Steelstown Brian Og’s GAA club hosted an U12 girls blitz on Sunday 20th October, 2013, with participation from guest teams representing St Eunan’s Letterkenny, Buncrana and Claudy.
Just as the girls were assembling at the club a torrential downpour caused a few worried frowns but thankfully the sun came out and brightened up the day, which then remained dry through to the end of proceedings. Format of the Blitz was 9-a-side Go Games, two touches, with teams playing in separate groups on two marked-out pitches.
The home squad was divided into two evenly matched teams, Steelstown and Brian Og’s each with 3 subs so that all girls got match time against the guest clubs (Letterkenny split their squad into two teams as well to ensure all their participating girls got game time).
On pitch 1, Steelstown had a lively opener against Buncrana. Caitlin Gallagher opened the days scoring in the first half with a fine goal from the hand after pouncing on a wayward strike attempt from Catherine McGuigan (or maybe she meant it…ed!) and with a brace of points from Maeve Mooney, one each from Catherine McGuigan and Caitlin Gallagher against a point from the guest team.
With goalie Riona and defenders Niamh Doherty, Orlaith McGough and Anna O’Hagan providing a ring of steel in the Steelstown defence, the Buncrana keeper herself made had to make two spectacular saves to keep Maeve Mooney at bay towards the end of the half – keeping them from falling too far behind and giving them some confidence going into the break.
Buncrana building on this then smashed back at the Steelstown girls in the second half with three nice goals, giving the host side something to ponder, but despite coach Eunan shouting do one thing and coach Paul shouting do another, Steelstown eventually crossed the line in the closing stages with a goal from Catherine McGuigan, a brilliant long range goal from Niamh Friel (obviously gets it from her Mother) and an even more special goal from Maeve Mooney whipped in from wide right. Defensive protection from sub Laura Smailles, attacking backup from subs Cara Laverty and Kate Gallagher and further points from Maeve and Niamh Friel (definitely the mother!) gave the Steelstown girls an opening 4:6 to 3:1 victory and the supporters breathed a sigh of relief and hurriedly went to replace their fingernails before the next match (they went to get a cup of coffee – ed).
At the same time as Steelstown was playing Buncrana, over on Pitch 2 St Eunan’s of Letterkenny opened against a very strong Claudy side.
A great goal and a brace of points from the Letterkenny girls was countered by some determined play and scoring from the hungry Claudy side (they really did mean business –warning, warning, action stations, brace positions everybody else) and they finished out on top of this match with an impressive opening win. This was a great football game between the two guest teams – well done!
Next up, the Brian Og’s team took to the field on pitch 2 for their first game, against St Eunan’s of Letterkenny, ably guided by their coaches Sara and her lovely assistant, James (sorry, couldn’t resist – ed). First half was busy for the fresh Og’s with Letterkenny points stirring goals from Aoife Collins (3), Elle O’Kane (2), Dearbhla Mooney and Evie Doherty plus a rash of points from Aoife (3), Dearbhla (3) and Elle to give the Brian Og’s a solid start.
Half-time entertainment was provided by a penalty shoot-out between Aoife Collins and Evie’s dad. However, an unfortunate injury was sustained when Aoife belted the ball a little too hard. For data privacy reasons we can’t say what bit was injured (but there was a round of applause and a chorus of jingle bells from the supporters and Evie’s dad spoke a few octaves higher for the rest of the day – ed)
Dearbhla (2), Evie(2) and Elle added further goals in reply to a very good goal from the Letterkenny side but a tireless shift from Grace Flynn-Page, Cara Willimson, Eilish Matthews and Connie Roarty helped seal an opening win for the home side.
Meanwhile on Pitch 1, Buncrana and Claudy played out another great game of football with the free scoring Claudy side overcoming a hat-trick of goals and points with an impressive tally of their own (there’s trouble ahead!!!!).
A short break for some refreshments was followed by a couple of cracking games. On pitch 1 Letterkenny came up against Buncrana and the Donegal sides served up a goal thriller, with a refreshed but goal-hungry Buncrana side running out winners.
At the same time on Pitch 2 a special treat was being served up by a Steelstown/Brian Og’s team against the Blitz’s high-goal scorers of the day so far, Claudy.
This game was a tight, fingernail biting, one of those get the supporters bouncing up and down and all excited and noisy etc. etc. affair. In the first half the Steelstown girls replied to a hat-trick of goals and very strong start from Claudy with a goal from Aoife Collins and a tally of four points from Catherine McGuigan. A score of 1-4 to 3-0 at half time left the Steelstown girls a couple of points adrift. In the second half, with the Steelstown girls anchored by those three Amigos again (Niamh Doherty, Niamh Gilmore and Niamh Friel), the two teams traded end-to-end football and cancelled each other out in goals and points, with goals from Aoife Collins and Maeve Mooney and points from Catherine McGuigan and Aoife Collins snuffed out by similar scoring from the Claudy girls. The Steelstown girls came close to stealing a close encounter when what looked to be a brilliant long range goal from Catherine McGuigan from midfield was disallowed and a separate follow-up strike from Maeve Mooney was adjudged not to have crossed the line – close call, but the disciplined Claudy side kept their nerves and held out, so the game finished a 3-6 to 5-2 win for the guest team. Special thanks to the girls for this game which was a cracking game to watch – the effort put into it by the girls on both teams was something very special and very appreciated.
Two final games remained for the now tiring U12 girls. On Pitch 2, the Brian Og’s team finished off their Blitz day against Buncrana and it was Niamh Gilmore who opened the scoring with a goal and point for the Og’s before Aoife Collins quickly got busy and demonstrated that she meant business with an accomplished hat-trick of goals.
The Buncrana side was not going to lie down and replied with a couple of nice goals and a tally of 5 points themselves, but a goal and point from Elle O’Kane eased the strain for the Brian Og’s team somewhat. The second half belonged to Buncrana with three good goals and a couple of points scored, but a further goal and three points from Aoife plus a point from Hannah Lang kept the Og’s girls noses out in front……another nice game of football from both teams.
On Pitch 1, the Steelstown team finished off their Blitz day against Letterkenny. Riona Harkin began proceedings with a brace of well taken points. A point from Letterkenny spurred the home side on to a hat-trick of points from Catherine McGuigan and a fine goal from Caitlin Gallagher and Maeve Mooney signalled she was not yet finished with a good goal before the half came to a close. Second half and the Steelstown girls ramped through the gears with goal-fest from Niamh Friel (2), Nicole Campbell (2), Cara Laverty (2), Maeve Mooney, Catherine McGuigan and Caitlin Gallagher and points from Cara Laverty and Catherine McGuigan.
All the girls from all teams, host and guest served up a special day of football – teamwork, great ball skills and competitive but friendly games enjoyed by all coaches, parents and supporters alike. Each and every girl who participated received a gold medal and deserved it as they are all winners.
Congratulations to Claudy for their clean sweep of victories on the day – well done. Thanks to all guest coaches and their teams for taking time out to participate in what was a successful Blitz. During and after the Blitz folks piled into the clubhouse where Mary, Susan, Carol, and Tracey ran a tight ship and worked hard in the kitchen, baking and serving hot drinks and food through the day to the hungry hoards – fantastic!
Special thanks to all parents and friends (Ex-coaches) and other Steelstown girls club team players who helped out with the games – preparing pitch, referring, scorekeeping and the parents for providing such lovely food.
Steelstown Brian Og’s squad:
Riona Harkin; Niamh Doherty; Orlaith McGough; Anna O’Hagan; Catherine McGuigan; Niamh Friel; Maeve Mooney; Nicole Campbell; Caitlin Gallagher; Cara Laverty; Lara Smailles; Kate Gallagher; Hannah Lang; Connie Roarty; Niamh Rankin; Evie Doherty; Niamh Gilmore; Aoife Collins; Dearbhla Mooney; Elle O’Kane; Cara Williamson; Grace Flynn-Page; Eilish Matthews
Check out all our photos from the day: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.660077134032723.1073741848.181938471846594&type=1