Round Tower Under 14 Ladies Footballers are Féile Champions! It was a gritty battle and they overcame against Man O’War to claim the Division Four Ladies title by a 2-2 v 1-2 scoreline, writes Mick McGlynn. It was achieved in front of an excellent turnout of Towers travelling supporters at Fingallian’s Lawless Park. The Towers girls really had to dig deep to progress. On Saturday, they’d beaten Donabate (2-4 v 0-6) and Cabinteely (6-6 v 0-1) to move to a semi-final against Naomh Mearnóg. They travelled to their North Dublin hosts that afternoon to edge a 4-3 v 4-2 victory.
Understandably the final was a tense encounter. Man O’War had the first opening but struck across goal wide. Kate Whelan, Megan Hoyte and Rachel Condon combined for a good Towers move but Man O War had enough defenders to see off the attack. Whelan, playing at number 11, almost created an opening from the half forwards but her pass just evaded our inside forwards. Two minutes later a brilliant run by the centre half forward covering 30 metres almost saw her opening the scoring but her strike was narrowly wide. The opening score did arrive on seven minutes and it was a Towers goal. Whelan’s free from the right was gathered by Aoife Kennedy in the box and she was pulled to the ground. Whelan dispatched the resulting penalty to the top right corner. Man O’War responded but Bronagh Roebuck and Emily O’Brien fielded excellently under pressure. The Northside team did break the Tower rearguard for a one-on-one but keeper Nora Aja narrowed the angle and blocked the goalbound effort. But on the stroke of half-time the game drew level. A high dropping free evaded the Towers defenders and brought parity at the break 1-0 v 1-0.
It was an excellent start to the second period for Towers. Straight from throw-in Whelan and Hoyte and Holly Gregg combined to attack thru the middle and it led to a 21 metre free that Whelan kicked successfully. O’Brien and Centre Half Back Catherine Skikun, who read the game superbly throughout delivering interception after interception, both cut out visiting attacks before Towers second goal arrived. Skikun was once again instrumental and she set up Hoyte to strike at goal. Her effort was blocked but Alex Melia was quick to scoop the breaking ball into her arms and strike past the keeper. Man O’War responded and almost netted when their corner forward struck narrowly wide from close range. They did register a point from distance to leave just a goal between the sides, 2-1 v 1-1. There followed a period of Man O’War pressure but the Towers defenders were resolute. Whelan won two vital possessions around the middle to bring Towers on the ascendancy and she struck the next score. Hoyte played an incisive pass into Gregg in the half forwards and she passed over shoulder to the onrushing Whelan who bore in on goal and pointed. Towers again gained a foothold and Erinn Kiely, Aisling Roebuck and Aoife Kennedy won valuable possessions as the clock ran down. Man O’War went on one final attacking but yet again Skikun was there to read play and intercept. The Towers girls proudly saluted the excellent visiting support at the final whistle, on a weekend that saw 1,500 girls competing in the competition.
Congratulations to Marie Crotty, her team of Mentors and the girls who are together as a group just two years and are the first girls team in the club to win a Féile. A fantastic achievement.
Round Tower: Nora Aja, Megan Denieffe, Aoife Kelly, Bronagh Roebuck, Niamh McGrattan, Catherine Skikun, Emily O’Brien, Megan Hoyte, Rachel Condon, Kate Whelan, Amber O’Hara, Aisling Roebuck, Alex Melia, Ciara Barry, Abbey Maher, Karla Meehan, Aoife Kennedy, Amy Fitzpatrick, Aisling Walsh, Erinn Kiely, Saoire Ng, Kate Behan, Lara Pollard.