Sometimes ideas born out of madness prove to be the most successful ones….and this proved true of the U15 Skerries Harps Camogie. Following a discussion, it was decided to enter a camogie team into Feile, this may not seem unusual other than the fact that we do not have an u15 camogie team. In fact, only a total of 10 girls plays camogie at this age, and they compete with the u16 girls in that year’s competitions. Ashout went out to the football team and 3 brave ladies accepted the challenge to help out their team mates so that we could continue in the quest to enter into Feile, so huge thanks to Niamhie Feehily, Fiadh Butler and Saoirse Dillon, however 13 girls isn’t enough. So, in true Skerries Harps form the u14 team offered 6 girls to play up and an u15 camogie Feile team was born.
The girls were drawn to play in Lucan Sarsfield’s, who had kindly agreed to host the qualifying rounds. The girls were to compete against Naomh Olaf’s, Lucan Sarsfield’s and our near neighbours Round Towers Lusk, in the round robin stages. So, following an early meetup for the usual photo at the clubhouse on a chilly Saturday morning the girls left the Harps in convoy to take to the field in Lucan. We were not due to play until the second match and the girls danced and sang away while waiting for the start of their 1st match. Once they were called to the pitch all the dancing stopped and they set out on their mission to qualify for initially the semi-finals stage. They hooked and blocked in true Harps style and were very tough competitors against the Olaf girls. They won this match on a score line of 2-02-0-00, which saw scores from, Niamhie Feehily (goal), Chelsi Holland(01) Nicole Sheridan(01) Lara Whelan (goal). And so, the girls started to dream…….
Following another break which saw hairstyles been amended and even more dancing and singing the ref blew the whistle for the second match against the hosts of Lucan Sarsfield’s, who had huge support on the side-line. This match would prove to be a whole lot tougher. It was a must win match for the Lucan girls, who had already lost their opening fixture. The girls harried all over the field in what sometimes was a very physical tussle, but the fact that the girls had played for the past year in the u16 competitions stood to them. They were not going to be pushed around on the pitch, and on a few occasions both sides had girls’ names taken, but they carried on and came out victorious on a tight score line of 2-03 – 2-02Lara Whelan (goal), Chelsi Holland (0-01), Nicole Sheridan(0-01) Rebecca Beggs (1-01). The Harps girls now had 2 wins from 2 and at this stage we were through to the semi-final stage. The mentor team met and took a decision to rest a few of the starting team to give them a chance to rest their tired legs in order to have them for the semi-final.
The next match was against our close neighbours Lusk, again another good match took place, which saw what nearly was the goal of the day from Alice Horne, who having won the ball carried it forward and following a good hook from a Lusk girl Alice put the ball to the ground and kicked it where it missed the goal by the narrowest of margins. The final score was Skerries Harps 0-04 – 2-01 Lusk a small margin of 3 points, and so we packed up and headed out to Round Towers Clondalkin for the semi-final against Erin Go Bragh who had topped their group with 3 wins from 3.
We only had 10 minutes to prepare the girls for the semi-final, but this did not hamper the girls, they started off fast and were unlucky not to convert a score very early. The girls were extremely tired having already played 3 matches but kept pushing on. This was always going to be a tough match, as everyone knows semi-finals are tough, neither side wants to give an inch….we got the first score from Chelsi Holland who slotted over a point and another point from Lara Whelan, Erin go Bragh responded with a point, and this would remain the score line to the end. It was a very physical battle with everyone having to win their individual battles. The girls remained strong to the end, but we were all delighted to hear the final whistle….and so the dream continued……
Following little sleep, especially for the mentors, who were nearly more nervous than the girls and a lot of sorting and resorting of the team sheet, to take account of the walking wounded at this stage…the girls were on the pitch at Trinity Sports Grounds to compete in the Camogie Feile final v Round Towers Clondalkin. With the rain literally bucketing down on top of us, we carried out running repairs on very tired legs, sore arms and shoulders, but with great spirit the girls were ready. The whistle sounded and the final started, we gained possession and doggedly tried to score but no matter how hard they tried the ball seemed to stick to the posts, the goalie’s hurley it just wouldn’t go in…tension rose on the side-line, was the dream going to end in tears….but no Chelsi Holland stepped up to take a 45 and with huge accuracy she scored, our nerves settled a little. We had further scores from Nicole Sheridan, Robyn Kehoe and another beautifully taken free from Chelsi Holland. On the halftime whistle we were however down on a score line of 0-04 – 1-03, a 2-point deficit. The girls ran in to the line, a bit deflated and following a few words of encouragement and a little bit of hard talking the match resumed…. With all the side-line encouraging the girls on, the score was brought back to a 1 point gamefollowing a well taken Chelsi Holland free….another point was tagged on from a free again by Chelsi Holland and it was all level….with huge tension to be felt we all shouted out words of encouragement, in what seemed like the longest time ever Fiadh Butler whacked a lovely ground shot into the back of the Clondalkin net, the Clondalkin girls kept going with our girls taking and giving massive challenges, and with the final line getting nearer, the Harps got a free, which with all the composure of TJ Reid, Rebecca Beggs stepped up and slotted it over, with a 2 score cushion the side line started to relax a bit….following questions shouted to the ref about what the time was and a quick witted reply from the other side line to be informed it was 1.30….the ref finally blew the whistle…and the dream became real…The u15 team that had trained only for 2 weeks together had won Feile…all the tiredness miraculously disappeared…. Final score line Skerries Harps 1-07 Round Towers Clondalkin 1-03. It is always easy to see and name the girls who score, but none of this can happen without dogged defending and working the ball out from your own half to get the ball to the scorers, and this was carried out beautifully over the 2 days by Caela Duncan, Lily Nealon, Enya Finn and Saoirse Dillon they worked tirelessly to get it to the halfback line of Roisin Canavan, Rebecca Beggs, Cathy Weldon, Ellen Ryan, Tessa Gormley. The 2 girls who held the midfield over the course of the 2 days and 5 matches were Chelsi Holland and Nicole Sheridan, our half forward line was made up of Robyn Kehoe, Alice Horne, Lara Whelan, Millie Levins, Hannah Coakley, the full forward line of Fiadh Butler, Niamhie Feehily, Grace Kehoe.
And so what started as a mad idea ended in a dream win…this was done mainly by a core group of girls who believed they cold win and a dedicated team of mentors in Gary Whelan,Anthony Holland, Oonagh Ward, Paul Lockhart, John Ward and Michel Donoghue, to our irreplaceable backup team of Maura Beggs, Sharon and Noel Feehily we must say a huge thanks to the team sponsor Aramex logistics, to all the support from the parents and especially to all of those who travelled out on both days to support this great bunch of girls!! Sometimes it ok to take a risk and dream big…..so so proud of you all!!!
Back row: Gary Whelan Anto Holland Robyn Kehoe Lily Nealon Rebecca Beggs Fiadh Butler Alice Horne Tessa Gormley Caela Duncan Saoirse Dillon Millie Levins, Enya Finn Ellie Ryan Maura Beggs, Grace Kehoe, Oonagh Ward Front row Nicole Sheridan Cathy Weldon Lara Whelan Chelsi Holland Niamhie Feehily Roisin Canavan Hannah Coakley