Tullogher win U16 C County Title

by on the 7th of December 2023

Tullogher 3-10

Barrow Rangers 3-06

By Tullogher reporter

In what is turning out to be an annus mirabilis for Tullogher Camogie Club, the Roinn C Under 16 Title was secured with an amazing display of flair and panache in front of a huge and expectant attendance this morning in Graiguenamanagh. For over one hour Dr. Tierney Park was transformed into Ice Station Zebra as hot water bottles became the latest must have accessory in the kit bags. The starting time was put back one hour to give the frost which was forecast a chance to thaw. The impenetrable fog enveloping Graiguenamanagh was yet another obstacle to be contended with. Such conditions were hardly conducive to a free flowing game of camogie but if any two teams were going to overcome such odds it was going to be Barrow Rangers and Tullogher. Their previous two meetings this year were played in torrential downpours in St. Kieran’s and Brownstown, with the cailíní in blue emerging victorious on both occasions. Today the extremely challenging underfoot conditions saw players from both sides needing onfield treatment at regular intervals and huge credit must go to all concerned for serving up a ridiculously high standard of camogie.

After Ciara Nolan opened the account for Tullogher, they could’ve been forgiven for experiencing an impending sense of déjà vu as the Barrow Rangers forwards ran at their defensive counterparts and goaled twice from their next two attacks. It was a time for calm heads in the Tullogher defence and as the first half wore on the centre back trio of Saoirse Doherty, Aoife Dooley and Ava O Leary stamped their authority on proceedings, which gave Lily and Aoibheann i lár na páirce ample opportunity to practice their running game, so beloved of both, and deliver the kind of passes which are the stuff of nightmares for defenders. The five point deficit was soon turned on its head as the Tullogher forward line started to click and find their range. Dearbhla Ryan (1-02), Ciara Nolan (1-02) and Aoife Cummins (1-0) made optimum use of their ample possession for the remainder of the first half with the effervescent Lily Ryan ensuring a 100% first half accuracy rate from the two frees she pointed. Dearbhla was very unlucky not to raise a second green flag in the first half, with Rebecca Smith in the goal making an unbelievable save on the line, one of many she’d make as the game wore on.

Barrow Rangers had now entered uncharted waters as the Tullogher girls started to exert increasing control. With the centre back line so dominant and the full back line of Siobhán Handrick, Jane O Shea and Laura Barron hassling and harrying at every available opportunity, the Paulstown/Goresbridge combination opted to take their points and hope for some chink to appear in the Tullogher defensive armour. As the first half was almost up, the girls from the south could feel extremely happy that they had restricted the Blues to just two points despite a less than ideal start. As the first half entered injury time Barrow Rangers were given a free within scoring range. The trajecotry of the sliotar suggested there would soon be a third white flag raised at the Highview End. An unexpected and somewhat fortuitous deflection along the way carried beyond the peerless Aisling Power in the goal. That ensured that the half time score was 3-06 to 3-02, a much more manageable deficit for Barrow Rangers.

With both squads having invested an inhuman amount of effort in producing such an enthralling fare for the first half, it would’ve been no surprise were the tempo to drop somewhat for the second half hour. Whatever positional changes were made in the Barrow Rangers dressing room at half time appeared to work in their favour as it became a much more arduous process to get keep the scoreboard ticking over for the second half as the defences on both sides started to dominate. The importance of making hay from the frees was always going to be a crucial factor in determining the destination of the trophy and so it proved. Lily Ryan pointed three in total for the second half including two from a 45 with Ciara Nolan scoring the final point from a closer range. The two 45s Lily dispatched resulted from two more amazing saves by Rebecca Smith, who gave an impeccable impersonation of Custer’s Last Stand, including a save from a perfect strike from the Rachel Murphy which looked destined for the corner of the net. Barrow Rangers raised four white flags for the second half, as the importance of having a reliable free-taker was resoundingly emphasised. The half-time team talk stressed the importance of making the opposition work for every score and it’s a testament to every black and amber clad stalwart that the lead was maintained for the entire second half, despite the conditions being more conducive to a war of attrition. In truth this advice couldn’t have been more perfectly heeded with star centre forward Clara Walsh ably assisting in the heart of defence when it looked like the Tullogher vessel was in danger of taking too much water on board. Caoimhe Connolly, who started in the full forward position, dropped deeper as the second half wore on and gave Rhianna Scott and then Jessica Smith plenty to ponder in the heart of the Barrow Rangers defence. Special mention must go to her grandmother Irene, who travelled down from Longford to see her granddaughter thrive at playing the sport she loves and excels at.

It would be remiss not to mention the part played by the two subs Isabella Murphy and Maeve Phelan, the latter temporarily replacing the excellent Ava O Leary before switching into the more familiar corner back position. Isabella slotted in seamlessly at corner forward and ensured that once the sliotar was kept among the Tullogher forwards, it would be that little bit more onerous for Rangers to claw back the deficit. There were scenes of unbridled joy as Liz Dempsey’s whistle brought the curtain down on an encounter which will live long in the memory of all associated with camogie in our proud parish, as if their Féile exploits weren’t momentous enough. They may not be finished yet as many of the panel will line out for the minors Sunday coming, at a time and venue yet to be confirmed. On a day when the Christmas lights were switched on in Listerlin, the skies over a murky Graiguenamanagh were illuminated by a dazzling display of skill, team work and never say die attitude. We hope to toast their achievements later on this month at their medal presentation which will be held in Paddy Ryan’s towards the end of December. Until then will all twenty-two and their four trainers please take a bow and savour what you achieved today. “Rip Tullogher” is a phrase we’re all familiar with but today it echoed around the highways and byways of as resoundingly as William Wallace’s cry of “Freedom” at the conclusion of Braveheart.

The heroes on the day were: 1. Aisling Power. 2. Siobhán Handrick. 3. Jane O Shea. 4. Laura Barron. 5. Saoirse Doherty. 6. Aoife Dooley (JC). 7. Ava O Leary. 8. Lily Ryan (0-05). 9. Aoibheann Ryan. 10. Rachel Murphy. 11. Clara Walsh (JC). 12. Ciara Nolan (1-03). 13. Aoife Cummins (1-0). 14. Caoimhe Connolly. 15. Dearbhla Ryan (1-02). 16. Ella Morrissey. 17. Shauna Bookle. 18. Maeve Phelan. 19. Aoife Purcell. 20. Isabella Murphy. 21. Leah O Lone. 22. Ruby O Leary.

Barrow Rangers – Rebecca Smith, Emma Kavanagh, Rhianna Scott, Ava Barcoe, Ellie Fenlon, Jessica Smith, Alice Maher, Ada Bambrick, Ella Maher, Noa Bambrick, Ella Ryan, Ava Medlar, Lily Maher, Ella O’Reilly, Caoimhe Holohan

Subs – Tierna Power, Katie Sweeney, Ellen Brennan, Eva O’Keeffe, Lucy Jordan, Mathilde Beubry, Arwen Donnellan, Isabelle McCreery, Chloe Dunne, Amy Kavanagh, Ellie Beth Murphy, Mia Kealy

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