Ladies Gaelic Football Championship, Senior Qualification Match: Mullingar Shamrocks 3-13 Moate 3-9
Great news to report on this occasion as our senior Ladies Gaelic Football team fiercely defended their senior status with this victory against Moate. Westmeath's status as a Division 1 county in the code has been evident by the quality of football on view throughout the championship and this match was no different. Great tackles, great scores, great saves and good quality football dominated the menu and the refereeing of Agnes Murtagh is also worthy of note. Agnes applied the rules with consistency and authority throughout.
Karen Hegarty opened the scoring for Shamrocks with a point after a bout of combined play but the Moate response was quick and spectacular. A run by Emma Collins split the Shamrocks defence and a great shot by Maria O'Donoghue dipped under the crossbar for a spectacular Moate goal. A great run by Tara Fagan found Karen Hegarty who supplied the final pass for Clara Thornton to point. Gemma Kerrigan also pointed but a high ball into the Shamrocks goal mouth was finished to the net by Emma Collins in the twelfth minute. Collins and Clare Killian added points to establish a five-point lead for Moate (2-2 to 0-3)
Things weren't going well for Shamrocks at this stage but the necessary positional changes were made and the repair work proved to be effective. Melek Fagan began a marking job on Emma Collins and completely dominated the flying Moate player; Chloe Swarbrigg performed a similar task on Stacey Holloway who was equally influential to this point. Anna Jones well supported by Michelle Buckley and Áine Melody began to dominate the midfield area and after a great solo run, Anna released Karen Hegarty to score Shamrock's opening goal. Karen then pointed from play and from a free, the latter awarded after Niamh Spellman was fouled after a penetrating solo run. The sides were level and when Karen Hegarty floated a free into the Moate goalmouth Anna Jones climbed into the air to direct the ball past the Moate goalkeeper. Moate responded with a pointed free but this was balanced by a Gemma Kerrigan point after more good work again by Anna Jones. A great save by Fiona Fox deprived Karen Hegarty of her second goal but a pointed free and two points from play by Karen after great passes from Clara Thornton extended the Shamrocks lead to six points (the second point also brought a superb save from Fiona Fox). Any doubts that might have existed about Karen's recovery from the cruciate injury were well and truly dispelled by this first-half display in which she contributed 1-6 to the team total. (Karen's back for sure!) Sarah McCormack scored a good long-range point for Moate before Agnes Murtagh called for half-time with Shamrocks leading by 2-9 to 2-4.
Moate scored the first two points after the interval before Karen Hegarty opened Shamrocks second-half account with a pointed free. Moate's Mairead Fox pointed as did Clara Thornton from a Karen Hegarty pass before Clara provided the pass for Tara Fagan to point (2-12 to 2-7). Moate refused to surrender and initiated a series of raids on the Shamrocks goal. A few bad wides were costly but the Shamrocks defending was superb at this stage. Lauren McCormack saved brilliantly from Vanessa O'Brien and when the same player hit the upright her follow-up goal attempt was brilliantly and bravely blocked by Melek Fagan (the great Spike was reincarnated in this moment of skill and courage). Maria O'Donovan pointed and Sarah McCormack goaled to reduce the deficit to the minimum (3-8 to 2-12).
The Shamrock ladies weren't for turning however and Carole Finch responded to the challenge and made a crucial intervention in the day's play. The full-back collected the ball and soloed seventy yards unhindered and unstoppable to create an opportunity for Clara Thornton who crashed the ball to the Moate net. Maria O'Donoghue pointed a free, Melek Fagan produced another spectacular block before Carole Finch, Karen Hegarty and Anna Jones combined and when the latter was fouled Karen Hegarty pointed to complete the scoring and secure Mullingar Shamrocks senior status.
This was a superb team performance decorated with excellent individual performances. Retaining senior status was a just reward for the team and panel and manager Ciarán McKenna and his assistant Spike Fagan who worked so hard all year and were extremely unfortunate to lose two championship matches by the minimum margin and the third game by two points.
Congrats to all concerned.
Mullingar Shamrocks: Lauren McCormack; Melek Fagan, Carole Finch, Rachel Hannigan; Tara Fagan (0-1), Niamh Spellman, Niamh Kennedy (Susanna Buckley); Michelle Buckley and Áine Melody; Chloe Swarbrigg, Anna Jones (1-0), Gemma Kerrigan (0-2) [Liveta Lazauskaite]; Karen Hegarty (1-8), Lisa Burke (Faye Walsh) and Clara Thornton (1-2).
Eddie Casey Steps Down
At the club's executive meeting on Wednesday night it was confirmed that Eddie Casey had stepped down as the Mullingar Shamrocks senior team manager. Eddie and his management team brought extraordinary commitment, dedication and professionalism to the task and were forensic in their approach to training and match preparation. This input was carried out on a VOLUNTARY basis and the club would like to place on record its appreciation of the work of Eddie and his management team of Paul Aherne, Robbie Boyle, Micheál Burke, John Doran and coordinator, Barry Maguire.
CONGRATULATIONS and BEST WISHES ...
Congrats and best wishes to two young men from Lynn Heights who have lined out for Mullingar Shamrocks in a previous sporting life. Congrats to Robbie McCarthy who won his sixth All-Ireland senior 60 x 30 title at the weekend when beating Eóin Kennedy in the final and becoming the first winner of the Ducksy Walsh Cup. Best of Luck to Aidan Keena who recently signed a three-year contract with Scottish club Hearts, a significant step on the road to becoming a top-flight footballer. Since signing Aidan made his debut for the Hearts Under-20 team playing in the Irn Bru Cup against St Mirren.
Club Bua Presentation
Pat Collins and Tom Hunt travelled to Portlaoise on Tuesday evening to represent Mullingar Shamrocks at the Beko sponsored Club Bua presentation. Shamrocks were one of the inaugural winners in this Leinster Council initiative. Leinster Council Chairman Jim Bolger presented the prize, valued at €1,500, which consisted of three bags of O'Neill's footballs and a bag of training bibs. A prize well worth winning as well as confirming a positive health check for Mullingar Shamrocks administration and management.
Westmeath Minor Football Championship: Mullingar Shamrocks 4-13 Garrycastle 2-12.
Mullingar Shamrocks young minor team (14 of 15 starters are eligible again next year) and their mentors have laboured long and hard this year with very little reward finally tasted some success with this fine victory against Garrycastle in Springfield on Wednesday evening. An injury to Darragh White was the only lowlight of the evening and we wish Darragh a speedy recovery.
Shamrocks started well and Matthew Maslin knocked over two points in the early stages which were cancelled by two similar Garrycastle efforts. Cormac Hynes (a great long-range effort) and Eóin Mulvihill exchanged points before Cian Roe, Matthew Maslin (0-2) and Jack Gillen (0-2) scored five unanswered points to extend the Mullingar lead (0-8 to 0-3). A Garrycastle point had little impact as almost immediately Padraic McKenna intercepted a Garrycastle pass and crashed the ball to the net (1-8 to 0-4). Matthew Maslin who gave an exhibition of clinical finishing added two more points before Garrycastle added 1-2 to reduce the gap significantly before the interval (1-10 to 1-6).
Garrycastle reduced the deficit immediately after half-time with a point before Kenneth O'Reilly and Padraic McKenna added two points to Shamrocks total. A brilliant block by Conor Fitzpatrick prevented a certain Garrycastle goal and on at least three other occasions great defending by Fitzpatrick and goalkeeper Marc Watters prevented major scores. The Mullingar Shamrocks forwards responded to the heroic defending and scored three good goals. After Fitzpatrick's great block, Shamrocks broke upfield and Cormac Hynes released Dylan Matthews who jet-propelled through the Garrycastle defence before passing to Dylan Murphy who finished to the net (2-12 to 1-8). Garrycastle responded with two points before Matthew Maslin's attempt for a point dropped short but was gathered by Jack Gillen who was calculated and deliberate as he blasted to the net. Soon after a Padraic McKenna run through the heart of the Garrycastle defence ended with Dylan Murphy scoring his second goal and this score as well as a great save by Conor Fitzpatrick and two by Marc Watters sealed the Shamrocks victory. Between this burst of activity, two Matthew Maslin pointed frees completed the impressive Shamrocks tally for the evening. With eight points on the night scored off an educated left-foot, Matthew was the most impressive forward on the field.
Mullingar Shamrocks: Marc Watters; Darragh White (Brandon Heffernan), Conor Fitzpatrick, Peter Bane (Brian Reidy); Cormac Darby, Marc Eivers, Dylan Matthews; Padraic McKenna (1-1) and Kenneth O'Reilly; John O'Reilly, Cormac Hynes (0-1), Dylan Murphy (2-0); Matthew Maslin (0-8), Jack Gillen (1-2) [Sean Wylie], Cian Roe (0-1) [Adam McCormack].
Under-12 Ladies Gaelic Football Championship semi-final: Mullingar Shamrocks 1-4 Kilbeggan-St Joseph's 5-8
Mullingar shamrocks Under-12 girls played their championship semi-final against Kilbeggan-St. Joseph's on Thursday night. Conditions were far from ideal for football but Kilbeggan adapted well and scored 2-1 without reply. Our girls fought hard but Kilbeggan seemed to find an extra gear when needed. Kilbeggan were the better team overall but this Mullingar Shamrocks team, with many of the girls playing football for their first year, never gave up on the battle. The Shamrocks girls scored 1-4 with Ellie Sullivan responsible for 1-3 of the total, on the night but it's Kilbeggan who progress to the final with a score of 5-8. Mullingar Shamrocks: Alyosha Mcloughlin, Eve Byrne, Jodi Aherne, Phoebe Cadwalader, Jasmine McFarlane, Katie Starr, Benedict Lolengola, Emily Flynn (Capt.), Ciara Moore, Emily Clarke, Ellie Sullivan (1-3), Sinead Sweeny, Megan Scally, Sophie Russell (0-1), Erin Murry, Alessia Hassett, Linda Raeside, Rosin Lafferty, Áine Creagh and Sara Ford
Junior Football Championship; Mullingar Shamrocks 1-11 Shandonagh 1-15.
History was repeated in Shandonagh on Friday evening as for the second time in a matter of weeks Shamrocks allowed a potential match winning lead evaporate. This time a seven-point lead was condensed into a four-point defeat, as youth, fitness, training and practice conjured an eleven-point swing over the final quarter.
Shamrocks began impressively and Ross Corroon kicked two fine points in the opening minutes before Shandonagh responded with similar scores from Michael Boyle and Conor Hayden. The second of these represented a let-off for Shamrocks as Hayden was clear on gaol but shot well over Daragh Ryan's crossbar. A neat Jordan Warde point from play restored the Shamrocks advantage before Shandonagh equalised from a free. Jordan Warde provided an opening for Shane Colleary who pointed but two Conor Hayden pointed frees sent Shandonagh into the lead for the first time (0-5 to 0-4). At this stage Alan Hughes was orchestrating matters and was the score-maker in chief for the home team. Shane Colleary used his power to win a good possession and pointed as Shamrocks began their best period of the game and Jordan Warde who had a superb first-half, scored 1-2 before the interval. A Conor Moore lobbed shot was punched into Warde's path by the Shandonagh goalkeeper Conor Smyth, and Jordan accepted the gift to crash the ball to the net. Michael Boyle pointed for Shandonagh when clear on goal and after a relatively even first-half Shamrocks emerged with a four-point interval lead (1-7 to 0-6).
Shamrocks blitzed the opening ten minutes of the second-half and points by Nathan Smyth (balanced by a Conor Hayden effort for Shandonagh), Ross Corroon, Brian Melody (after a great piece of patient approach play) and an Alan Cashman beauty established what appeared to be a match-winning lead in the difficult conditions (1-11 to 0-7). However, this was it from a Shamrocks perspective and the scoring was done for the night at the rainbow end. An Alan Hughes point in the twelfth minute began what proved to be a scoring spree of 1-8 for Shandonagh over the final quarter. The Hughes point was followed by the goal that the home team so badly needed, a goal conceded rather than created when Daragh Ryan's poor clearance bounced off Roy Smyth and entered the net. A succession of Shandonagh points followed with three superb efforts by Cormac Coyne particularly noteworthy, Barry McWade and Conor Hayden had 0-2 each and only a superb save from Daragh Ryan prevented a second goal. A late Shamrocks goal opportunity fell to Nathan Smyth but Conor Smyth made the save and our interest in the junior football championship was terminated in disappointment with this save.
Mullingar Shamrocks: Daragh Ryan; Conor McEntee (James Grogan), Ryan Blundell, Robert Ryan (Gary Corroon); Mark Irwin (Cormac Murphy), Alan Cashman (0-1), Eamonn Breslin; Ross Corroon (0-3) and Nathan Smyth (0-1); Kenneth O'Reilly (Michael Ayibiowu), John Ganly, Brian Melody (0-1); Jordan Warde (1-3), Shane Colleary (0-2) and Conor Moore.
Our under-age squads had two blitz engagements at the weekend. We sent two teams mentored by Paul Aherne and Ollie Keating to Killucan for their Under-10 Blitz tournament where we competed with the home club, Shandonagh and The Downs. The club killed us with kindness with loads of food, snacks and treats for players, mentors and supporting parents. On Sunday our Under-13 squad travelled to the Roscommon Clan na Gael Blitz where we beat Ballyboden St Enda's and lost to St Colmcille's (Bettystown) and Monaghan Harps.
Under- 14 Football Division 2 Shield Semi-final: The Downs or Delvin/St Paul's v Mullingar Shamrocks, Saturday, 16 September, The Downs or Clonmellon 11am.