The Féile group games have now been completed, and it’s disappointing to report that neither of St Canice’s teams, nor indeed neither of our visiting teams, have progressed to the semi-finals.
Our own A Team started the campaign on Friday afternoon with a defeat to the Cork champions and visiting team, Carrigaline. The scoreline of 4-03 to 0-06 probably did not accurately reflect the game as these teams were more closely matched than that. Dungiven had long periods of ball-possession in scoring areas of the pitch but were unable to convert enough of this to scores. Carrigaline were much more incisive and the old adage of “goals win games” was never more true that during this match.
Our B Team had a delayed Friday start because of the Scotland teams’ late arrival – when the match did get underway Dungiven started fairly brightly and, though never in control of the game, were certainly the stronger team. But from a position of relative comfort in the second half St Canice’s missed a very scorable free and a penalty in quick succession. This seemed to hand the initiative to Scotland and they grasped it with both hands as they took their scores to win 3-03 to 2-03.
All teams were turned out as new pins in their new Club gear as they boarded the team-buses to Derry City for the Féile Doire Parade on Friday evening – the sun even put in an appearance on this fine occasion during which all the team captains got to meet the President of the GAA, proud Laois man Liam O’Neill, as the parade route took us from Celtic Park, through The Diamond and Guildhall Square and onto Magee University. Many GAA supporters lined the route to support all participating teams to help make this an unforgettable experience for all the young players and coaches.
After the Parade it was back to Dungiven where the terrific host families were ready to welcome the visiting teams back into their homes – this warm welcome, which allows new friendships to develop among the young competitors and indeed among the competing clubs, is surely what the Féile is all about.
Saturday saw St Canice’s A Team and Carrigaline make the trip across the Glenshane to Bellaghy where the outcome of games could not be predicted, so closely matched were these teams. An early start saw Carrigaline leave at 8am for what was sure to be a key fixture in this group – unfortunately for our visitors they came up short against Bellaghy losing 1-10 to 0-04. Dungiven’s first game of the day saw them get the better of New York, winning 3-07 to 2-04. With Dungiven and Carrigaline both having lost one game it was essential that Dungiven would beat Bellaghy to allow them and Carrigaline to have a chance of making the semi-finals. Despite a very brave effort it wasn’t to be – winning by 4 points at half-time we ended up losing by 2-08 to 3-00. Carrigaline completed the group with a surprising loss to New York which confirmed Bellaghy as group winners – best of luck to them as they proceed to a semi-final with Ballinascreen.
St Canice’s B Team started the day with a very heavy defeat to a very impressive Tinahely (Wicklow) team. This mismatch must have been frustrating for our lads as they couldn’t find any sustained possession against a physically strong and intelligent footballing team. Scotland produced a fine display against Drum to win two-from-two, setting up a group decider game against Tinahely. But as was the case against Dungiven the Wicklow team were much too strong and ran out very convincing winners. The final group game saw our lads finish their Féile in some style by heavily defeating Drum. So Tinahely march impressively into the semi-finals where they meet our neighbours Drumsurn in what is likely to be a tight game.
So, as the final whistle has sounded for our teams, all that’s left is a chance for extending friendships and having a bit of craic. Our Scotland Team have already departed – safe travel home to them. St Canice’s Teams & Carrigaline will meet at 7:15pm in St Patrick’s Church in full Club gear for a Féile Mass, before working on their dance moves at the disco in the Club Hall.