The girls of Naomh Ciaran (formerly Ferbane/Doon/Shannonbridge) were the stars of the weekend at Feile Peil na nOg as they became the second Offaly club in the history of Feile to win consecutive titles in two different divisions.
Tullamore GAA achieved this feat in 1999 and 2000 when they won Division 3 and Division 2 back to back however the girls from West Offaly went one better when they followed the 2011 win in Division 2 in Cork by capturing the Division 1 title in spectacular fashion in O’Moore Park on Sunday against a much fancied Claregalway outfit.
Naomh Ciaran had progressed through their group by defeating all opposition perhaps most impressively when they opened the weekend with a fin 2-5 to 1-5 win against the mighty Foxrock-Cabinteely of Dublin. They also defeated St Vals of Cork (last years beaten finalists) by 1-7 to 1-5 before rounding off the group stages with a 2-5 to 1-1 win against local opponents St Rynaghs.
In their semi-final they easily accounted for Laois side St Conleths on a scoreline of 4-9 to 1-3 which set them up for a showdown with Claregalway of Galway who were the reigning Div 1 Champions for two years running and bidding for an historic three in a row.
In a tight first half the side could not be separated and ended the half level on 0-2 each. Naomh Ciaran stepped up in gear in the second half and they outscored their Galway counterparts by four points to one in the second period to win on a scoreline of Naomh Ciaran 0-6 Claregalway 0-3.
This ended a very successful Feile for Offaly clubs who were excellent hosts over the entire weekend. Indeed such was the effort put by many clubs across the county that stories are reaching us of club members using diesel generators to pump water from the pitch and in some cases sweeping brushes and vacuum cleaners were deployed on grass to remove excess water to allow all games go ahead as scheduled. Meanwhile others made sandwiches, served tea/coffee and helped make all our visitors feel very much at home in our Faithful County. Entertainment was provided by all clubs for their guests on the Saturday evening and the spirit of “Fun & Friendship” created by Laois Offaly Feile Peil na nÓg will long be remembered by host and visiting club alike.
Naomh Ciaran were the only Offaly Ladies side to reach the knock out stages of the competition while three Boys teams played in the semi-finals, Rhode in Division 3, Tullamore in Division 4 and St Rynagh’s in Division 5.
Whilst all apart from Naomh Ciaran were unsuccessful in their quest for glory, all Offaly clubs are to be commended for the effort they put into hosting and taking part in a very successful Feile Peil na nÓg in 2012.