Féile Shield success for camogie players
Féile na nGael: Aughrim Camogie Club
Over two decades since their last Féile appearance, an Aughrim camogie team departed the Granite City last weekend seeking success with a squad of 20 players and two unable to travel left cheering them on behind.
The very excited group of camogie players departed Aughrim on Friday morning for Clonakilty who were hosting them, and it was straight into the action with games against Bandon (Cork) and St Kevin's (Louth).
Aughrim defeated Bandon by 7-6 to 1-0 with Aoife Campbell and Ciara O'Brien dominating and playing great passes into the forwards where Ciara Connolly finished with 2-3.
The second match against St Kevin's of Louth proved altogether trickier with the sides tied at 2-1 apiece at the break but the Co. Wicklow team emerged victorious on a score of 3-1 to 2-2 with the defenders performing heroically.
On to Saturday then where Aughrim faced their host club, Clonakilty. This was a make or break game and Aughrim got off to a great start and went in leading by 2-1 to 0-1.
The home side started brightly and were within a point with three minutes remaining but a goal from Aoife Campbell and a point from Ciara Connolly saw Aughrim through by 3-3 to 2-1.
Due to Féile rules, Aughrim were placed in the Shield side of the competition so it was on to Ballyvourney for the next adventure.
Emma's Keenan started to grab the attention during the next game, against Castleblayney on Saturday afternoon, where a late 1-1 from the attacker helped Aughrim through to the semi-final against Mullaghbawn of Armagh at noon on Sunday.
A 4-7 to 0-1 victory sealed Aughrim's place in the final with hailstones and wind descending on the party as they made their way to the venue for the all-important decider.
That final was against Tyrone's Edendork and Aughrim got off to a superb start with their high skill level to the fore and allowing them to get on top of a rugged Tyrone outfit. Aughrim took a 1-3 to 1-0 lead into the break.
A disallowed goal in the second half started the tide turning against Aughrim but goalkeeper Bea clancy produced a wonder save to swing the game back in Aughrim's favour and the Co. Wicklow side triumphed by 1-5 to 1-1 on a marvellous day for the Granite City.
Tears and hugs were the call of the day and the joy on the Aughrim girls' faces said it all.
Joint captain Aoife Campbell and Ciara O'Brien received the Shield trophy and medals as cameras flashed and an opportunistic ice-cream van driver pulled in to catch the delighted group on the hop and make a few bob for himself as the celebrations unfolded.
The bus journey home was a very happy one with a pit stop in Dungarvan at McDonalds going down a treat.
As the triumphant party were making their way homeward, their club colleagues and fellow villagers were putting the homecoming plan into action and the girls landed into Aughrim at 8.15pm where a wonderful crowd had turned out with the Michael Dwyer Pipe Band ready for the girls to parade up the street.
The young camogie players were amazed and thrilled to see so many supporters on the street where kind words were spoken by the Aughrim Camogie Club Chairman and the Wicklow County Chairman.
Aughrim panel: Bea Clancy, Chloe Dore, Ciara O'Byrne, Leah O'Hare, Chloe Sheehy, Holly Byrne, Rebecca McCarthy, Aoife Campbell, Ciara O'Brien, Willow Jordan, Ciara Connolly, Emma Keenan, Holly Wilson, Niamh Whelan, Aimee Clancy, Sophie McCarthy, Sarah Downes, Tara Carroll, Hannah Alexander, Maja Majewska. Unable to attend in Cork were Iona McKenna and Zoe O'Connor.
Management team: Annette Keenan, Rory Connolly, Rachel Campbell and Noeleen Whelan.
A huge thanks is offered by the girls and management to their host families and their parents and supporters.