Cuala vs. Lucan Sarsfields
Dublin Minor Camogie Development League
Sunday 3rd March 2013 in Meadowvale
Cuala 2-6 (12) vs. 7-4 (25) Lucan Sarsfields (Half Time: Cuala 2-5 (11) vs. 3-3 (12) Lucan Sarsfields).
Cuala scorers: Ciara McKeown (1-2), Katie O’Dea (0-3) (inc. 2 ‘65s’), Juliette O’Flynn (0-1) (Note: first Cuala goal an ‘own goal’ scored by a Lucan player).
Cuala Minor Camogie Team
- Caitlin Byrne (1996)
- Ciara Ni Dhalaigh (1996)
- Aisling Ruigrok (1997)
- Deirdre Ni Thighearnaigh (1996)
- Hannah Nash (1997)
- Cliodhna Reidy (Captain) (1996)
- Jane Slowey (1996)
- Juliette O’Flynn (1997)
- Asia Kirwan (1996)
- Ciara McKeown (1997)
- Cybi NicGearlait (1996)
- Katie O’Dea (1996)
- Órla Quill (1996)
- Julie Newman (1996)
- Staci Kennedy (1995)
- Mary Wilson (1996)
- Martha MacNulty (1996)
- Claragh Nugent (1996)
- Niamh Dunne (1997)
- Orla McMahon (1995)
Note: Missing 3 players from the panel – 2 injured (Hannah Matthews 1997 and Claire Donohoe 1996) and 1 sick (Rebecca Meaney 1997).
Final score line fails to do justice to Cuala after a brave and battling performance in opening Minor league game in historic occasion for Cuala camogie
There is a very strong tradition of camogie in the local area and camogie in Cuala can trace its roots back to the 1940’s and the Naomh Mhuire club in Sallynoggin. Since then many Cuala players have represented Dublin in camogie at adult level and Cuala has the honour of club member, Síle de Bhailís, previously serve as Ardstiurthóir Cumann Camógaíochta, but unfortunately we have not had an adult camogie team since 2008. Since then this current crop of minors, made up primarily of girls born in 1996 or 1997, have in effect been the ‘senior’ camogie team within the club and before ever a sliotar was played today, this was already a great day for Cuala, with the club fielding a minor camogie team for the first time ever. It was a significant milestone in the rejuvenation of camogie within the club and another big step along the way to fielding an adult camogie team within the next 2 years. The fact that on the day Cuala had a pick from a panel of 20 players is in itself a great achievement, the majority of the team having been together since the U11 league and the pre match team talk included a list of 20 clubs the girls have played against over those years who no longer have enough players to enter this year’s Minor league.
The opening game of the league couldn’t have been against tougher opposition however with the visit of Lucan Sarsfields, the current kingpins of Dublin camogie, with their minors fresh from a big win over Naomh Mearnog the previous Sunday in their opening league game. In addition, just 3 months ago Cuala and Lucan played out a thrilling draw in last year’s U16 B Championship semi final before the Cuala girls were edged out in extra time. That Lucan B team went on to convincingly win the final and this year are amalgamated with last year’s Lucan A team, making them a formidable force this season.
None of this mattered to the Cuala girls however who tore into the opposition from the start. The opening 5 minutes were played at a frantic pace with both sides giving their all. Two opening attacks from Cuala were repelled by the Lucan full back line and against the run of play, Lucan got the opening score, a point from distance. The score seemed to spur on the Cuala girls who dominated the game for the next 15 minutes playing some of their best and most skilful camogie ever. Strong Cuala pressure resulted in the opening score for the home side with a Lucan player putting the ball in her own net while trying to clear the ball in the square following strong pressure from the Cuala full forward line. This goal was quickly followed by a great point from ex Dublin minor Katie O’Dea, putting the ball over from distance off her favoured left side. A minute later Katie O’Dea doubled her tally with another point, this time from a ‘65’. Better was to follow with a brilliant goal from Ciara McKeown, (fresh from appearing with a winning Dublin U16 football team the day before in the first round of the Leinster championship) putting clear daylight between the teams, Cuala 7 points ahead and looking good.
10 minutes in and Cuala were by now really in the ascendancy playing perhaps their best ever camogie. With the majority of the team proudly displaying their Cuala crest tattoos, they were playing as a single unit, each girl battling fiercely for the girls around her. The half back line of Hannah Nash, Cliodhna Reidy and Jane Slowey were mopping up everything and driving the ball forward again and again. At centerfield Juliette O’Flynn was lording it over her Lucan marker while up front, the half forward line of Katie O’Dea, Cybi NicGearlait and Ciara McKeown were on fire. Continued pressure from the full forward line of Órla Quill, Julie Newman and Staci Kennedy resulted in another ‘65’ for Cuala and once again, Katie O’Dea was deadly from the placed ball, striking it over the bar for another point for Cuala.
The Cuala full back line of Ciara Ni Dhalaigh, Aisling Ruigrok and Deirdre Ni Thighearnaigh were by now well on top of the opposition’s attack putting in some ferocious tackling and blocking and Lucan were somewhat fortuitous to get a point back from a rather dubious free. The Cuala response however was immediate with points from Juliette O’Flynn and Ciara McKeown within 2 minutes, Juliette’s being the score of the day following a great block down from Cuala goalkeeper Caitlin Byrne, the ball being worked up the field with a great passing move involving 4 Cuala players including Asia Kirwan who was by now really getting into her stride.
Half way through the first half and Cuala were unbelievably 9 points ahead, 2-5 to 0-2, and looking like winners. Lucan weren’t last year’s U16 champions and this year’s favourites for the Minor league for nothing however and gradually they started to play their way back into the game. The turning point came between the 18th and 19th minutes of the opening half when Lucan grabbed 2 goals in quick succession to put them right back in the hunt. The Cuala girls maintained their composure however and quickly settled back into their rhythm. It was now real end to end stuff with both sides playing some very skilful and attractive camogie. There were chances at both ends with Mary Wilson and Martha MacNulty making it difficult for the Lucan forwards while up front for Cuala a lively Claragh Nugent and competitive Niamh Dunne were proving a handful for the Lucan backs. Orla McMahon, known more for her football ability, was also impressing with a series of brave blocks, all the more impressive considering she was playing her first ever camogie match for Cuala.
Despite some good Cuala play, the last 5 minutes of the half proved unfruitful from a Cuala perspective and although both sides had an equal amount of possession and chances, Lucan took theirs while Cuala didn’t, Lucan scoring 1-1 in the closing minutes to go in a point ahead, Cuala 2-5 (11) vs. 3-3 (12) Lucan Sarsfields, Cuala undeservedly behind following such a bright opening and a great team display in the first half.
Despite being behind, the girls were in a very positive frame of mind during the break and a very focussed and confident Cuala team took the field for the final 30 minutes. The second half started as the first had ended with both teams getting stuck in from the off, neither side giving an inch. Both sides had chances but once again it was the visitors who capitalised on theirs with the opening score, a well taken goal, after 5 minutes. This was followed by a point some 5 minutes later but still there was no sign of panic on the Cuala faces. Gradually however the strength in depth of this formidable Lucan side started to show and though the Cuala team battled bravely Lucan were gradually getting on top culminating in another excellently worked goal mid way through the half. Lucan now ahead by 8 points, 5-4 to 2-5.
In true Cuala fashion, the girls refused to lie down however and they rallied strongly winning a 30 metre free slightly to the right of the Lucan goal. 9 points down with about 12 minutes remaining and the instruction from the sideline to free taker Katie O’Dea was to go for goal. Despite a well taken low drive into the square, the heavily lined Lucan goal line managed to scramble the ball to safety and Cuala’s chances of a comeback had suffered a severe blow. Again the home side refused to give up but a number of half chances went a begging and when Lucan scored an extremely lucky goal direct from a ‘65’ it looked like that was it for Cuala. Remarkably the girls picked themselves up again however and pushed forward for a consolation goal. Chances for points were given up in the hope of a goal to kick start a, by now unlikely, comeback but the girls did manage one final score, another excellently worked point, finished by Ciara McKeown to bring her days tally to 1-2, all from play.
With less than 5 minutes remaining things went from bad to worse for Cuala, with star centerfield player Juliette O’Flynn suffering a nasty hand injury resulting in her being unable to continue. Following the game the injury is not thought as serious as first feared and she will hopefully be back for next week’s game against Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh. Any fears for Juliette’s junior cert were also allayed as the injury was to her left hand and she is a right handed player.
The delay while Juliette’s injury was attended to seemed to take the life out of the game and the remaining few minutes were scrappy, the only scoring opportunity falling to Lucan who sealed their victory with another goal with the last puck of the game. Final score Cuala 2-6 (12) vs. 7-4 (25) Lucan Sarsfields, the end result not a fair reflection of the game, particularly Cuala’s dominance in the opening quarter.
Despite the result it was nonetheless a momentous day for Cuala camogie and a great team display from the full panel of 20 girls who all played their part. Among the best for Cuala were Hannah Nash, Katie O’Dea, Ciara McKeown, Juliette O’Flynn and Cliodhna Reidy playing a captain’s role, leading by example in her first game as captain.
This group of girls are very conscious of the proud camogie tradition within Cuala and of the current 200 or more younger camogie players following in their footsteps from the 1998 U15 team right back to the 2007 U6s in the Academy. Well done girls, you are a credit to the club and the future of Cuala camogie is in very safe hands.
F. O’Cuill 03/03/2013.