Now that that the dust has settled, and the voices are finally coming back to normal, time to reflect on an absolutely fantastic weekend at Féile na nGael Camogie Nationals at Westmanstown Garda GAA Club.
The team bonding started from the moment we departed Westport in the care of our Barrett’s Bus driver Stephen. The girls looked great heading off in their fab new gear courtesy of Clare Island Ferries, and all they needed in their fab new gear bags sponsored by Jim Hogan Couriers.
The bonding continued in the pool at Bloomfield House Hotel, where we were very warmly welcomed by Levino and Emma. The girls were treated to personalised menus for their pre match day supper! Aneta and Liam Walsh certainly set the girls up well for the following day in sponsoring their hotel experience and food.
John McHale was our driver for day 2, and he got us to Westmanstown after calmly navigating some very narrow, winding roads!
The welcome we got from our hosts, and the welcome packs were just fabulous, and gave a real good sense of the fun day that lay ahead. The day began with a parade for the teams, followed by a minutes silence for the late Damien Casey from Tyrone. RIP.
Our first game was against Bailieboro, and we had to work hard to get a win in this one. Bailieboro have a young squad, and definitely one to watch for next year. Next up, the Wicklow team in our group, Annacurra. A very tight game against very strong opposition, but our girls put in a great shift, and came out on top.
Back to the bus where Maura O’Toole had the sandwich station under control, with the help of Emer Farrell, Aisling Guilfoyle, and Anne Kerrigan!! At that stage, that was just what the doctor ordered to try and get the energy levels raised again!
For the third game of the day we were to take on the Tyrone team, Omagh St. Enda’s. Probably the toughest game, with energy levels dwindling, but again the girls dug deep, and etched out a win with the help of the snacks provided by ELGAN Construction!
Massive Congrats to Omagh St. Enda’s who went on to win the Shield Final. 👏🏻👏🏻
A bit of a welcome breather then between our qualifying games, and our semi final V the host club, Westmanstown. Our girls got off to a flying start, but Westmanstown came back very strong in the second half. Thankfully the girls from the West did enough to secure a place in the Cup Final V the other Westerners in the group, St. Dominics.
The Cup Final was very close with the bare minimum between the sides at half time, but the second half saw the Westport ladies lift it a gear, and secure a goal and 2 points which ensured victory in a very competitive game.
The 21 girls on the panel for the day gave it their all throughout all 5 games, not to forget the 5 others on the panel who helped us get there but we’re unable to attend the Nationals, and the fun that we had over the two days will be remembered by all forever.
They did their new jerseys sponsored by Tyres R Us proud, with 5 wins out of 5 in good clean games of Camogje. The parents on the sideline were treated to an unforgettable day!
Many of them were busy double jobbing. Many thanks to Brian O’Grady, for not just sponsoring the girls fabulous gear, but taking on umpire duty, and glueing hurls, ably assisted by Noelle Loftus who never leaves home without a roll of tape! Little did we know that hurl in the capable hands of its owner, and our highest scorer of the day, would go on to score 4 points In the semis, and final combined.
Paraic Furlong proved that men can actually multi task, as he umpired, and took some great action shots during the games! He had some competition with Conor Farrell snap happy also, and trying to get the pic of the day!! 📸
Sean Morrin also raised the white and green flags for us throughout the day.
On the sideline were all those who made up the 16th player on the team, the band of supporters got louder as the day went on, (Nicola and David Crowe, Sinead Reidy, Máire Reid, Siobhain Meaney, Michelle O’Toole, Noreen (Áine’s aunt), Tish Crowley, Caroline and Hubert Halligan, Ciara McNally, Demelza Heraty, Hubie McEvilly, Iarla Moran, Breda Flynn) giving Louise Hastings some serious competition!!! 🔊
What an honour to have the Division 4 Cup ( in the form of a shield) presented by former president of the Camogie Association Phyllis Breslin to our No. 1, Captain Rebecca Hastings. The attention to detail by the host club was second to none, with ‘The Green and Red of Mayo’ blasted out for all the Westport Revellers to celebrate their success.
Onto the bus again with John McHale (in line for the most patient man in Ireland award), whisking us to Ferricks Hotel in Rathowen where Amanda had our order ready and waiting, and got us in and out so efficiently. We all disembarked the bus at the Shannon, and led by two of our mascots Evie Farrell and Lorna Reid (Louisa and Seanie were missing at that stage) the team and coaches ran across the Shannon in Tarmonbarry with the Prize of the day! Sing songs all the way home ensured the journey flew.
When we came over the top of the hill at Sheehaun, the icing on the cake was the big bonfire at Pierce O’Reilly’s, followed by the Garda escort organised by Kim Robertson, and the cavalcade of cars waiting to toot us around the town. Then down to the clubhouse where Caroline Kelly and Barbara O’Malley had the place decked in Blue, and loads of avid Camogie supporters came out to cheer on our dream team! It was the perfect end to a perfect day in which all the stars aligned for us!
Then to wake the following morning to hear we had gotten a round of applause from Fr. Charlie and all at 10am mass, got Sunday off to a great start! One for the memory bank! 💙
Compiled by very proud Feile team coach – Gillian Broderick
Feile Adventures Photo Album on Facebook (Official Westport Camogie Club) – documenting the trip, the matches and the homecoming!