The weekend of June 24th – 26th 2016 will go down in the history books for Killygarry GAA as the Under 14 girls won the All – Ireland Féile Division 2 title. What a weekend that saw the Cavan champions win 6 games out of 6 to be the undoubted champions. This team who are unbeaten in Cavan for over three years showed extreme heart and limitless skill to land the ultimate crown.
The campaign in Kerry started on Friday with a victory over one of the favourites Portlaoise by 3-4 to 1-2 with Ally Cahill grabbing two goals, fresh from her summer holidays. This set the girls on the road and the belief was growing as overcame a strong Listowel Emmets side easily on their home ground by 4-10 to 1-1. Faith Galligan and Deirbhla Lynch grabbed a goal each as the defence were proving unbeatable and unforgiving. All players got games on Friday with Alex Brady, Claudia Burke, Annabel Fitzpatrick and Shauna Gilsenan contributing to the campaign. Confidence was high in the camp on Friday evening with another group match on Saturday morning to be followed by a quarter final in the afternoon.
Saturday started as Friday finished with a laboured victory over the host club Castleisland Desmonds on their home ground by 2-5 to 0-2. The goal scorers were Grace Smith and county star Aisling Walls. The talk around Kerry was starting about the Cavan girls who had won three out of three in the group stages without really being challenged. The scores were being racked up and the defence was proving to be the meanest in the competition with Eva Sheils, Clodagh Kennedy and Grainne Cahill in the full back line being extra special. Goalkeeper Joanne Reilly was proving to be unbeatable and her kickouts were supreme. The young guns Emma Comaskey, Aoibheann Morrison, Katie Lynch and Maeve Young were showing their true worth to the squad as the games were progressing, doing all that was asked of them and more.
Saturday afternoon meant a trip to Farranfore to play another Kerry team Milltown/Listry in the quarter-final. The trip would inform all present as to what the Killygarry girls were made off. With all injuries looked after and led by the indispensable Amy Galligan, they had an impressive victory by 3-4 to 1-2. The deadly duo of Ally Cahill and Aisling Walls did all the damage. It was clear now that this team meant business and it was noted that they were carrying out their business off the field just as professionally as what was being done on the field. The tactical awareness of the sweeper system being employed and carried out by the unassuming football and camogie star Eimear Cahill was a joy to all who witnessed it. The hard working Mollie Mai O’Meara at midfield was coming to the fore. The half back line of Cara Thomson, Kaoini Tuipalatou and the stopper supreme Maria Lovett were now excelling. The semi-final awaited.
Sunday morning in Tralee and another Kerry side Abbeydourney awaited. The Kerry fans had heard of Killygarry but didn’t really look past the local lassies who sensed a final was theirs. The lassies from Killygarry now believed an All –Ireland title was within their grasp. A victory 1-5 to 0-2 resulted. Aoife Lovett who looked doubtful through injury on Saturday grabbed the goal. Scenes of excitement greeted the final whistle as Killygarry had reached the final. History beckoned – the highest grade victory for a Cavan side was there to be grabbed.
Austin Stack Park in Tralee was the venue as Killygarry faced Kilcullen from Kildare with their county stars. Nerves were visible as the game commenced under extremely windy conditions. Against the wind, Killygarry managed 2 points from Aisling Walls and the extremely hard working Deirbhla Lynch. Kilcullen amassed 0-3 in the first half but Killygarry had withstood the pressure against a very strong wing and an impressive Kilcullen outfit. The second half started and Killygarry were much more comfortable playing with the wind. Aoife Lovett moved out to the wing forward position and created a new dimension to the Cavan girls attack. She bagged a goa and Killygarry now led 1-2 to 0-3. The Kilcullen girls were not for giving up and pulled back a goal – Killcullen 1-3, Killygarry 1-2. Killygarry were shell-shocked but this team are never beaten. There were leaders throughout the team and they all stood tall and battled hard. Another Aoife Lovett goal was followed by a point from Ally Cahill to finish 2-4 to 1-3 and Cavan had its champions. There were heroes all over the pitch and it would be unfair to single anyone out. Amy Galligan lifted the cup to tremendous applause and excitement. What a weekend, what a group. Well done to all involved.
The squad was: Joanne Reilly, Ava Sheils, Annabel Fitzpatrick, Grainne Cahill, Clodagh Kennedy, Maria Lovett, Aisling Cahill, Alex Brady, Kaoini Tuipilatou, Cara Thompson, Aisling Walls, Ally Cahill, Grace Smith, Amy Galligan, Faith Galligan, Shauna Gilsenan, Deirbhla Lynch, Aoife Lovett, Mollie O’Meara, Claudia Burke, Aoibheann Morrison, Katie Lynch, Maeve Young, Emma Comaskey and Emer Cahill.