On Thursday 14th June, a team of boys and girls (drawn from our senior boys and girls Gaelic teams) took part in a thrilling Gaelic football competition in O’ Dwyers GFC. Ten schools from the locality were present: the Gaelscoil, St Teresa’s, Scoil Chormaic,, St. Georges, Bracken Ed. Tog., Balscadden, Balrothery, Ballyboughal and Hedgestown.
We won our first game (against our old opponents the Gaelscoil) a goal and six points to no score. This was followed up by a second win (against Bracken) a goal and four points to, yet again, no score. Having thrown down the gauntlet at that point, we went on to win our third game in the qualifying round, (versus Ballyboughal) two goals and four points to 1:2. Disaster struck in the fourth game when one of our key attacking players, Ciarán, hurt his wrist when going for the ball. In the confusion that followed his injury and his leaving the field, we let that game slip, losing by a two point margin to St Teresa’s. After a little rest however we regrouped and got stuck in for the quarter finals where we found our winning form again beating Ballyboughal 1:3 to 1 goal.
Delighted to be into the semi-final, we were quite confident facing the Gaelscoil again. On this, our second meeting in the competition, we dispatched them 4:2 to 1 point. All fired up at that point, the lads and ladies of St. Molaga’s didn’t even sit down to rest, but after a quick drink of water they were back on the field, raring to go again, against the only team who had beaten us on the day – St. Teresa’s.
St Teresa’s are a strong team and they gave us a run for our money! Having scored three points quickly in the first half, they dropped most of their players back into defence blocking our shots on goal time and time again. At half time, they had three points and we still hadn’t scored. Time for a change of strategy! “Go for your points lads”, they can’t block those as easily! However as time began to slip away in the second half (it was only 7 mins a side) we quickly realised that despite all our excellent play the cup was going to end up heading to St Teresa’s! With one minute and 17 seconds on the clock, Ms de Faoite was screaming from the sidelines: “a goal lads, we need a GOAL!!!!” Right on cue, Callum J won the ball in midfield. He carried it forward using up his two touches. and blasted it into the goal to keep us in the game. As the 7 mins was up, we knew the next score would win the trophy. A desperate battle ensued to win the kick out. We won the kick out. Could we keep possession? We battled to work the ball up the field, one score, one score was all we needed! And then it came, fittingly, by the hero of the hour, Callum J, and what a score it was! Another goal, blasted into the net to destroy St Teresa’s hopes and set Molaga’s wild in celebration as the final whistle blew!
Great credit to the team, they gave it everything they had over the course of seven games. Scoring 11 goals and 21 points between them, our attacking players – Billy, Toby, Shannon and Ciarán as well as Callum and Eoin in midfield, can all be justly proud of their contribution. At the other end of the field, massive credit also to Adam who pulled off some spectacular saves over the course of the seven games, and also to Seán A, who, with his unerring instinct as to where the ball is going to drop and his superb skill in picking out a pass, turned attack into counter attack time and time again. The fact that we conceded only three goals and seven points over the course of day speaks volumes for the contribution made by our defensive players, Sean, Katie, Callum T and Jude who were, all four of them, in top form on the day.
Many thanks to Paul from Bracken Ed. Tog. for organising the competition and to Larissa Muldoon and O’ Dwyers GFC for hosting it. Hopefully we will be back again next year to defend our title. So keep practising your skills, youngsters of St. Molaga’s – next year it might be you!