Two Tyrone U 14s squads made the journey to Dublin on Saturday to participate in the All Ireland under 14 Blitz. There were 28 counties participating on the day with quite a few fielding more than one team. The teams were grouped into five divisions and each one had different groups for the teams to progress.
The Tyrone (2) team competed in Division 5 at Ballyboden St Enda’s and they had Monaghan and Carlow (2) in their group. These group games were played over two fifteen minutes a half.
The Red Hands began with a difficult first match against neighbours Monaghan. The Farney girls were impressive in the first half but Tyrone’s second half performance was not reflected in the final score-line that read Monaghan 6-2 Tyrone (2) 1-1.
The Tyrone youngsters faced an uphill battle after that if they were to retain any hope of progressing to the semi-final stage.
Carlow (2) were up next and it was they who went in at half time leading 2-1 to 1-1. As with the previous match a strong second half effort saw the girls score two goals and a point to secure victory Carlow (2) 2-3 and Tyrone (2) 3-2.
In spite of this result Tyrone failed to qualify for the semi-final as other results went against them. They did manage a convincing win however against Cavan (2) in their other other group with a score-line of Cavan (2) 1-0 Tyrone (2) 3-4.
The Tyrone (1) team competed in Division 4 at Innisfails with Armagh (2), Kildare (2) and Wicklow as their opponents in the Group 1 section.
Tyrone got off to a winning start defeating Armagh (2) in a competitive match 1-2 to 5-1. Wicklow were up next and following another win (2-5 to 1-1) the girls just had to make sure they were not beaten by more than nine points in their final group game to qualify.
As it turned out they need not have worried as Kildare (2) had no answer to the Red Hand girls as they came away with another victory 4-3 to 0-0 to book their place in the semi-final and a change of venue to Naomh Mearnóg.
On arriving at the different venue the results showed that the Kilkenny (4) team had accounted for every other county in their group by a country mile. Kathleen Woods, vice President and Ulster chairperson made the semi-final draw which saw Tyrone drawn to play Kerry in one and Kilkenny (4) face Cavan in the other.
Kerry proved no match for this emerging team and at no stage was the result ever in doubt. When the final whistle blew it was Tyrone who would progress to the final beating Kerry 0-2 to 1-5.
In the other semi it was no surprise to see Kilkenny (4) progress and a final at 5-30pm with the Red Hands was set.
This was as Kathleen Woods said at the end of the game the best Camogie final she had ever witnessed in her life. Tyrone had the vast majority of the play in the game and with a minute of injury time remaining they led by a point. It was then that Tyrone supporters’ hearts sank as a Kilkenny forward found space and they took an excellent goal before adding a further point. The final score read Tyrone 2-1 Kilkenny (4) 3-1.
The girls can be very proud of their performances and every player was outstanding. The managers Collette Donnelly, Barry Fay and Leona Fay have worked tirelessly with the young camogs and they must feel very proud of what the both teams have achieved.
The teams returned home that evening but were back in Dublin again next day only this time Croke Park was the venue to watch the All Ireland Camogie finals.
The girls also got to join a parade with over 1,300 under 14 camogs from all over Ireland at half time of the Intermediate final.
The Tyrone County Board would like to thank the Camogie Association and all their hard workers especially Brian O Laibheartaign and Clare Dowdall for their great work at the Blitz on Saturday.