Southern Gaels Bridge 32 year gap to take Historic U14 Westmeath League Title.
With the amount of hurlers at each training session in Páirc Chiarain on a Tuesday or Friday night, its hard to believe its been over 3 decades since the Gaels won an U14 title as a standalone club. It took the latest crop of national Feile finalists to dig deep and put on the performance of their lives to overcome the might of Longford slashers, who themselves had just been successful at Feile winning the Division 9 cup. On Tuesday July 9th last was the date for the Division 2 League title decider in Cusack Park. The players knew the historic gap and combined with the mentors, left no stone unturned in their preparations, planning every detail to ensure only one outcome would be possible. 6.30 was the throw in and by 6.40, the result seemed to be going just one direction as the Gaels had stormed into a supreme lead of 2-4. It took Slashers 18 minutes to open their scoring with a well worked goal from a huge defensive clearance to be collected and followed by a surging run to finish to the net. If they had dreamed that would kick start their comeback, they were to be mistaken as it took them another 9 minutes to register their second and last score of the first half, such was the pressure and relentless tackling by all the gaels and the score line read an amazing 4-9 to 1-1 at half time. It was incredible to think that when these 2 sides met in June, only 1 point separated the sides, so to take a lead of 3-8 in at half time was a measure of how much work these Southern Gaels had put in to prepare for Feile and this League final. Having such a commanding lead, there had to be a fightback from Slashers, as they had only lost one of their six league matches to qualify for the final, so they were worthy opponents. However, as much as the Longford lads fought, the gaels fought harder. It was in the first 10 minutes of this half that the gaels showed their real steel and hooked, blocked and tackled as if their lives depended on it and kept the opposition out, only conceding 1-2, but replying with another magnificent 3-5 to run out well and truly worthy winners on a score line of 7-14 to 2-3. Chairman of Westmeath Bord na Nóg, Niall O’Brien presented the trophy to Southern Gaels Captain Luke O’Connell, to rapturous applause from the many travelling supporters who were well decked out in maroon and amber with loads of flags. The gaels then toured Athlone with cars beeping and flags waving all around the town followed by some refreshments in the clubhouse. The fantastic panel were: Diarmaid Murtagh, Dara Shortall, Conn O’Hara, Ruairí Ó Duibhir, Calum Devaney (0-1), Luke O’Connell (C), Zach Meegan, Luke Whelan (0-4), Cathal Hardiman (0-1), Josh Kenny, Johnny Martin (2-4), Cormac Bradley, Luke Farrell (1-0), Dano McMonagle (3-1), Cillian Geary (1-3), Dean Burns, Aaron Murphy, Gearoid McCarthy, Thomas Collins, Kristers Jonass, Leon Macken, Kian Mitchell, Tadhg Baker. Missing on the night due to holidays were Seán O Donoghue, Eoin Naughton & Tom Bourke.
Church Gate Collection Success
A big thank you to all who gave of their time and money last weekend at the annual Southern Gaels church gate collection. Without the great support for these events the club would not be able to function. Gaels Abú!
Congratulations to Cian McCarthy on representing Westmeath U16s and coming 8th in the long Puck competition with 31 shots. Unfortunately he got hit with 3 hitbacks on the tough Wicklow mountains track. Kilkenny won on 25 pucks. It was tough going for Cian, but a fantastic experience.Tweet