St. Colmcilles GAA Club, Pairc Ui Rís, Piltown, Bettystown, Co Meath 089-4440124

The St Colmcilles Junior C team took to a sunny Páirc Uí Rís on Thursday evening for their championship semi-final. There was excitement in the air, but none as eager as Laura Sheahan who arrived an hour and 15 minutes before throw-in (if only you were this early for training)! Unfortunately by being this early, she missed the supreme traffic management skills of Brian Horan (who will be giving parking lessons for a minimal fee).

After winning the throw-up, the Cilles scored a goal within the first 20 seconds of play. This was followed very shortly by another point so that the Cilles led by 4 after the first minute. It was then Kilbride’s turn to attack; an attempt that was denied by a fine block. But this did not rattle the travelling side as they quickly responded with 2 goals and 2 points to put them ahead by 4.

The Cilles were then given the opportunity to highlight their own tenacity and fight as they refused to be left behind in this match. Pouncing on a defensive error, the Seasiders soon had the ball in the back of the net once again and followed this up with another point to level the game, 2-2 a piece. Kilbride managed 2 more points and a Cilles attempt was narrowly wide to end the first quarter: Cilles 2-2 Kilbride 2-4. We don’t like to single out one person for their performance, but Roger as a linesman was truly spectacular (and Dani made this clear after he awarded a Cilles sideline ball)!

The Cilles showed excellent perseverance beginning the second quarter with a turned over kickout. After some quick handpassing, the Cilles claimed their third goal, giving them back the lead. Kilbride responded quickly with a goal. Two fouls and some fine free-taking saw the Cilles claim 2 points from frees and a third from play. Kilbride scored 2 points of their own to level the game, 3-6 each. An accurate kickout to the Cilles midfield allowed the Cilles to put the ball between the posts once more to conclude the half with the Cilles ahead: Cilles 3-7 Kilbride 3-6. (Difficult to keep up with the end-to-end scores- we know!). The only complaints at half time were from Tara M because no one ate any of her oranges (not gone, but not forgotten!).

In the second half, it was once again the Cilles who attacked first with a free that dropped short and was cleared by the Kilbride defence. Both sides then claimed a point from play each, before a Kilbride attempt on goal raced narrowly wide and another free-kick dropped short to the goalkeeper. This did not stop them from trying again, and their persistence earned them a point to draw the game. Kilbride followed this up with a goal, and the Cilles launched their own attack which was well-read by the Kilbride defence and was intercepted near the goal. A quick 1,2 between the Cilles midfield and forwards meant that the Cilles found the back of the net (A DRAW AGAIN!). Kilbride had been putting on all the pressure, but now the tide had turned, and crossfield handpasses led to another Cilles point. Superb Cilles defending forced Kilbride into another wide, although they did not relent and took two more points to edge them ahead before the water break: Cilles 4-9 Kilbride 4-10.

In the final quarter, there were a few scoreless minutes before Kilbride scored a goal that dropped in just under the crossbar. The Cilles followed up with 2 points and a converted penalty once again earned the Cilles the lead with another point then added. Kilbride kicked 2 points and a shot from distance landed in the Cilles net in the minutes that followed to put Kilbride a goal ahead. Another fine Cilles free meant that this was a 2 point game with 2 minutes to go. The Cilles keeper made a save against a strong shot, but Kilbride put the ball over the bar to end the game a goal ahead. FT Cilles 5-13 Kilbride 6-13.

It was a high-intensity battle from throw-in right until the final whistle. Neither team ever sat back and it was never certain who was going to emerge as victors. The Cilles gave it their all but unfortunately, it was not meant to be. The ladies are a credit to our club and will grow from this defeat and come back again stronger next year! Thank you to the management for your hard work and commitment all year-round and to all the volunteers on the night. Best of luck to Kilbride who play Trim in the final next Saturday.

Match Report: The McPeake Media Sisters, they really need to work on their name.

Photos: BM