Costello the star as St.Cillians claim U16 B Camogie final

Ann Marie Guinan

Reporter:

Ann Marie Guinan

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news@offalyexpress.ie

O'Meara U16 B Camogie Final 

St. Cillian's 3-10 Tullamore 4-5


In a hugely entertaining contest in, St. Cillian‘s were crowned under 16 B champions following a 3-10 to 4-5 win over Tullamore at the weekend.

Just before throw in, the heavy rain and wind cleared off giving players a great opportunity for a great game. One of the key factors of the game was the talent of St.Cillians' Niamh Costello who scored 3-8 throughout the game, Costello also scored the second half goal in the junior final two weekends ago. 

It took the teams 10 minutes or so to start playing, but once they did start to play the game was helter-skelter. First blood was drawn when St.Cillians' Niamh Costello found the posts after a well-worked move with Ellen Cashin and Roisin Pinches.

The game looked like St.Cillians were in control as Tullamore struggled to defend possession around the half-back line, however, Amy Berry found a ball from distance, soloed the ball in and struck the ball at Caoimhe Rice where the goalkeeper stopped the shot at point blank range but Berry pounced on the rebound to find the net.

The game was one way traffic as Tullamore dominated with a very dangerous full forward line. At the other end of the field, Roisin Pinches, Niamh Costello and Grace Cashen kept goalkeeper Leah Gallagher very busy between the posts.

Amy Berry was the key attack in Tullamore's forwards as she found the net again to give Tullamore some space with fifteen minutes played. It was then Ciara Brady's turn to find the net as the centre forward broke onto a ball in front of the goal and struck the ball low to the net.

Brady also followed this score up with a point from distance as Tullamore were in cruise control. The final score of the half was a Robin Leavy goal who rattled the net for the fourth time with a low shot to the bottom right hand corner. 

At the half time break, Tullamore led 4-1 to 1-3 and it looked like the U16 B cup was heading back to the county town. Weather conditions made it difficult for teams but the level of skill, determination, fitness, physicality and handling of the ball meant spectators were in for a very exciting game. 

St. Cillians returned to the pitch all guns blazing trailing by seven points. Momentum started to swing in St.Cillians favour as Niamh Costello fired home three 45s. The gap narrowed to four as Costello was moved into the full forward position, and this would ultimately become the deciding factor of the game.

Wearing 11 on her back, Niamh Costello found the net twice in five minutes to put St.Cillians ahead for only the second time of the game.

Tullamore never gave up and some really good scores from Chloe Fogarthy and Robin Leavy put the sides level. In the closing stages of the game, Niamh Costello would fire home four more points while Robin Leavy did her utmost to keep her team in the game scoring two points in the closing stages. Tullamore worked hard to get the game back and almost had a late goal but Caoimhe Rice and her full back line prevented the game being snatched back from Tullamore. 

Chairperson Martin Delaney said, “That was such an entertaining game. From a neutral point of view, for a day like today it is hard to be a loser. Tullamore, you did not deserve to lose, and neither did St. Cillian‘s. This game was absolutely outstanding. Tullamore you gave a great performance and you have nothing to be ashamed of."

The sponsor of the competition, Sean O’Meara, praised all teams before awarding the player of the match. He said, "it was an absolute pleasure to be here to watch this game. After a slow start maybe for the first 10 minutes the game really tore off and Tullamore took control of the game very much so up to half time."

"During that time Amy Berry and Ciara Brady and Rachel Fogarthy were playing some really good stuff and then in the second half Rachel Leavy played very well and got a couple of very good scores. Then the second half started and we had a bit of a turnaround on the game started to throw everything St.Cillians way."

"Tullamore goalkeeper Leah Gallagher had a terrific second half but then when St. Cillian’s gradually got going Elaine Hanlon in the middle of the field, Ellen Cashin and Caoimhe O’Donovan were also in contention but I think when it comes to a county final for me, when a player according to my record, scored three goals and eight points, it is very hard not to award it to her and I present the player of the match award to Niamh Costello."