Tara Camog's are Camogie Gathering 2013 Champions
Author: Dearbhail O'Neill
Venue: Croke Park, Dublin
Date: 25th - 27th July 2013
Tara Camogie club have had a successful year to date at tournaments; they won the cup at the Birmingham tournament in spring this year, the Senior and Junior Cups at the Tara 7aside tournament at Easter and now the first ever Camogie Gathering tournament in July.
The Camogie Gathering 'Lets Play Ball & Have a Ball' threw in on Thursday, July 25th in Na Fianna CLG with a welcome reception for all travelling and home based teams as well as invited guests. 'Lets Play Ball & Have a Ball' was organised in conjunction with Dublin Camogie Board and was a three day event to celebrate the Gathering 2013.
Toronto Camogie Club, Croydon Camogie Club, Tara Camogie Club, Fullen Gaels, Manchester and a North American representative team, made up of players from Seattle and Washington DC joined with Tara camogie club. Dublin Camogie Clubs, Na Fianna, Ballyboden St. Endas, St. Vincent's, Trinity Gaels and St. Brigid's took part in the festivities and provided the international teams with a good opportunity to play 'home' teams and improve their own game.
On Friday, a full itinerary of games, skills sessions and tours was lined up. Visiting Clubs took part in a wall ball and skills session on Friday morning in Na Fianna, while in the afternoon we attended the museum and tour of Croke park.
One of the biggest highlights for team was playing on the hallowed turf of Croke Park on Friday evening. The weather was atrocious, with thunder and lightning storms, but nothing was going to prevent us from stepping onto the pitch at Croke Park. Many of us have dreamed of playing in Croke Park and for most of the girls on the team it was something that we would never have been able to do playing for our club teams at home. Despite the torrential rain the matches were of good standard and good competition between all the international teams. The Tara squad was definitely strengthened by the addition of the four players representing their clubs in Seattle and Washington DC. After our three matches in Croke Park, Tara finished second behind their old rivals Croydon and the two teams would play it out for the cup final the next day.
On Saturday in Na Fianna the weather was definitely better than the previous evening as Tara and Croydon prepared to meet again on the field of play! It was a tough competitive battle, something we have come to expect from our previous trysts with Croydon. Early in the first half the Tara goal line was under attack but thankfully cleared for a point by goalie Aileen Dillon. The midfield pairing of Caroline Kelly and Lisa Creamer helped ensure a steady flow of ball into the forward line, who in turn were all too keen to convert these into precious scores. The return of Elaine Burke to the forward line teamed with veteran Denise Gillian proved too much for the Croydon defense on a few occasions. Gilligan was denied a few goal opportunities in the first half as they were expertly stopped on the line. At half time the game was up for grabs to either team and they were separated by the closest of margins. Neither team wanted to leave empty handed and both came out after half time with 'all guns blazing.' The turn of the match was when Lindsay Brown (visiting from Seattle Gaels) scored a beautiful point from play which seemed to uplift the Tara players and spur them on. Our visiting players did not stop there,
Caroline Lee from Seattle Gaels pulled on a ball heading for the endline into the back of the Croydon net and effectively sealed the deal for the Tara side. In the last five minutes however Croydon were on the attack, knowing that nothing short of a goal would bring them back into the match; they played the ball skillfully down the pitch to their waiting forward line. Thankfully the Tara backline of Dearbháil O'Neill, Sheila Fernandes, Niamh Keating, Joni Traynor, Janine Heagney and Lucy Hawkes had other ideas and managed to steal the ball from the goal mouth and send it back up the pitch. It was a huge victory for the Tara side as they were missing a few key players and at one stage were not sure if they would be able to compete due to depleting numbers. Thankfully our friends from North America stepped in to help us out and proved to be invaluable on the day! The celebrations are still continuing in London and hopefully there will be more silverware to add to the collection as the year continues!
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