South London claim their fifth All-Ireland in seven years
Britain GAA had a remarkable weekend at under-14 level over the weekend, as eleven youth teams travelled to Ireland for the annual Feile All-Ireland competition, and three came back with titles.
South London continued their progress as the improving side now qualify to play in the competition’s top tier next year, after winning the Division 2 Cup outright. It is the side’s fifth win over the past seven years, and they had to come through some tough competition in order to prevail.
It was a great weekend for travelling teams, as London girls also picked up a shield title, Warwickshire won the Division 9 Cup and New York won the top prize of the Division 1 Cup.
On the Friday night, South London beat Kerry champions Na Gaeil of Tralee by two points in a nervy 3-6 to 3-4 opener. They went on to beat Magheracloone GAC convincingly by 9-10 to 1- 2, to leave themselves in a good position on Saturday morning.
They ended up topping the Group A table convincingly, after clinching three wins from three with a 4-9 to 0-3 victory over Bailliborough of Cavan. That set them up with a tricky quarter-final tie against Donegal side Naomh Pádraig Uisce Chaoin on Saturday afternoon.
The boys prevailed and won 4-7 to 0-3, to leave them with a semi-final place on Sunday morning.
Their opponents would be Dublin side CLG Chluain Tarbh, and the difference in quality would show in a tougher outing, where South London had to be sure of rattling the net in a close-fought contest which they emerged as two-point victors to book their final spot, eventually winning by just two points on a 3-3 to 1-7 scoreline.
So next up came St Gabriel’s, but South London’s perseverance shone through and the side would lift the Division 2 Cup, and win promotion for next year, after winning by 2-8 to 3-3 at the final in Clones.
Meanwhile, of Britain’s other entries to the competition Hertfordshire topped their group with three wins from three in Division 8, over Cnoc Bride, St Finbars and local rivals Lancashire.
Lancashire went on to the quarter-finals of the Division 8 shield, which they narrowly missed out to against Aughnamullen, after some great scoring in a 3-4 to 1-8 loss.
Hertfordshire won their next knock-out match in the Division 8 Cup, coming up two-point winners against fellow travelling team Boston in a 0-9 to 1-4 game. Unfortunately they missed out on a final place, as they missed out by just a goal in the semi-final to Lios Ui Chathasaigh.
North London, who contested in the tricky Division 4 competition, topped their group after big wins against Rathvilly, Clontibret O’Neils and Inniskeen, in which they racked up a huge 75 points in three games, and conceded just 17. But they were unfortunate to draw a strong O’Raghallaighs side from Drogheda in the quarterfinal, and lost by a mere point in a 2-1 to 0-8 match.
Scotland came joint second in their Division 8, Group D table, having won 3-1 to 0-4 over Erne Gaels Beleek and reached the quarter-final stages of the Cup on better points difference, where they lost to eventual winners Cappamore.
Gloucestershire reached the quarter-final of the Division 7 Cup, having come second in their group after a conclusive 5-6 to 0-3 win over Tempo Maguires GAC and a 3-12 to 0-6 win over Ederney St Joseph’s.
Warwickshire were elated after they secured promotion and an All-Ireland win, after claiming the Division 9 Cup. They did so by topping Group D, with three wins from three matches against Ballivor GFC, Naomh Brid and Roslea Shamrocks. They went on to a comprehensive victory over Oilibhear Pluincead, in a 2-11 to 0-2 victory in the quarter final, before booking a deciding place with a huge 1-12 to nil win over Philadelphia.
They went on to face Group D rivals Ballivor again in the final, but did well to register a six-point victory with a 1-7 to 1-1 victory over them at Brewster Park.
Four girls teams travelled from Britain, and it was close to call if any would be able to walk away with silverware as London, Hertfordshire, Lancashire and Scotland all contested in the Division 6 competition, which featured 12 teams in all.
But London would emerge victorious in the Shield competition, bringing home the silverware after a mixed weekend of results. They drew level with St John Bosco, 1-4 apiece, in their opening game, before just missing out by a point to Belcoo O’Rahilly’s on the Friday night. But they started strongly on Saturday, beating Shannon Gaels by 4-3 to 0-1 and drawing again with fellow Britain side Scotland 2-1 to 1- 4, before claiming a final 3-1 to 0-1 win over Newtownbutler First Fermanagh’s.
Scotland would end up qualifying for the Cup competition, as they finished second in the Group A table, registering three victories, one loss and a draw out of their five games. But they were knocked out in the next semi-final round against Cnoc Bride, who would go on to win the final strongly, with a 6-1 to 3- 4 win over Balyna.
London, meanwhile qualified for the shield. They drew Corduff in the semi-final, and won with a convincing 2-3 to 0-2 scoreline, before meeting their earlier Group A rivals St John Bosco in the final.
A confident first half with the wind saw London go in at half time 1-1 to 0-2, but missed opportunities saw the nervous girls go out for the second half hoping those chances would not come back to haunt them.
John Bosco threw everything at London but excellent goalkeeping, defending and the woodwork on two occasions saw the girls hold out to win 1-3 0-4.
In Group B, Lancashire were unfortunate not to qualify further after five losses, but Hertfordshire did well to claim a semi-final space. They won their first game 8-9 to 0-2 to Lancashire, before beating Butlersbridge 9-4 to nil on the Friday night.
Come Saturday they lost to eventual Cup winners Cnoc Bride, and strong sides Balyna and Corduff, before missing out on a final place with a semi-final loss to St John Bosco BAC.