Swinford Killasser Minors Reign Supreme
Storm Clodagh battered Mayo on Sunday and made conditions very difficult, as the two best Minor teams in the county faced each other in this final. But, neither the storm nor Knockmore could dethrone the undisputed County Minor Champions for 2015; Swinford Killasser. The mark of true Champions is when they can overcome adversary to win. This is exactly what Swinford Killasser Minor girls did in Sundays Division 1 League Final at Ballyhaunis GAA Pitch. Playing against a strong wind, seven points down and reduced to fourteen players midway through the first half, a lesser team would have thrown in the towel. But, Champions don’t quit. And this Swinford Killasser Minor team showed why they are worthy County Champions by turning a seven point deficit into a one point lead before the break. This second quarter performance showed sheer class, guts and determination of a team who have supreme confidence in their own ability. And it sent Knockmore to the dressing room wondering what had just happened; with their dream start completely blown away by the Swinford Killasser storm.
Knockmore took full advantage of the wind early on, and went into a four point lead before Swinford Killassers Aoife O’Neill and Tara Philips registered scores. The Champions were again rocked when Knockmore scored another goal; which probably had more to do with the bad conditions than good planning. At 2-03 to 0-02 after fifteen minutes, the north Mayo side were further boosted as the east Mayo team were reduced to fourteen through a sin binning. Almost immediately Swinford Killasser sprang to life. When Vanessa McHugh powered onto a high ball punching it up field, it was like the signal to begin the war. Aoife O’Neill received a pass from Michaela Walsh, and scored a cracking goal into the top right corner of the net. Roisin Durkin was causing mayhem in the inside forward line, and her marker had no option but to drag her back on countless occasions to halt her progress. Melissa Devaney latched onto the end of one of these frees to score her first goal, and she followed it up shortly after with her second to put Swinford Killasser into a 3-02 to 2-04 lead at half time.
Buoyed on by their finish to the first half, Swinford Killasser opened the second half with a Roisin Durkin point from distance. A through ball in the thirty fifth minute was again pounced on by the elusive Melissa Devaney, who coolly rounded the keeper to score her third goal of the final. Aishling Forkan followed this up with a point from an almost impossible angle, to open up a six point lead. Knockmore did rally, but could not breach the now unflinching Swinford Killasser rear-guard. Michaela Walsh and Anna Tierney were now totally dominant at midfield. Shots from distance were confidently dealt with by debutant Aoife Groarke in the Champions goal; and dispatched downfield with accuracy to set up more Swinford Killasser attacks. The strength in depth was emphasised as Swinford Killasser unleashed their bench to put the game beyond doubt. With ten minutes remaining, an intelligent free from Roisin Durkin found Tara Philips. She waltzed through the defence, and punched the air in celebration as she buried the ball in the back of the net. And, the celebrations began in earnest when Michaela Walsh ran onto an Aishling Forkan pass to rifle the ball in off the underside of the crossbar for the sixth goal, and Swinford Killassers sixth County Title of 2015.
The sheer joy of victory put a smile across the face of every proud Swinford Killasser player, supporter and parent as the presentations took place. Fittingly, the smiling assassin and Swinford Killasser hat trick hero, Melissa Devaney, received the player of the match award. And beaming with pride, Captain Roisin Durkin then accepted the Cup on behalf of her team mates, who were already kicking off the celebrations at having created history for their Club.
This has being a truly unbelievable year for the most successful Ladies Gaelic Footballing Club in Mayo. Sundays win completed the Clubs third treble of the year; having already captured the U14 & U16 Doubles. Swinford Killasser Ladies GFC have won six County Titles, won the Connacht U14 Division 1 Feile, finished as runners up in the U14B League and U12A Championship, and reached the County U13 A semi-final. And with their school, Swinford Killasser Ladies played a pivotal role in Scoil Muire & Padraig winning a Connacht U16 title, reaching the U16 All Ireland Final and the Connacht U14 Final. Well done to each and everyone of these wonderful girls. Ye are a credit to ye’re Families, Club and Community.
Swinford Killassers Double County Minor Champions: Aoife Groarke, Alanagh Durkin, Maeve Peyton, Niamh Ansboro, Orlaith Lynskey, Vanessa McHugh, Rebecca McHugh, Anna Tierney, Michaela Walsh, Siobhan Hennigan, Aishling Forkan, Aoife O’Neill, Tara Philips, Melissa Devaney, Roisin Durkin (captain), Chloe Moore, Kelly Walsh, Bronagh Molloy, Caoimhe Hennigan, Sarah Loftus, Leah Irwin, Ella Grace, Orla Mullaney, Ciara Henry, Grainne O’Neill and Orna O’Brien.