We would like to congratulate our fantastic Junior Camogie squad on their achievements this year and in reaching the County Final. We are all so proud of you!
Thanks again to Mike O'Brien for the comprehensive report.
On Saturday morning 5th November, 24 brave young Camogie players made the short trip from Youghal to Pilmore to face Aghada in the SE Systems Junior B County final. This game was originally scheduled for the previous Monday in Castle Road but as had happened already in the Championship, poor weather conditions caused the game to be refixed. With availability of playing fields being a huge problem across the Country, credit to St. Ita’s for making their field available for the occasion. A combination of the good weather on Saturday morning, along with the hard work by Snoz all week to get the field in pristine condition, the recipe was there for an excellent game of Camogie. And the occasion didn’t disappoint. A huge crowd was in attendance, largely dominated by Youghal support and they were treated to a final that will live long in the memory. Aghada were the victors on the day by 3 points, but the Youghal players can hold their heads high for the courage that was shown.
The journey for both teams to the final couldn’t have been more different. It started with 15 teams organized into 3 groups of 5 teams. Youghal’s group was termed the “group of death”, made up of Inniscarra (2020 finalists), Rockban (2021 finalists), Castelmartyr (recently promoted), along with a resolute Courcey Rovers team. However, Youghal topped the group with 4 wins out of 4. Aghada’s group appeared more routine and comfortably won all their group games. The final group was topped by Bishopstown who were raging favourites at the outset to win out the competition. With an uneven number of groups, Youghal’s reward for their 100% record was an extra quarter final game versus Kilbree, who were dispatched with clinical efficiency. Next up for Youghal was Bishopstown whose draw meant that they avoided a quarter final game. With the odds stacked in Bishopstown’s favour, Youghal pulled out a huge win by the narrowest of margins, having been behind by 8 points mid-way through the second half. In contrast, Aghada also enjoyed a bye straight to the semi-final where they dispatched Inniscarra from the Championship with relative ease.
Coming into the game, Youghal were without Chloe Landers who recently travelled on a yearlong tour to Australia. Also missing was Chloe Delaney who had an unfortunate injury in training.
Back to Saturday and a star-studded Aghada team were favourites. However, Youghal had leaders on all corners of the field, many of whom are still in their teens – indeed a few the squad are still awaiting Junior Cert results! Youghal elected to play with the wind in the first half and it became clear from the outset that Youghal had no interest in reputations. Aghada missed an early free but for the next 15 minutes, the play was largely in Aghada’s half with the Youghal forwards applying huge pressure. The game was only 3 minutes in when Youghal won a sideline on the ‘45. Avril struck it sweetly. This was followed up with hard work from Leah who struck the post. Youghal weren’t giving up the move with Amy, Ciara, Jess and Hannah all putting in blocks, hooks and flicks. A ball broke in a nice position and a well-timed run from Avril (who initiated the move) resulted in a goal from Youghal. This was followed up with 2 more good goal chances from Youghal, but the tight margins agonizingly didn’t work in Youghal’s favour. Aghada dusted themselves down and got two very good points from play. Youghal returned to scoring ways in the 10th minute with an excellent point from Alex with her characteristic unorthodox strike. Amy followed up with a ’45, but there was an immediate response from Aghada with a pointed free to leave 2 points between the sides. Amy converted her second ’45 of the game and as the game approached half time, both teams again traded pointed frees to leave the game 1-04 v 0-4 in Youghal’s favour. The scoreline didn’t reflect Youghal’s dominance. The full forward line of Jess, Hannah and Leah were a constant menace to Aghada’s rear-guard. The work ethic half-forward line of Ciara Aoibhe and Amy was commendable. The dynamic at midfield was interesting with two sets of sisters marking each other, but it was the Cashman sisters of Youghal who largely dominated exchanges. The backline were no slouches either. Jenny played a captain’s role at centre-back and was capably flanked by Lesley and Ruby. The Aghada full forward line were getting no change from Rion Louise or Shauna to the point where they had to deploy players out to midfield to gain any sort of meaningful possession. Finally, Kate in goals looked assured in possession and quick off her line.
On the resumption, Aghada hit their purple patch getting two outstanding points from play within a minute to leave the minimum between the sides. Credit to Aghada for sustaining this pressure for 10 minutes, but Youghal weren’t unnerved and only conceded another point from a free before swaying the game back in their own favour. Having said that, Kate made one of her trademark point blank saves and a lapse in concentration resulted in Aghada missing a routine free. The Youghal management felt that fresh legs were needed, but it was no easy task to pick which players were to be withdrawn. Jess and Leah left the field with their heads held high and were replaced with Chloe and Eabha. Both made an immediate impact, hard work from Jenny resulting in a point from play by Chloe within two minutes of her introduction. The intensity of the game rose to a new level with neither side wanting to concede any ground. Raina came on for Hannah in a tactical switch and again, Hannah can be very pleased with her outing. Raina has been Youghal’s super-sub all year and tigerishly dug into proceeding immediately. Avril received a blow to the head with Aghada inexplicably being awarded the free to the dismay of the large Youghal following. Coming into the 50th minute, the records will show that Amy scored yet another ’45, but in truth it was much more than that. Hard work from Rion, Lesley, Jenny and Avril resulted in a ball breaking to Eabha who won a free. Amy struck the free which was won by the Aghada defence, but Ciara kept up the hard work of her teammates and forced the ’45. Louise was called ashore having tirelessly done her bit for the cause, and it was Edel’s turn to come on in her typical combative style. At this point, Youghal were leading by 2 points and it seemed like they might get over the line, with Kate making yet another excellent save. But credit to Aghada, they were determined, and won a free with only 5 minutes of normal time remaining. This free was ably converted leaving only the minimum was between the sides. However, with only 2 minutes of normal time remaining, disaster struck as Aghada struck a 40-yard free straight to the net to give them a 2-point lead. Youghal weren’t ready to give up the fight and pushed players forward to salvage something from the game. However, it was Aghada who got the next score, another point from play with the game deep in injury time. Youghal sought in vain for the equalizer, but alas it never came. Final score was Aghada 1-9 v Youghal 1-6.
This Youghal team can be very proud of their year and have the look and feel of a group who will finish the job in 2023. If this group of 24 warriors is the future of Youghal Camogie, then the future looks very bright.
Youghal scorers. Amy O’Connell 0-4 (2 x frees, 2 x ‘45s), Avril Cashman 1-0, Alex Cashman 0-1, Chloe O’Connell 0-1
Team: 1.Kate McCarthy 2.Rion Walsh 3.Louise Dempsey 4.Shauna O’Connell 5.Lesley Cashman 6.Jenny Doyle (Capt) 7.Ruby Kennedy 8.Avril Cashman 9.Alex Cashman 10.Ciara Crowley 11.Aoibhe Daly 12.Amy O’Connell 13.Leah Broderick 14.Hannah O’Keeffe 15.Jess Swayne.
Subs. Chloe O’Connell for Jess Swayne, Eabha Walsh for Leah Broderick, Rania Landers for Hannah O’Keeffe, Edel O’Connell for Louise Dempsey
Other panel members who made huge contributions throughout the year were Chloe Landers, Lauren Ryan, Chloe Delaney, Ciara Kennedy, Rachel Murray, Laura Buckner, Alice Flavin, Catriona O’Keeffe, Sophie Monaghan
Photos as as always by the fantastic Maurice Cronin https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0NdYesHDTjpKhUnRnE7jpbZjXXM1kMdVTeZwmFytQCSgAqkKEsq81KYEszWJg7vJgl&id=100057568986319