This week in the Ragg both Cashel Camogie and Kickhams served up a scintillating game of Camogie, one that will live long in the memory.
For girls of age 13 and under to display skills of a such a high level combined with a never say die attitude and fierce determination will be spoken about for days and weeks to come.
The decent attendance certainly received value for money. Kickhams were quick out of the blocks and with eleven minutes played, Cashel looked in real trouble. A Kickhams goal followed by a point gave the Dundrum team a deserved lead. In fact the Cashel defence had to dig deep during this time to ensure the deficit didn't increase.
Cashel opened their account in the 18th minute Keeva O'Donoghue taking a pass from Ciara Moloney and slotting between the posts. Ciara, playing well, soon got in on the scoring act chasing down a ball and pouncing to flick the ball to the Kickhams net.
Just before halftime Anna Fahie soloed right through and at the second attempt, hand passed the sliother into the net, to hand Cashel a 2-1 to 1-1 halftime lead.
The second half again was a brilliant one. Kickhams soon levelled with a goal and went ahead with a third goal. Cashel like in the first half were slow to get going. Kickhams added a point to lead by four, 3-2 to 2-1. But this game soon swayed back in Cashel's favour.
Anna Fahie led the fightback with a superb point. Shortly after Grace Moloney stood over a long range free, rose and struck it perfectly, landing it all the way into the net. The sides were all square again with every range of emotions being put to the test.
The game was now very much in the melting pot with just 6 minutes to play. Cashel were awarded a free 35 metres out, Keeva stood over it and like in previous games dispatched the perfect strike sending it straight to the Kickhams net with precision.
Kickhams quickly went in search of a leveller as Cashel threw bodies on the line. But deep into added on time, the inevitable happened, the ball finding its way into the Cashel net after a goalmouth scramble. Soon after, full time was blown and extra time loomed.
To this point each and every Cashel girl was giving it everything as were the Kickhams girls. The crowd were playing their part too adding to the excitement with a vociferous support for both teams.
No quarter was given in the opening period of extra time as both teams retired at the break still level 4-2 to 4-2 after a scoreless but very entertaining half. The final ten minutes of this game was like the previous sixty, a pulsating clash.
That all important match winning score came with six minutes to play and it came Cashel's way. The ball was worked from defence into attack, Chloe Coleman playing the ball down the stand side , Grace Moloney gathered and played it high towards the Kickhams goal, where Keeva O Donoghue controlled on the stick turned and buried it past the Kickhams keeper. Advantage Cashel. But could they hold on?
To say the final five minutes were nerve wracking is an understatement. Kickhams had one last chance but the defense once again withstood the onslaught and held out for an absorbing victory.
Cashel had 17 heroes on the pitch. The defense of Chloe, Saoirse, Emilie, Lily, Ellie and Ella was 'Rock solid" in front of Evelyn in goals. The midfield positions which rotated throughout the seventy minutes was an area of the game that was fiercely contested. Grace Moloney, Grace Flanagan, Katelyn, Anna and Erin all played huge parts in this area at various stages. The forwards, a very young unit made up of Ciara, Anna, Erin, Grace Flanagan, Hannah, Aoibhe, Sophie and Keeva all played massive parts in getting this success over the line.
Hats off to the girls and mentors of Knockavilla Kickhams who played their hearts out from start to finish and contributed hugely to a fantastic encounter.
Both teams and mentors are commended for the fantastic sportsmanship displayed right through the game and afterwards. So its now onto Abbottstown for All Ireland Community's games on August 20th when we face Athenry and Bagnelstown, whatever the outcome both Galway and Carlow will know for certain they were in a real match.
A special thanks to the mighty support for the girls today it was heartwarming for them to see and embrace afterwards.
Cashel Camogie Team and Scorers: Evelyn Gayson-Molloy, Ellie Butler, Emilie Borowski, Saoirse Davis, Chloe Coleman, Lily Fahie, Ella Shelley, Grace Moloney (1-0), Grace Flanagan, Anna Fahie (1-1), Erin Gillespie, Ciara Moloney (1-0), Hannah Butler, Sophie Rea, Keeva O O'Donoghue (2-1). Sub's used Katelyn Downey and Aoibhe Quirke.