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Our U14 Heros bring home the first All Ireland Title

posted 7 Jul 2011, 16:28 by Moyle Rovers   [ updated 7 Jul 2011, 16:34 ]
The Moyle Rovers GAA Club lifted their first All-Ireland title on Saturday 2nd July winning the Division 4 Féile Peile na nÓg title in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork. They defeated St Mary’s of Sligo by 11 points on a scoreline of 3-13 to 3-02 to claim an emphatic victory.

The Féile Peile na nÓg is an U-14 All-Ireland Football competition involving every county in the country, as well as teams from America and the UK. It is a marvellous competition and it is an honour for any club to get the opportunity to represent their County at the Féile Finals. Moyle Rovers qualified to represent Tipperary in the competition by first winning the South and then the County Féile title last April. This was the fourth time that Moyle Rovers represented the premier county at the Féile Finals, and while the club had reached both the semi-finals and final in previous attempts, this was the first time they went all the way. They played a sparkling brand of football over the 3 days of the competition, catching the attention with their impressive performances throughout.

Day One

Ballinhassig were Moyle Rovers’ host club, providing the players with accommodation and wonderful hospitality for the 3 days of the competition, for which the Moyle Rovers Club were extremely appreciative. Rovers were drawn in Group A of Division 4 along with Sliabh Rua, Ballinhassig and Kinsale from Co. Cork and Tinryland from Co. Carlow. All the Group stage games were played at the grounds of the Sliabh Rua GAA Club in Riverstick.

Moyle Rovers first match on Thursday was against their hosts Ballinhassig and they ran out comfortable winners on a scoreline of 4-8 to 2-1. However, this came at a cost as corner forward Jack McGrath, one of the team’s top marksmen in the lead up to the Finals, aggravated a back muscle while scoring one of his trademark goals. The injury was to regrettably limit his contribution in the rest of the competition.

The second match was against Kinsale. Again Moyle Rovers proved too strong for the Cork side and they racked up a score of 3-11 to 2-1. Perhaps the best of the scores was a point from an acute angle from Alex Purcell, and the best individual performance in this game came from Darragh O’Connor at wing forward. Two wins out of two on day one set things up nicely for day two. Rovers took part in the Féile Parade on Thursday evening in Cork City along with the 114 other boys teams and the 65 girls teams. This truly was a marvellous spectacle and occasion, with almost 6,500 young players participating. The guest of honour for the Parade was GAA President, Christy Cooney, who gave each team captain a memento for Féile.

Day Two

Day two for Moyle Rovers began with the defining game of the group, Moyle Rovers V Tinryland. The Carlow club had twice before been crowned All-Ireland Féile Champions in this Division – 1999 and 2004, so they represented a serious challenge, and Tinryland had their own ambitions to progress from this group to the knock-out stages. But with only the group winner advancing, the result of this game was crucial to both sides.

Moyle Rovers were really up for the game and they took the initiative to Tinryland from the throw-in, in what proved to be a very physical encounter. David Roberts opened their account with a fine point and this was followed by two crucial scores - goals from Stephen Quirke and Ciaran Luttrell, both coming as fitting end product to excellent passages of play and some expansive football from Rovers, as they worked the ball up the field to create the scoring opportunities. Tinryland eventually opened their account with a point, which was to be their only score of the first half, as time and again the Rovers defence thwarted their offensives with Bill Johnston and Morgan Irwin providing the leadership in defence.

Despite having a comfortable 8 point lead at the break, Moyle Rovers did not let up in the second half. They continued to apply tenacious tackling, blocking and pressure all over the field, as Tinryland tried in vain to get a foothold in the game. They needed a goal and their best effort was brilliantly saved by the Rovers keeper Colm McKeown mid-way through the second half. Soon after Stephen Quirke notched up his second goal of the game and David Roberts bagged Rovers’ fourth late on and Moyle Rovers emerged as the victors 4-4 to 0-3.

Moyle Rovers now entered their final group game knowing that a win against their opponents Sliabh Rua would see them progress to the Division 4 semi-final, and they were able to play with a little more freedom as a result. There were some fine performances in this game from Conor Bates, Micheal O’Doherty and Alex Doyle in particular. Perhaps the highlight of the game however were the cracking goals scored by Nathan Croke and Jack Bourke. Moyle Rovers comfortably ran out 5-7 to 0-5 winners to top Group A with the maximum 8 points, and they advanced to the semi-final on Friday evening to play South London in Carrigtuohill.

The Semi-Final

South London were comfortable winners of their group and were slight favourites going into the game having won the Division 5 All-Ireland title last year, accounting for Clonmel Commercials in the Final. After a nervous start, Moyle Rovers eventually took control of the game and they began to play their brand of fast moving football, cutting through the London defence time and again. Two goals from Craig Lonergan and one each from Dara Ryan and Danny Perry put Rovers in an unassailable lead at half-time. Tadhg Fitzgerald gave an outstanding display at midfield and Patrick Cleary’s pace on the half-back line helped curb the threat of the running game that had been deployed by the Londoners to great effect in their group games. Two further goals early in the second half from Danny Perry effectively killed off the game. South London did rally scoring a goal from a penalty and snatching a second soon after but it proved to be too little too late, and the game ended 6-4 to 2-3 in Rovers favour. This was Moyle Rovers third game of the day and fifth in all, and the physicality involved in each of the encounters was certainly taking it’s toll, with several players in need of intensive physio treatment at the end of the day. However, the sheer exhilaration of having reached the All-Ireland Final helped ease the aches and pains.

Day 3 - The Final

The Final against St Mary’s of Sligo was fixed for Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday morning. St Mary’s had a number of impressive performances to reach the decider, most notably victory over Athlone after extra time in the semi-final on Friday night. A large number of Rovers supporters travelled to Cork for the game. Moyle Rovers were extremely focused going into the Final. Both teams looked evenly matched as they lined out in the warm sunshine. David Roberts opened the scoring with two points from play in the second and third minutes. The Sligo club took the upper hand over the course of the next five minutes with two pointed frees and a goal from a rather harsh penalty award to take a 3 point lead. However, Moyle Rovers didn’t panic and 3 fine points in a row from Dara Ryan, Danny Owens and Ciaran Luttrell had them level. Then Stephen Quirke, who was carrying a back injury through most of the tournament, scored Rovers first goal, a terrific effort following an intricate exchange of passes the length of the field. St Mary’s were now struggling to cope with the pace and energy that Moyle Rovers were injecting into the game. Then came the defining score with 5 minutes remaining in the first half: Craig Lonergan rose on the edge of the square to field a high dropping ball and he rifled an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net. From then on the result never really looked in doubt. Rovers continued to dominate the rest of the half and they took a 6 point lead into the interval. In truth they could have been even further ahead but for some stout defending by St Mary’s.

Moyle Rovers began the second half with the same vigour and endeavour as the first and they soon stretched their lead with a brace of points from David Roberts. Danny Owens then looked to have sealed victory for Moyle Rovers stabbing the ball to the net after a long mazy run through the St Marys defence. St Mary’s gallantly struck back with 2 goals in the space of 3 minutes. However, they were to be their final scores of the game as the Moyle Rovers defence, marshalled by the ever ready Morgan Irwin and ‘stonewall’ Bill Johnston, snuffed out any hope of a revival. The Rovers wing backs Keith Cronin and Patrick Loyola got the better of their men and they were giving excellent supply of ball to the Rovers forward line throughout the game, while Nicky Kavanagh and William O’Dwyer comfortably dealt with any threat from the St Mary’s inside forward line. Tadhg Fitzgerald at midfield was outstanding, he and Danny Perry at corner forward made tireless runs throughout the game to create most of the scoring opportunities. Moyle Rovers had certainly reserved their best performance until last. They had been improving and growing in confidence with every game in the competition, and everything came right for them in the Final, and they thoroughly deserved their victory.

This was a terrific team performance, with every player doing their vital bit over the 3 days to help secure the title. This is only the fourth time in the 30 year history of the Féile Peile na nÓg that a Tipperary team has been successful. The Moyle Rovers Club organized an impromptu homecoming for the victorious team on Saturday afternoon and the panel of players, lead by captain Danny Owens, paraded the All-Ireland Cup through the large crowd that had gathered at Monroe to welcome them home. These players certainly have done Moyle Rovers proud in winning the first All-Ireland title for the club. They provided great memories for their parents, families and supporters that travelled to Cork to cheer them on each day, and especially in the Final.


Round 1: Moyle Rovers 4-08 Ballinhassig (Cork) 2-01 Played at Riverstick, Thurs 30th June

Round 2: Moyle Rovers 3-11 Kinsale (Cork) 2-01 Played at Riverstick, Thurs 30th June

Round 3: Moyle Rovers 4-04 Tinryland (Carlow) 0-03 Played at Riverstick, Fri 1st July

Round 4: Moyle Rovers 5-07 Sliabh Rua (Cork) 0-05 Played at Riverstick, Fri 1st July

Semi-Final: Moyle Rovers 6-04 South London (UK) 2-03 Played at Carrigtuohill, Fri 1st July

Final: Moyle Rovers 3-13 St Mary’s (Sligo) 3-02 Played at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Sat 2nd July