All Ireland Final 2023
U14 All-Ireland Final (silver)
It was not to be for Monaghan as a slick Down team produced a superb performance in soaring temperatures and sunshine inthe Clan na Gael GAA club grounds Dundalk on Saturday last.
Down were the victors in the ulster round robin series against Monaghan in April with a 11-point advantage. However, in the ulster final Monaghan had a very polished performance over-coming the Mourne ladies by a massive 17 points, albeit Down were missing some key players on the day, so it would be reasonable to expect these players would be at their disposal on Saturday last.
The opening 30 minutes seen the score stand in Downs favour of a 3-5 to 0-3 lead. They added on another three majors after the break, in spite of the much-improved defending from Monaghan.
Monaghan won the throw in but some overcarrying seem them relinquish the ball in the early stages, Down got into their stride immediately with speed and some good interchanges seen three players involved in the penalty been awarded from Tara Ryan to Evie McHugh to Abigail Hanvey. The resulting penalty was put away in style by Grace Guest. Immediately after the kickout Down were back, bearing down on goal, but Macy Treanor was at hand to clear the line. Down added two points from Abigail Hanvey and Gracie McManus as Monaghan were finding it extremely difficult to get to the speed of the Mourne girls, finally in the 7th minute Lily Coyle got Monaghan on the score board with a lovely point after assistance by Caoimhe Dooley.
In the ninth minute Down got their second goal when at firstthe shot was saved by Louise Dempsey but retrieved byAbigail McManus on its way out and her shot hit off one upright before rebounding across and crossing the goal line on the other end.
The constant attack on the Monaghan goal-line was putting serious pressure on the defence, as a result the midfield and half forward lines were now having to give the extra help needed which meant that the kickouts were getting past the intended targets and Down was mopping up the centre section.
Another three points for the girls in red and black extended their lead. Goal no 3 arrived on the 24th Minute after a high ball in from Annie McEvoy was not read with great intention but somehow went all the way into the net.
Monaghan though countered after this setback with the introduction of fresh legs and added two points from Brannagh Connolly and Saoirse Wilson assisting to leave the half time score at 3-5 to 0-3 in favour of Down.
Monaghan looked to be much more eager and determined after the half time interval which seen Brannagh Connolly added another point as the second half just got started. However, this was to be the last score for the farney County with Down now holding firm in all areas of the field.
Abigail Hanvey netted her second goal of the day when a darting move down the field after several exchanges resulted in her firing strongly to the net. Monaghan continued to work hard, but the slick movements of the Down team were hard to combat, and it was now too much of an uphill battle, to make any inroads. That said the Monaghan management rang the changes off the subs bench to give the much-needed fresh legs, on the other side Down did likewise but the Mourne subs were equally as slick as the starting 15 and it didn’t leave their team at all weakened.
Two more goals were fired home for the Down girls one from boot of Evie McHugh after an initial block by the Monaghan defence seen the ball land expertly for the Down girl and a second penalty was awarded when Hannah Cassin was fouled in the square and the resulting shot was put away by Grace Guest once again.
While Monaghan never gave up, it was the Mourne girls speed and fluency that the Farney girls found most difficult to contest and the Down team rang out convincing winners in the silver All-Ireland U14 title.
Down 6-13 Monaghan 0-4
MONAGHAN: Louise Dempsey; Mollie Sullivan, Eabha Mc Meel. Alana McAdam; Riona Mc Carthy, Lucy Carey, AvaMooney; Macy Treanor[C], Lucy Geoghegan, Saoirse Wilson0-1, Brannagh Connolly 0-2, Lily Coyle 0-1; CaoimheDooley, Naomi McCaghey, Aoife Honey.
Subs used: Mary K Byrne, Tess Treanor, Lydia McKenny, Teigan O'Neill, Caitlyn Mahon, Hollie Coyle, Ava O'Hart, Aoibheann Sullivan, Ava McMahon, Niamh McCarville, Elena Kearney, LilyAnne O'Loughlin, Chloe Mooney, CiaraCulleton & Genevive O'Neill
DOWN: Cadhla Faloon; Orla Magill, Farrah-May Morgan,Maria McStay; Hannah Cassin 0-1, Maisie Quilton, Niamh Napier; Annie McEvoy(c)1-1, Grace Guest 2-1(2 pen); LauraMcEvoy, Tara Ryan, Lucy Elmore 0-1; Abigail Hanvey 2-1, Gracie McManus 0-4(1f),