THE UNDER-14 Roinn 2 league final was as exciting as an All-Ireland as parents and supporters gathered on a lovely warm summer's evening in Monageer to cheer on Marshalstown and new kids on the block Kilmore/Rosslare who were contesting their first ever county decider.
This was a special event for the youngsters whose club only formed two years ago, and great credit goes to the mentors who have steered the girls to a final at this early stage.
Both teams put on a great display of camogie and with Marshalstown opening up quite a lead at half-time (4-2 to 1-2), it looked as if it was going to be a baptism of fire. Great credit is due to Kilmore/Rosslare though as they dug deep and clawed back the scores to get to within two points of the winners in the end.
Marshalstown opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a goal from Molly Kearns, and Becky Walshe added two points before Kilmore/Rosslare got off the mark with a well-taken free from Emma Bates.
Marshalstown added a further goal in the 16th minute from Erin Kenny, and Kilmore/Rosslare responded with a point from a free by Emma Sinnott who had a great game.
Marshalstown's Becky Walshe netted twice more before Emma Sinnott took a free which bounced on the ground and went in over the keeper's head and ended up in the net in the 25th minute. This saw the sides go in at half-time with Marshalstown ahead by three goals.
Kilmore/Rosslare started their comeback a minute into the second-half when Cathy O'Connor popped a '45 over the bar. O'Connor was on hand again four minutes later when she sent a long ball in towards goal and it landed in the net.
Marshalstown's Becky Walsh found the net again to stretch their lead but a resilient Kilmore/Rosslare kept working away. After a nice piece of work by Orla Fortune and Rachel Brady, the latter sent the ball into Cathy O'Connor who goaled again in the 40th minute to close the gap.
Marshalstown tried hard to work further scores but Kilmore/Rosslare defended strongly they found the net again just coming up to full-time, with Amy Cousins picking up a nice ball in from Emma Bates and finishing well.
Kilmore/Rosslare were very unlucky at the end when a free by Cathy O'Connor struck the crossbar as Marshalstown held on for victory. It was a game that had everything and the excitement coming up to the final whistle was palpable.
A delighted Marshalstown captain, Emma Leacy, accepted the trophy from Co. Treasurer Rose Breen who congratulated both teams on an excellent performance and a very entertaining match, and she wished them the best of luck in the championship.
Marshalstown: Clodagh Roche; Niamh Finn, Meabhdh Farrell, Anna Morris; Sinéad Morrissey, Emma Leacy (capt.), Lucy Kehoe; Chloe Davis, Erin Kenny (0-1); Molly Kearns (1-0), Becky Walshe (3-2), Lauren Finn; Anne-Marie Redmond, Sarah Roche, Eimear Doyle; Stacey Breen, Eimear Ryan, Grace Kehoe.
Kilmore/Rosslare: Katie Daly; Ciara Butler, Shannon Moran, Siadbh Sheil; Imogen Fanning, Caitlin Sinnott, Orla Fortune; Cathy O'Connor (1-1, 0-1 '45), Emma Cousins; Amy Cousins (1-0), Emma Bates (1-1), Emma Sinnott (1-1); Niamh Berry, Aishling Gouldson, Rachel Brady; Saoirse Foley, Olivia McDonnell, Carla Howlin, Saoirse McDonald, Meigen Rossiter, Chloe Reddy-Murphy, Amy Mulligan.
Referee: John O'Rourke (Shamrocks).
New Ross Standard