Travelling to Tipperary on June 20th for the Division A National Féile na Gael competition, the Carnmore U14 girls pitted themselves against the very best other counties had to offer. Carnmore were based in the Ragg just outside Thurles and were grouped with Thomastown (Kilkenny), Scarriff (Clare) and Inniscarra (Cork).
With only one team qualifying from each of the two groups for the National final in Semple Stadium qualification could most likely go to the team that could remain unbeaten. In game one Carnmore faced Thomastown. Carnmore were first off the mark with a point from Sinead Donovan in a strong opening few minutes from the reds. But from here Thomastown would find some momentum as a lot of the game began to be played in the Carnmore half. This sustained pressure eventually yielded 1–2 without reply leaving Carnmore three points adrift at the break after a fine Jessica Donlan score.
With fifteen minutes to salvage their competition hopes in a game that was largely considered the group decider Carnmore got to work and clawed their way back into the game with Niamh Heffernan forcing two fine saves from the Thomastown goalie before the constant pressure eventually paid as Heffernan crashed a 21 metre free to the net.
Carnmore had several game winning chances but could not force themselves over the line. As time ticked on one could sense that Carnmore for all their effort and dominance could be caught with a sucker punch and that is exactly what happened as Thomastown pointed a free from the middle of the field to steal this game 1–5 to 1–4 at the death.
Carnmore who were called back to action forty minutes later this time against Scarriff, knowing that Thomastown had just recorded their second win Carnmore needed to force the issue. The girls put the disappointment of game one behind them and went in pursuit of Thomastown beating Scarriff 2–6 to 2–2 after a powerful first half that all but put the result beyond doubt.
Needing another win against Inniscarra and a huge favour from Scarriff Carnmore were straight into game three with their Cork counterparts. In a desperate effort to both bump up their score difference and record a win to keep them alive the Carnmore girls were outstanding against a stout Cork outfit. Again Carnmore were devastating the first half leading 2–1 to 0–0. Inniscarra made a comeback in the second half but Carnmore’s two second half points were enough to see them through 2–3 to 2–1.
Unfortunately Thomastown proved too strong for Scarriff in their game and ultimately headed onto Semple Stadium to contest the final. The competition was won by Waterford’s Galltir. In reality all that separated Carnmore from that final appearance was a one-point defeat.
This was a huge achievement for the club and this team. A huge thanks to all the parents and supporters who travelled in numbers on Saturday. A word too for Sean Bryne as his management have filled a trophy cabinet with this team since U10s.
Juniors earn hard fought win in JHC
JAHC RD3, Clarinbridge
Carnmore 0–19, Ardrahan 3–9
In a game that pitted top and bottom against each other Ardrahan were looking to take a firm grasp of proceedings with a third win while Carnmore were still in search of their first. Carnmore who lost out by one point last time out to Kiltormer took that form into this contest and recorded a one point win against the high flying Ardrahan.
With the senior team continuing to eat away at the junior panel more reshuffling was required by Murty Killilea with Kevin Hanley absent due to playing in the SHC v Craughwell. Carnmore welcomed back centre back JP O’Connell and he’s presence along with Ronnie Walsh and Shane Hynes made a huge difference to this young side.
Carnmore found their stride from the start an even though the game remained tight throughout Carnmore’s ability to find points from all over the field was impressive. This was a big result for the Juniors with two points recorded in a large group now have every chance of qualifying going forward.
With still more players to return to side in the coming weeks including experienced campaigners and young lads Carnmore will head into game four full of confidence.