Wonderful final victory for fab fourteens

Meath Ladies U-14 Division 1 Shield Final

Seneschalstown 8-07 Royal Gaels 7-05

On a stunning day where the mercury was rising and temperatures hitting dizzy heights the U-14 ladies of Seneschalstown and Dunshaughlin served up a fitting finale to the season with a hugely enjoyable game that had goals galore of the highest quality with the Furze Girls proving just too strong for a superb Royal Gaels outfit in Division 1 Shield Final played under blue skies in Dunganny.

The game started at a blistering pace in the searing heat and after some tremendous play from County star Meadhbh Byrne, she unleashed the first of many super strikes on goal to rifle Dunshaughlin into a three point advantage before she followed up with a fine point to get the Gaels off to the perfect start. Indeed, the Seneschalstown girls were struggling in the opening minutes and it took twelve minutes to register their first score from a free from the boot of Anna Wogan and what a game she was going to have. Soon afterwards an amazing run from midfielder Caragh Monaghan who beat several challenges before she found the corner of the net to drag Seneschalstown right back into contention and draw the teams level on the scoreboard.

That girl again Byrne fired another amazing goal to regain the Gaels advantage but again the Furze Girls came back and after great work from Orla Finnegan who found Sinead McLarney, the full forward scrambled the ball over the line to again draw level. Both sets of supporters were being treated to end to end football with four goals scored after only twenty minutes. However, this was only the start and after a high ball sent in from a free from Dunshaughlin’s Byrne bounced over goalie Robyn Murray outstretched hands and found the net to her disgust. The scorekeeper was struggling to keep track with Royal Gaels now 3-01 to Seneschalstown 2-01 and the Furze Girls attacked again. The midfield pairing of Monaghan and Lauren Donnelly were beginning to show their effectiveness and linking up play with half forwards Anna Wogan and Mallaidh Breen who was being very closely watched resulted in a penalty award for the Boynesiders after great attacking play from centre half back Aoibhé Monaghan.

Ava Jane Ryan coolly stepped up to take the crucial kick. Perfectly struck giving the keeper no chance, again the sides were level. Anna Wogan nudged the Furze Girls in front for the first time but Aoibhé Monaghan unfortunately picked up a hand injury and was forced to withdraw, which gave the Seneschalstown selectors a headache they didn’t need. Her replacement was the wonderful U-12 Megan Clarke who slotted into corner back with Zoe Kirwan now switching to centre half back. Royal Gaels Byrne responded immediately with a majestic goal, she was proving unplayable and having a serious influence on the game. The score now read Royal Gaels 4-01 Seneschalstown 3-02.

With minutes remaining before the half time whistle Orla Finnegan struck the crossbar and Ella Kilfeather was quickest to respond to find the net again to switch the lead back in favour of the furze girls. What a seesaw match! Dunshaughlin responded brilliantly with a point to level the game and after a goalmouth scramble they found the net again just before the half time whistle sounded. Both sets of troops marched off at half time barely catching their breath in the intense heat while the crowd collectively needed that half time whistle just to catch their breath such was the intensity of the game and the quality of the goals on show. Meanwhile the scoreboard now read Royal Gaels 5-02 Seneschalstown 4-02 and the girls in blue had plenty of work to do if they were to pick up the trophy.

With the momentum after swinging to Dunshaughlin and the Seneschalstown injury the Furze Girls were really in a match and knowing that the next thirty minutes was to be their last as U-14s they responded magnificently from the throw in. Monaghan and Donnelly hit the ground running and went at Dunshaughlin’s defence - driving down the centre and Breen switching position creating space in front of Sinead McLarney, The talented McLarney found herself fifteen yards out with her back to goal rounding her marker she hit the ball first time ...GOAL... the match only seconds on and it had just taken off as the first half had ended. This drew the sides level at 5-02 to 5-02! However, the Furze Girls seizing the moment now had all the momentum and Mallaidh Breen found the net with another superb strike to give them a lead that they refused to relinquish.

Orla Finnegan finished off a sublime effort to the net after terrific work from Ava Jane Ryan and Anna Wogan who was popping up everywhere and winning important ball for the Seneschalstown girls. Ava Jane Ryan kicked a fine point assisted by Zoe Ryan and the furze girls stretched their lead after another goal from Kilfeather. Seneschalstown 8-04 Royal Gaels 5-03 but just as daylight was appearing between the teams that Byrne who was been superbly marshalled by Zoe Kirwan found a yard as every great player can do and rifled to the net from long range giving Murray no chance. Mallaidh Breen popped over a lovely point before Byrne stuck again with her incredible seventh goal! For Dunshaughlin. The Seneschalstown lead had halved with five minutes remaining but the girls never panicked. Royal Gaels tagged on another two points to bring the game back to three points but Lauren Donnelly kicked two fine points to settle the nerves for the rapturous support before the final whistle sounded.

The defence of Caoimhe Dunne Aine Nangle and Sadhbh McLarney have been dominant all year round and Megan Clark, Zoe Kirwan Aoibhé Monaghan and Lauren McCarthy defended like tigers. McCarthy in particular stopped an advancing run from Meath midfielder Aoibheann Bracken towards the end. The work ethic of midfielders Caragh Monaghan and Lauren Donnelly have been a joy to watch all year. Half forwards Orla Finnegan Mallaidh Breen and Orla Finnegan would trouble any defence and the inside line of Ella Kilfeather, Sinead McLarney and Ava Jane Ryan were very impressive. Charlie Murray again showed her talent when introduced and Niamh Traynor and Zoe Ryan can be proud of their performance when called on.

The U-12 girls Tara Traynor Nicola Mongey Katie McDonnell Megan Clarke Robyn Murray and Charlie Murray have been a huge influence on the U-14 success in this championship and they can look forward to challenging for honours in their upcoming U-12 Final.

Best of luck to our five Royal Girls who will take on Tyrone in an All-Ireland Semi Final next weekend and commiserations to Dunshaughlin’s Royal Gaels today who contributed to the excellent match that served up fifteen excellent goals. It’s safe to say it’s one that won't be forgotten for a long time.

Seneschalstown: Robyn Murray Sadhbh McLarney Aine Nangle Caoimhe Dunne Lauren McCarthy Aoibhé Monaghan Zoe Kirwan Caragh Monaghan (1-0) Lauren Donnelly (0-2) Anna Wogan (0-2) Mallaidh Breen (1-01) Orla Finnegan (1-01) Ella Kilfeather (2-00) Sinead McLarney (2-00) Ava Jane Ryan (1-01)

Subs: Megan Clarke Niamh Traynor Charlie Murray Zoe Ryan Tara Traynor

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