LADIES GAA | Geraldines girls crowned U14 Féile Shield winners

Haggardstown club enjoy a memorable weekend in Fermanagh

The Geraldines panel celebrate with the U14 Feile Shield

The Geraldines U14 girls panel returned to Haggardstown early on Sunday evening with the Division Five Shield in their possession after a magnificent couple of days at the John West Féile na nÓg in Fermanagh.

Their victory over Killinkere earlier in the day ensured the club a place in the history books as the first girls team from Co Louth to win a trophy at the national GAA festival.

And, speaking to Dundalk Sport on Sunday evening, manager Fintan Reilly paid tribute to the side for their efforts over the three days of competition.

“We took 27 players and myself, Colin McArdle, Caoimhe Byrne, Susan McGeough and Aidan Stewart are so proud of what they achieved,” he said.
“The girls will have memories of this weekend forever. We were based in Kinawley and they were unbelievable hosts, absolutely amazing, and everybody had a great time.
The Geraldines panel that travelled to the 2017 Feile in Fermanagh
“To come home with a trophy is fantastic and is something the team will never forget. We were laughing earlier that there’ll be a 25-year reunion about this when they’ll all be here with their own kids going through the memories.”

The Gers opened with two straight victories on Friday, recording a 3–1 to 2–2 win over St Brigid’s GAC and following it up with a stunning 5–7 to 0–2 victory over St Finbar’s.

A win against hosts Kinawley Brian Borus on Saturday would have ensured the girls a place in the latter stages of the Cup competition and two excellent goals from Neasa Reilly and Zoe McGahon left the Gers just two points behind at the break, 3–2 to 2–3, but they lost goalkeeper Kerry Anne Darcy with a sprained ankle.

With a strong wind at their backs in the second-half, Kinawley finished strongly, running out 7–3 to 2–3 winners which meant the Gers missing out by two scores on qualification for the Cup quarter-final!

A place in the Shield quarter-final was the Gers’ reward and they started well against Tyrone outfit Edendork with goals from Faye Tinsley and Meabh Fee propelling them into a 2–3 to 1–0 lead at the break.

Edendork came on strong after the short whistle and almost snatched a last-gasp win when a penalty came back off the woodwork.

However, the Geraldines dug deep and booked a place in the semi-final after securing a nail-biting one-point victory, 2–5 to 2–4, with Neasa Reilly and Chloe Mackin also hitting 0–2 apiece.

“It was a bit of a frantic finish,” said Reilly. “Edendork’s penalty came with about two minutes to go and their goalkeeper came up to take it but, thankfully, she hit the crossbar and the ball bounced back out. We were two ahead at that stage but we should have been out of sight to be honest.”

Co Monaghan side, Latton, lay in wait in the semi-final on Sunday morning but the game was all but put to bed by the half-time whistle as the Geraldines burst from the traps.

Goals from Meabh Fee, Chloe Mackin and Aoife O’Brien, coupled with points from Neasa Reilly and Beth Hughes gave them a commanding 3–2 to no score lead at the interval.

Latton replied with a goal in the second-half but further scores from Mackin (0–2), Fee (1–0), Leah McArdle (1–0), Amy Rodgers (1–0) and Zoe McGahon (0–1) sealed a magnificent 6–5 win and a place against Killinkere in the final at Brewster Park.

The Gers girls saved their best ’til last, putting on a stunning display of football to run out comprehensive winners against the Co Cavan side.

Leading 3–5 to 0–1, the Haggardstown side had one hand on the trophy when the teams turned around and they showed no let up in the second half, adding another 4–6 to their tally to round off a memorable weekend with a 7–11 to 0–1 win.

The travelling party was met by family members and supporters on their return to Haggardstown before Geraldines Ladies chairman Brian Cafferty congratulated all involved for their magnificent achievement.

The victorious Gers team celebrate after arriving back in Haggardstown
“There are a lot of people who we would like to thank for their efforts and sponsorship,” said Reilly. “ The club took part in a lot of fundraising and without it and the support of our sponsors, this would not have been possible.
“A big thank you must go to Dermot McElroy from Heat Pumps Ireland, The Fees from Maxol on the Dublin Road and Tom Rodgers Dental over in Blackrock.
“Blackrock AC and Horseware were also very kind with donations and the kit from CX+Sport looked fantastic. Last, but not least, a huge word of thanks to our bus driver, Dessie Todd, who was one of the unsung heroes of the weekend.”
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