Eastern Gaels GAC

Founded 2023

Co. Meath

Eastern Gaels are Champions of Meath!

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In an absolutely enthralling end to our first season, Eastern Gaels overcame Dee Rangers in Gaeil Colmcille’s grounds in Grangegodden to be crowned Meath Junior F Champions. In glorious sunshine the Ladies saved the best ‘til last and delivered an outstanding performance to overcome top quality opposition.

Once again our Ladies were quickly out of the blocks with Caoimhe Cairns netting in the opening minute from our first attack. What a start – but Rangers launched a first attack of their own and opened their account with a nice point. The early exchanges were brisk and Emma O’Sullivan soon pointed with a nice right footer. It was nip and tuck with Rangers pointing next before Caoimhe raised another white flag following excellent approach play.

An injury to a Rangers player halfway through the half gave everyone a chance to catch their breath and on the resumption Megan Murray blasted a point over via an upright. Rangers pointed a free and were beginning to gain the upper hand. A hugely important interception by Sorcha Nic An Aba thwarted a very dangerous situation but still Rangers pressed and got the next point from a turnover ball. A brilliant read of the play by Annaleigh McGuinness saw her gain possession and stick over a great point.

The last play of the half saw Dee Rangers turnover possession centrally and a lobbed effort dropped somewhat fortuitously over Isabelle McDonnell Murphy and into the net. Isabelle’s kickouts throughout the half had been instrumental in launching many fine moves.

Overall our first half performance was really good with the Boyle sisters, Rachel and Alison defending resolutely, Cliodhna playing a captain’s part and the two Kates, Ball and Kelly getting the better of their opponents in a lively Rangers forward line.

Kate O’Sullivan and Grace Toolan got through a huge amount of work in midfield and really drove the team on. As well as the scorers, Aoibhinn Butler, Karolina Slionskyte and Leah Maguire were linking play well.

Half time: Eastern Gaels 1-04, Dee Rangers 1-04 and all to play for!

The second half started in identical fashion to the first with our Ladies driving forward and Megan coolly finishing to the net in the first minute. Emma then added a point from a well worked short free. We dared to dream.

Rangers hit back with their first point of the half before Megan scored our first point from a free. Our next score was also a Megan free but not before Rangers scored a couple of points of their own, one from a free. Just three points in it.

A crucial moment came in the 42nd minute when the Rangers centre forward was yellow carded. Megan was on target again with her third pointed free in a row. Shortly after Caoimhe finished excellently to the net after a well worked move. The gap was seven points.

But still Rangers refused to throw in the towel and reeled off the next three points, one from a free. A lapse of concentration then saw the deficit cut to a point when Rangers goaled. Excitement was now at fever pitch and fingernails were in short supply!

A brilliant piece of defending from Rachel saved an almost certain goal and from the resulting kickout the ball found its way to Megan. She took off from our half and surged into the heart of the Dee Rangers defence before kicking a magnificent point. It really was a thing of beauty and when she pointed a late free we could finally believe.

The final whistle seemed to take an eternity but when the ref finally blew it, the large attendance from East Meath erupted. What a game, what a performance, what a team, what a win!

Full time: Eastern Gaels 3-10, Dee Rangers 2-10

Eastern Gaels scorers: Caoimhe Cairns 2-01, Megan Murray 1-06 (4f), Emma O’Sullivan 0-02, Annaleigh McGuinness 0-01.

And it was a real team effort. Isabelle was assured in goal and her kickouts were the starting point for everything good. The defence performed magnificently - marshalled in the centre by Sorcha and Cliodhna, Rachel and Kate gave nothing away in the corners and Kate and Alison on the wings not only defended but linked well with our midfield.

Grace and Kate were trojan in the centre and never stopped working. They linked defence and attack and stopped Rangers’ attacks before they got going, heroic stuff.

Up front we played some lovely football and the link and support play was top class. This was only possible because of the tireless efforts of Emma, Katie Burke and Annaleigh on the half line, Leah, Karolina and Aoibhinn in the full forward line and Megan and Caoimhe through the middle.

Not forgetting the other squad members, Ger Doyle, Chloe Hall, Taillte Cairns and Jess McManus who contributed hugely throughout the season and again today.

As a club Eastern Gaels are so proud of these Ladies. Their first Championship and they bring home the silverware. They have been great ambassadors for our fledgling club and also for our community here in East Meath. True Gaels.

The team would be (rightly!) very annoyed if we did not mention the management duo of Johnny Cairns and Darren O’Sullivan. These men have worked tirelessly with the Ladies, experienced the highs and lows, guided them wonderfully and left no stone unturned in ensuring that the Ladies could perform to their optimum. Like today. We are indebted to them both - go raibh míle maith agaibh!

Thanks to Dee Rangers for a wonderful game. Thanks to referee Sean Gahan and all officials from Meath LGFA. Thanks to Gaeil Colmcille for providing such a great pitch after the deluge this week. Thanks to our main sponsors HQ Electrical, McDonnell Murphy and Northern Trust for your support in getting us up and running.

Lastly, thank you to our wonderful supporters who got behind the Ladies from the very first whistle and never stopped urging them on.

Eastern Gaels … Junior F Champions - what a wonderful end to our debut season!

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