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30 Jun 2015 by Gilbert Williams

Our U14’s travelled to Co. Antrim to participate in this year’s Feile Competition, departing from Cloughjordan at 6am on Friday 19th June last. We arrived that afternoon to a huge welcome from our host club, Loughgiel Shamrocks, which was followed by refreshments in their Clubhouse. There were 3 teams in our Group, St Fiachra’s of Kilkenny, Dunloy of Antrim and Loughgiel Shamrock’s of Antrim.
The first match on the Friday afternoon was against St Fiachras of Kilkenny, goalkeeper Orla Molloy captained the team in their first Feile match. Louise Torpey opened the scoring in the first few minutes with a goal, which was followed by some good scores from the opposition leaving the half -time score Kilruane 1-0, St Fiachra’s 1-03. The second half resumed with some great play from Bonnie Conroy, but St Fiachras kept the pressure on our backs in which they scored a further 1-02. Mickela McGrath finished our first game with a goal to leave the full time score Kilruane 2-0, St Fiachras 2-05.
Our 2nd match on Friday afternoon was against Dunloy of Antrim. Captained by Emma Cleary, the girls had settled well at this stage and there was some good scoring in this match. Half-time score Kilruane 1-03 (by Laura Shinners) Dunloy 1-0. A further two points in the second half by Laura Shinners ensured victory for Kilruane. Full time score Kilruane 1-06, Dunloy 1-0
Later that evening, following these two matches, all teams, mentors and families retreated to the Millennium Centre for a sit down meal which was hugely welcomed. The players then left to go to their host families for the weekend.

Saturday morning was an early start again as our first match was at 10.30am against our hosts Loughgiel Shamrocks. Mickela McGrath captained the team for this final round match. However we had no answer for this superior team. Half time score Loughgiel 2-05, Kilruane 0-0. A goal in the second half by Abigail Quinlivan got the Kilruane girls on the scoreboard. Full Time score Kilruane 1-0, Loughgiel Shamrocks 4-07.
Kilruane secured a place in the Shield Quarter Final, where at this stage it was onto the bus and off to Ballycastle where we played Athenry of Galway . Captain for this match was Bonny Conroy. Kilruane got off to a great start with a goal from Laura Shinners, followed by four points from Laura Shinners to leave the half time score Kilruane 1-04, Athenry 0-0. The break at half time did Athenry the power of good as this team came out in the second half hungry for victory, and scored 3 unanswered points . Louise Torpey then got a lovely point but this was followed shortly by a goal from Athenry. As full-time neared, Kilruane were two points up and Athenry threw everything at our goalkeeper Orla Molloy in the dying minutes but Orla made some super saves. A lovely point by Katie O Meara finished the game with the full time score Kilruane 1-06, Athenry 1-03.
These two matches brought hurling to a conclusion for a second day and Kilruane were looking forward to Day 3, having reached the Division 1 Shield Semi-final. On Saturday evening the players attended Mass in the local church where all girls wore their club gear. After Mass, Kilruane MacDonaghs, Loughgiel Shamrocks Camogie, Padraig Pearse’s of Galway and Loughgiel Shamrock’s Hurlers paraded down to the Club House.
Saturday night was a great social occasion in Loughgiel Shamrocks Club house. The Chairperson of Loughgiel Shamrocks welcomed all and spoke about the great tradition they had down through the years with Kilruane MacDonaghs. Loughgiel Shamrock’s Chairman made a beautiful presentation to our own Club Chairman Joe Cahill, which Joe did likewise. Joe Cahill thanked Loughgiel Shamrocks for hosting us and invited their club down to Kilruane MacDonaghs next year to participate in the commeration of the 1916 Easter Rising.

At 8.30am on Sunday morning, everyone departed for Eoghan Beag in Derry for the Semi Final where we met Craanford of Wexford. Amy Hill was captain for this semi-final fixture. Kilruane opened the scoring with a goal from Laura Shinners which was followed by a point from Mickela McGrath. Three more points from Laura Shinners and another point from Louise Torpey and a point from the opposition leaving the half time score Kilruane 2-05 Cranford 0-01. Craanford came out in the 2nd half and scored 2-01 unanswered. Laura Shinners sustained a serious shoulder injury in the 2nd half which ruled her out of the rest of the weekend fixtures. Kilruane managed to hold on and win the semi-final on a final scoreline of Kilruane 2-05 Craanford 2-02.

At this stage of the weekend, there was a lot of weary bodies but the spirits were high as Kilruane were to contest the Division 1 Shield Final: v Ballycastle of Antrim. Captain Laura Shinners, though injured, led her team out on the field for the final. Mickela McGrath opened the scoreline with a point. However a strong Ballycastle team scored 2 goals leaving the half time score, Kilruane 0-01, Ballycastle 2-0. Exhaustion began to takes it toll on the Kilruane girls in the second half as they had no answer for the Ballycastle girls who scored a further 2-03. Louise Torpey took our only score in the 2nd half before she picked up an ankle injury. Further injuries in the 2nd half saw Bonnie Conroy and Cliodhna Nevin also having to be replaced. Ballycastle ran out Shield Winners on a scoreline of Kilruane 0-02, Ballycastle 4-03.

This was a marvellous achievement for this bunch of girls to contest the Shield Final. It was a hugely enjoyable weekend and the host club Loughgiel Shamrocks looked after everyone so well. Congratulations to Loughgiel Shamrocks on winning the Division 1 Cup final for the 2nd year in a row. Loughgiel Shamrock’s provided a Guard of Honour for the Kilruane contingent as they left Derry tired, sore, disappointed but full or great memories. Thanks is extended to the Manager Kieran Nevin, Mentors, Michelle Shinners, Sarah Coonan, Kieran Cahill and Jack Peters for all their help and dedication shown to this wonderful group of girls. We would also like to thank our bus Driver for the weekend, Kevin McAteer.