By Eadaoin Devine
John West Féile Peile na nÓg is a Club festival for Gaelic Football and Ladies Gaelic Football at Under 14 level, involving teams from across the Association. The tournaments this year were held in Kerry, West Limerick and West Cork and on this occasion, South London competed in Division 3.
The South London U14 Gaelic Football Team has recently returned from the Féile Peile na nÓg Competition after a brilliant weekend in Kerry, Cork and Limerick as All-Ireland Champions: Division 3. This was their fourth All Ireland Title over the last six years.
The boys enjoyed their first evening relaxing at Fitzgerald’s Equestrian Centre, which was sponsored by Liam Barry, before the big group stages on Friday.
The rest of the trip would see the South London boys being hosted by Fr Casey’s GAA club in Abbeyfeale. With a positive attitude from the start, the South London boys took on Butlersbridge from Cavan in their first group game. With a final score of 0-5 to 0- 2, the boys set the standard for the competition with their first victory.
Game two of the day;Newcastle West vs South London, the boys had a comfortable win with the score line reading 2-6 to 0-2 at full time.
On Friday night, our host club Fr Casey’s prepared a delightful feast for both sides. Teams, families, mentors and players enjoyed socialising in the evening with many of our South London boys providing song and dance which proved a hit with the locals!
Saturday saw South London take on our fantastic host club, Fr Casey’s. The game was played with great heart and spirit but South London dominated throughout. The final score line truly reflected the hard work the South London team put in, 3-4 to 0-5, leaving London in a very promising position entering the Quarter Finals.
Played in Dromcollogher, the Quarter Final saw South London compete against Kanturk.
With a jersey clash, our boys had to play in red and amber, however, this did not deter them! South London controlled the game from start to finish with some fantastic performances displayed throughout. The game finished 4-5 to 0-1.
Buzzing with the result, the South London team made their way back to Abbeyfeale for a BBQ and disco with the Fr Casey’s host team. Again, a fantastic night was had by all, our South London team entertained on the dance floor and even tried a spot of Irish Dancing.
Plenty of laughs were had and new friends made. South London did not stay out too late however as preparation for the big Semi Final was well underway.
South London against Naomh Éanna in the much awaited semi final was played at state of the art facilities in John Mitchel’s, Ballyseedy. The game was intense from start to finish and despite a big Naomh Éanna crowd making plenty of noise on the side line, our boys did not crumble under pressure.
The South London side fought hard and defeated the competitive NaomhÉanna side. The final score line read 3-4, 1-3.
All Ireland Final here we come!
Set out at the beginning of the Tournament, the aim was that the South London boys would make the All Ireland Final and they certainly did not disappoint.
Players, mentors and spectators from all round gathered to watch this eagerly anticipated final.
Dublin Champions, Lucan Sarsfield were most definitely up for this game, chanting their team name loudly; evidently fired up before the ball was thrown in the air. The first half was a battle but the Dublin champions finished narrowly in front.
Coming from 2 points behind at half time, the South London boys worked tirelessly in the second half to earn their much deserved victory. South London put in a superb team effort which could not be faulted.
Some outstanding performances on the day were noted by Sahid Kamara who was solid in defence, Samuel Adenola was exceptional in the middle of the field, Samuel Braddick confidently added to the score line, however, the hero of the day was Armani Orji who scored the winning goal to secure the All Ireland Feile Division 3 title.
The commitment and dedication that these boys have given to Gaelic Football is highly commendable. The tears in the players and mentors eyes when the final whistle was blown just sums up how much this experience meant to the boys.
To win the tournament was just the icing on the cake.
All in all, a terrific weekend was had by both players and mentors. Many teams, managers and players commented on how well drilled and prepared the South London team were.
Host families remarked how polite and well mannered all the boys were and what a delight it was to host them for the weekend. Special thanks must go to Maurice O’Connell and all of the hosts from Fr Casey’s from Abbeyfeale, who looked after the team and mentors so well throughout the weekend.
We are forever grateful to all those individuals who facilitated – for their time, organisation and preparation put in to ensure the weekend was a success.
Congratulations to the all the boys and to their very successful management team, who have given a lot of their own time, many late evenings and weekends, training twice a week to prepare these boys appropriately for the Feile.
This recent win has brought our total to 4 All Ireland titles in 6 years, an amazing achievement and has made all the hard work worthwhile.
Well done boys – an amazing achievement. You have made South London, St Paul’s Academy, Dulwich Harps and Thomas McCurtain’s very proud.