EARLY Sunday morning at Faughs Celtic. The sun was splitting the sliotars. The Ball Wall was already busy. Clayton Court.
The SI Cafe at the clubhouse was serving the coffee and treats. And in Tymon Park, children filled the playground and watched the ducks.
There’s a tree with hurls and a sliotar woven into the timber. And Faughs and Celtic are two names that go deep into the stitching of the small ball in the city.
They were hosting St Jude’s in Group B of the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Camogie Championship. Jude’s, the champions of Dublin. From just over the hedge. Making their shortest trip of the season.
Ger Delaney was the referee. And he soon he had the game flowing like the traffic on the M50 which was beside the pitch.
Jude’s were quickly purring. Like a Jaguar. On their way to a handsome victory, 3-17 to 0-7. They made the game look simple. Like the Limerick hurlers, they let the ball do the talking. From deep defence. Working the play through the lines. Picking their passes. Finding a shirt.
Hannah Hegarty was in brilliant form. Sharp pace. Quick hands. She pounced so often to win the hard ball and then gave it simple.
Frequently, she surged forward from her centre half-back position. Linking the play. Driving the team forward.
She scored a gorgeous point in the second half. She grabbed the sliotar by the collar and set off. Played a one-two with Sinéad Nolan. And, still in full stride, slotted the ball over the black spot.
That score alone was worth the bus fare to Templeogue. Even the dogs in the park joined in the applause as it whistled over the bar. One of the finest athletes of this city. Long may Hannah cheer up Sunday mornings.
Jude’s were 1-9 to 0-3 ahead at half-time. Hannah Begley got the goal. Jude’s maintained their excellence in the second period. Their second goal arrived ten minutes in. It was another example of how well they use the ball.
Leah Butler passed to Niamh Gannon, and Niamh released Nolan, who sprinted clear and placed a firm shot high to the basket.
It was Caragh Dawson who scored the third goal. As Jude’s continued to empty the bench. Those coming on looking as impressive as the starting 15.
Faughs Celtic contined to jostle for every ball. Especially right half-back, Amber Finnegan, and full-back, Megan Lewis.
Megan made a brilliant block in the second half that got the terraces humming. “Great block, Megan. Well done Megan.”
KERRIE Finnegan of Faughs Celtic and Dublin. She produced two golden moments, and a few more, on Tymon Hill last Sunday morning.
The Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Camogie Championship game against St Jude’s was into the second half. Kerrie was tight to the right sideline on the M50 side of the ground.
The ball came at her with pace. There was hardly a spare yard. But, with one velvet touch, she turned the sliotar into a puppet on a string. And played a clever pass down the line.
She also scored a porcelain point. She was again wide right. The angle was against her. She faced a forest of timber, but she sent the ball soaring, and smiling, over the bar.
Next Sunday, Kerrie, and Faughs Celtic, will travel to St Oliver Plunkett/Eoghan Ruadh. They possess a player that has given sterling service to Plunkett’s and the Dubs, Aisling Carolan.
“It will be another tough one for us,” remarks Faughs Celtic manager, Tommy O’Mahony. “Senior 1 is a high standard, but that’s where you want to be.
“We have a very young team, and it’s great for us to go out against a side like St Jude’s, the county champions. You can only learn from playing a team like that.
“Jude’s are a serious outfit. They are very strong. They have many Dublin players, so all we can do is to take the positives from playing against such a top-class side.
“It’s good to be at this level. That’s where you will learn the most, so we’ll keep learning and moving forward.”
ANOTHER short hop, and another local derby, for the champs next Sunday. St Jude’s will cross the road to meet Ballyboden St Enda’s.
“We are looking forward to that one. It should be a very good game,” states St Jude’s’ Marion O’Donnell. “We were delighted with the performance against Faughs Celtic It was an improvement on our display against Plunkett’s the first day.
“This performance will lift us going into the Boden match. The team is progressing nicely as the season goes on, but we know we’ll have to produce another good display again next week. We have several players involved with the county. That’s a boost. It helps to push things on.
“The Dublin Championship is a very high standard. There are several strong teams that will no doubt be in the shake-up again this season. There’s so many good sides out there.”
And Jude’s are certainly up there among them. In pole position. After their title triumph last season and winning their first Championship in 2018. As well as reaching the final in 2019.
Donie Fox, Martin Clohessy, Ger McManus and Marion manage the side. Jude’s brought much industry to last Sunday’s success. Aisling Gannon thrived at centre half-forward. She created a jewel of a point for Clíodhna Nicoletti. Aisling’s sisters, Claire and Niamh, also left it all out there. As they always do.