Eastern Gaels GAC

Founded 2023

Co. Meath

First Season Final Beckons as Eastern Gaels overcome Slane

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Eastern Gaels Ladies team made more history today when qualifying for the Junior F Ladies Championship final following victory over Slane in an entertaining encounter in Toddy Harding Park. In most unseasonal but most welcome weather conditions both teams went toe to toe for an hour with the Gaels coming out on top on a scoreline of 3-15 to 4-05.

The away side got off to the proverbial flyer when Kate O’Sullivan raised the green flag inside two minutes. Gaels dominated the opening exchanges but some wayward shooting meant the scoreboard wasn’t troubled. Then in their first meaningful attack Slane found the net with a well taken shot to level.

The sides swapped points with Megan Murray on target before we finally started taking our chances. Successive points by Caoimhe Cairns and Aoibheann Butler were followed by a well taken goal for Caoimhe. Kate O, Megan and Caoimhe again reeled off another three excellent scores and now with five minutes to half time Eastern Gaels had a healthy eight point lead.

Slane responded well however with a goal and point of their own with a point from Kate O sandwiched between the scores. Isabel McDonnell-Murphy made a good save in the dying minutes to leave the half time score at 2-07 to 2-02 to us.

It was an impressive first half with Sorcha McNabb and Kate Ball cutting out a lot of home attacks with Katie Burke and Chloe Hall on top in their corners. Alison Connolly Boyle and Kate Kelly were also showing well in the half back line with Alison making a fine block late in the first half. Cliodhna Cairns and Kate O were on top in midfield winning a lot of ball and making incisive runs and linking well with the half forward line of Karolina Slionskyte, Emma O’Sullivan and Megan. This meant that the full forward line of Caoimhe, Leah Maguire and Aoibhinn were getting on a lot of ball and all in all the five point lead was well deserved.

Slane decided to match our proverbial first half flyer by bagging a goal of their own at the start of the second half to cut the deficit to two points but Aoibhinn Butler responded with a point before Kate O netted her second goal to extend our lead again. Caoimhe then finished a great move with a point and Megan added another soon after as we regained some control.

The home side pointed next but we were now moving very well with some great transitioning from defence to attack. We reeled off another three points from Emma O’Sullivan, Megan and then Kate O with a fine solo effort. But still Slane refused to lie down and scored the next two points – including their first from a free which tells a lot about our disciplined defence.

Rachel Boyle and Geraldine Doyle were introduced into the forward line and brought much needed freshness in energy sapping conditions. Still the home side attacked and after a great save by Isabel the referee somewhat harshly awarded a penalty for an earlier foul. It was expertly despatched and the margin was down to five before Kate O and Aoibhinn raised white flags to finish the scoring. Eastern Gaels 3-15, Slane GFC 4-05.

A very satisfying performance by the Ladies - but with room for improvement which is always a good thing. The win was backboned by a solid defensive display and a very mobile and tireless midfield. The forwards found their range after a shaky start and 3-15 is not a bad tally!

Eastern Gaels scorers: Kate O’Sullivan 2-03, Caoimhe Cairns 1-03, Aoibhinn Butler 0-04, Megan Murray 0-04, Emma O’Sullivan 0-01.

So Eastern Gaels make a county final in our first season! Well done to all the Ladies who have put in serious work since the beginning of the year. Well done to Johnny and Darren who have coached the team excellently and fostered a very committed, together and happy camp!

Thanks too to everybody from our East Meath community who travelled to Slane to support the team – it is much appreciated by the club. Milo, Arlo and Freya made some noise!

The final takes place on Sunday 22 October at 1.45pm in Grangegodden, Kells where we will face Dee Rangers. We hope to see you all there!

ps Thanks to our hosts for a very sporting and competitive game and congratulations to Slane GFC on winning the Men’s Junior B title yesterday. A great achievement which we hope to emulate some day!

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