The Road to Feile success 2015 for Castleknock Ladies

The Road to Feile success 2015 for Castleknock Ladies
30 Apr 2015

Ohhh that winning feeling…… We gathered outside CCC at 8.15am last Saturday. But the meetup location didn’t reflect a typical school day for the girls as they all arrived with a spring in their step. Mentors meanwhile seemed to be in exam mode as they nervously ticked sheets and made calls ensuring everyone was present. Where is… Oh there she is! With local formalities completed we set of in the direction of Skerries Harps. The route was very familiar, the cars having been there 2 weeks previous for the Camogie Féile where the girls competed valiantly but just came up short. Maybe familiarity would be an advantage?

As we entered Skerries those with sun cream were to be disappointed as true to form we were met by traditional Feile weather of wind & rain. But this weather was never going to dampen our spirits. With cars parked up the girls entered their dressing room before taking to the main pitch for the parade of teams led round by a piper. Amhrán na bhFiann played, the roar went up….Up the Dubs Knock. This just got real.

FIRST MATCH: v Ballyboden. 24 blue and yellow jerseys joined arms for the final team talk, before 15 broke to the field of play to take up their positions. Both teams started nervously with an exchange of scores. At half time it was evenly poised at 2 points each with our own full back line of Aoife Lally, Molly Hong Minh and Hannah Janahi ensuring Boden were restricted to those 2 points overall, and they continued on with this excellent form throughout the tournament. The introduction of Sarah Rafferty in the second half proved inspired. On a Castleknock attack she gathered the ball as it came back off the crossbar to score with a Broganesque finish from 1 yard out. Eimear Griffin, Club Captain, followed with another goal after a mazy run through the opposition defence to place the ball in the bottom left hand corner. Sarah put the game beyond the reach of Ballyboden with a terrifically taken point much to the relief of the Castleknock contingent. One in the bag.

SECOND MATCH: Next up….Ballinteer St. John, who needed to avoid defeat after losing their first match. Scores were exchanged with the Knock girls taking a small lead into halftime with Aisling Kenny & Caitlin Coffey leading the charge supported by Amy Brady & Molly O’Connell in the corners. Ciara Golden was assigned to marshal Ballinteers influential no.10 and expertly ensured that her impact was limited. Goals were traded by both sides with Eimear Griffin gambling and shooting for the crossbar to maximise her chances. The gamble paid off and the ball dipped under to give the keeper no chance. The score of the game was initiated by Ciara Golden who chased her opponent 40 yards back into defence to dispossess her. Defence was immediately turned into attack and the ball found its’ way to Sarah Breton who fielded the ball over her head, laid it off to Sophia Ostapiv who skilfully put it over the crossbar. However Ballinteer managed to grab a late point to ensure the match ended in a draw. Still all to play for.

THIRD MATCH: The last group match pitted us against Fingallians who had already made the semis. Castleknock needed to avoid defeat to ensure a safe passage to the next stage. With this in focus our girls raced into a seemingly comfortable 10 point lead with Ausrine Grabauske and Grace McGonigle causing the Fingallian defence a lot of unrest. Surely the semis were a formality…..couldn’t have been more wrong. The opposition roared back with 11 unanswered points to take a 1 point lead. But this Castleknock team dug deep, and driven on by dogged forward play by Siobhan Roche & Sarah O’Gorman, it allowed for 2 points by Captain Fantastic to secure victory. A feeling of excitement….a sense of relief.

SEMI FINAL: Over an hour passed until the fumata bianca announced that the home favourites were our chosen opponent. During the intense consultation period our girls and mentors took to our busy Basecamp for some deserved refuelling. By the start of the match the Castleknock support had grown in huge numbers, as word via Micks tweeting had reached the Parish that the Knock girls were in the semis. I looked across at the Skerries side-line support & asked myself the question would it be inappropriate to chant “You’re supposed to be at home”…probably. Game on. An exchange of early scores suggested this would be close. But we were only getting started. A well marshalled defence had Cailin Hughes and Katie Prunty keeping Skerries at bay….(Katie is the 3rd member of the Prunty household to win Féile with the Club following the success of her sister in 2004 & brother in 2007. What a tremendous achievement by the Prunty family)….Our forward play, including forward runs by Jane Kelly and a very popular appearance by Fiona Ryan, saw Castleknock score 1-09 unopposed. We had reached the Division 2 Feile Final. Que the roars, high fives, pats on backs, hugs of victory….and that was just the parents. Before we departed for home the Skerries girls and our girls grouped together to acknowledge each other’s achievements, review the day, and became friends in the true spirit of Féile. Skerries take a bow.

FINAL: Blue sky and high sun was a welcomed sight for Finals day in St. Peregrines where Castleknock would renew acquaintances with Fingallians. As the girls entered the arena they were greeted by a wall of noise and colour as most of the parish seemed to fill the stand. The whistle blew and Castleknock went straight on the offensive with Eimear slotting an early point from a pre- planned move at the throw-in straight from the training ground. Fingallians responded with a goal two minutes later. Our heads didn’t drop, and our half back line expertly positioned by Sinead Wylie & Sinead NicSheoin prevented our opponents gaining further ground. Meanwhile Castleknock grabbed control of the match with a marvellous goal from Sophia followed by a well taken point from Siobhan and further point by Caitlin at the start of the second half. Our lead 3 points….to the wise that’s only 1 score! Sinead Waters was drafted into the back line to prevent the Fingallian forwards pushing on and the move seemed to work for most of the half. Then Fingallians having secured a point and pressed for time played a high ball on top of our full back line in search of the winning goal. A mass struggle for possession was taking place when a loud shriek came from the refs whistle..…Fulltime? Free out for Castleknock? Hop ball?…. PENALTY!!…. What the….surely not….but the referee stood firm with his decision. While Fingallians debated their taker, Vice-captain Sophie Browne remained very cool between the posts as she faced the ball. Supporters, Mentors, Players all peaked nervously through their fingers as the ball was struck. But our super keeper stood strong, saved brilliantly, secured the ball, and cleared half way down the pitch. This was to be our day and within minutes the final whistle blew. Pandemonium ensued on the pitch as the girls and mentors broke into wild celebrations. Tears of joy, roars of victory. But these girls were also mindful of their opponents and went to console the Fingallian girls at the same time….forever true sportswomen.

The presentation took place in front of our 16th man where the passing of the trophy to Eimear let Dublin County know that CASTLEKNOCK ARE 2015 FEILE CHAMPIONS – CASTLEKNOCK ABÚ

SR – Proud Parent, Proud Club Mentor, Proud Club Member.

FULL PANEL – Aisling Kenny, Amy Brady, Aoife Lally, Ausrine Grabauskaite, Cailin Hughes, Caitlin Coffey, Ciara Golden, Eimear Griffin, Fiona Ryan, Grace McGonigle, Hannah Janahi, Jane Kelly, Katie Prunty, Molly Hong Minh, Molly O’Connell, Sarah Breton, Sarah O’Gorman, Sarah Rafferty, Sinead NicSheoin, Sinead Waters, Sinead Wylie, Siobhan Roche, Sophia Ostapiv, Sophie Browne.

TEAM MENTORS – Brendan Griffin, Catherine Hong Minh, Danny Kelly, Judith Ryan.

PHYSIO – Ollie Coffey

SUPPORTERS – Too many to name so thank you all.