wind. Unfortunately this game went much the same as the first with Fingallians leading 4-01 to 0-01 at half time with Aisling Andrews getting the Castleknock score. The second half of this game showed what these girls are made of…a storming second half with scores from Ciara Murray, Caoimhe Hughes, Aoife Whelan, and Niamh Mulroney meant the girls almost clawed back the lead but just ran out of time.
Final Score; Fingallians 4-01 Castleknock 2-03

Game 3 v Foxrock Cabinteely
Probably the toughest game of the group and the girls again showed all their qualities. This time the toss was won and playing with the wind Castleknock had the eventual champions on the rack for the first 15 minutes. Aoife and Aisling again got on the scoreboard but unfortunately Foxrock’s strength showed in the second half as they came back strong aided by the wind to win out in the end.
Final Score; Foxrock/Cabinteely 2-04 Castleknock 0-02
As a side note…we would like to congratulate Foxrock/Cabinteely on winning Feile 2013, and wish them well as they represent Dublin in the National Feile in Derry during the summer. They are without doubt the standard bearers for Ladies Football in Dublin and have set the bar for all other clubs to reach.

Despite losing our three games the club can be rightly proud of this bunch of girls. They are one of only two clubs in Dublin (the other being Dublin giants Kilmacud Crokes) that will play Div 1 Feile in both Camogie and Football and that is success on a large scale…the last Castleknock team to do that was the famous team of Kilkenny, Boland, Quinn, Hannigan etc. Things also went against the girls with goalkeeper Zara Woods getting injured seconds before the first game, scorer in chief Ciara Murray hampered by a bad ankle injury, losing tosses etc…it just wasn’t our day but the girls were gallant and can be proud of themselves for their efforts.

All the girls really put in a great shift on Saturday, Lauren Sheridan deputised brilliantly in goal, Molly O’Neill was a colossus as usual with Claire Nulty having a great tournament in her new role as full back. Grainne Eccles, Amandine Hong-Ming, Mairead Griffin and Emma Martin defended brilliantly all day and with the midfield pairing of Caoimhe Hughes and Sarah Murphy running all day nothing came easy for our opponents. In the forward line Aisling Andrews, Ciara Murray, Aoife Whelan, and Niamh Mulroney got most of the scores but couldn’t have scored without Kellie Daly, Anna Harkin, Fionnuala Hunt, Mary Jolley, and Eimear Mullins who ran themselves into the ground for the cause. The three U13 girls Tara King, Aoife Douglas and Lauren Sheridan really strengthened the panel and I’m sure will participate again next year the better for this experience.

All thoughts now turn to Camogie Feile in two weeks time as the circus rolls on, and the end of Feile verdict of the Troika…these girls have a great future…No Bailout needed here! Castleknock Abu !!!

Full panel: Aisling Andrews, Kellie Daly, Grainne Eccles, Mairead Griffin, Anna Harkin, Amandine Hong-Ming, Caoimhe Hughes, Fionnuala Hunt, Mary Jolley, Emma Martin, Eimear Mullins, Niamh Mulroney, Sarah Murphy, Claire Nulty, Molly O’Neill, Aoife Whelan, Zara Woods, Ciara Murray, Tara King, Aoife Douglas, and Lauren Sheridan