U14's win League with 100 % winning record

29 June 2011
St Agnes's / Eire Og U 14's beat Lamh Dearg last night in a League decider at Parc Naomh Una to wrap up the U 14 League title with one game to spare and a 100% winning record.
 
Sometimes you get what you deserve and last night we thoroughly deserved to become Champions, the boys have worked hard all year and played with a style and an attitude which has been great to watch. Respect Enjoyment and Commitment is what it says on their shirts and the guys have shown those attributes all year round.
 
 This is all very emotional and sentimental, I will be told, for after all it is only a game. That is also true, but for me there is no better game. It is truly our own and we should be thankful to see it played so well and so honestly by our own teams.
 
Holidays robbed us of 4 regular starters in the team - Dominic Lynn, Conor Mc Gowan, Odharan Mc Geough and Matt Hamill -and 4 U12's came in to take their place with John Mc Caffery and Gavin Donnelly starting and Luke O'Donnell and Paddy Mulgrew on the line.
 
Early scores from Conal O' Neill and John Mc Caffery helped push us into an early lead and as the first half wore on further scores from Conal Turley, Manus Kearney and Caomhain Daykin kept the score board ticking over.
 
At midfield Conal and Caomhain have dominated in every league game we have played this year and last night was no exception, the two guys were competitive, hard running and intelligent with the ball.
 
In front of them Conal O' Neill gave a fantastic Man of the Match performance and contributed to the scoreboard at regular intervals. Manus continues to get better on the half forward line and Jordan Mc Donagh and Darragh Hamilton have become visibly more self confident over the past few weeks.
 
In the full forward role, Connor Gilligan showed great character to recover from the disappointment of seeing a great shot rebound off the bar to claim a good point moments later. While John Mc Caffery brings a keen football brain to this level with all the ease he has shown at U12 all season.
 
At half time we led 1-11 to no score which is a tribute to everyone and the effort they put in. Anytime Lamh Dearg came forward, the tackling from Kevin Mc Cann, Ruari Mc Elroy and John Mulgrew on the half back line was tremendous as was their distribution and carrying of the ball into Lamh Dearg territory, with Kevin making some fantastic runs forward.
 
In goal Ben Mc Garrigle had by far his best game of the season and he made two great saves, one in each half and was assured under the high ball all night. In front of Ben, Cronin Rodgers and Stephen Erskine were again excellent and they have been the cornerstone of the meanest full back line in the league this season. Gavin Donnelly in his first start filled in for Conor Mc Gowan who is off in Florida and had a top class match.
 
Throughout the second half the boys kept the scoreboard moving and it is a credit to their coaches Philip and Barney, that they have learned from the St Malachy's game a couple of weeks ago to take points and stretch their lead rather than go for goals. Last Saturday’s shooting practice with Kevin Burke paid dividends as both Conal's, Caomhain, Conor, and Manus took great scores throughout the second half.
 
Luke O' Donnell and Paddy Mulgrew came on in the second half as subs and contributed brilliantly indeed we finished the game with 4 U12's on the field and still managed to beat Lamh Dearg, who have been dominant at this grade for some years, by 2-18 to 2-1.
 
It was a great night and the boys were a credit to their families, their clubs, their coaches Philip and Barney and to themselves. For many of the guys this will be their last year at U14 and they will be moving onto new challenges, not only in football but in life.
 
 School gets a little more important as O 'Level courses begin; football too gets a little tougher as they step up to U16. But what they have achieved this year will stand them in good stead.
 
They looked all challengers squarely in the eye, stepped up and beat them all. Self belief comes from knowing that you can achieve, knowing that inside you is the ability to keep going. In a season where every boy played in every game, we have learned to trust ourselves, trust our team mates and always the message is the same: Respect Enjoyment Commitment.
A great finale to a fantastic league campaign. Now we can look forward to the Championship.
All the photos from last night’s game can be seen in the Gallery. Scroll down to Juvenile Football 2011 and click on U14’s League Champions 2011.