Canon Fogarty Féile Division 2 trophy returns to Naas.   17/06/2018

Hurling Canon Fogarty Féile Division 2 trophy returns to Naas GAA.

Sunday the 10th June 2018 will live long in the memory of this group of hurlers, many of whom started their hurling in the Nursery intake of 2009.

That was the day they won the Féile U14 Division 2 hurling final in the Connacht Centre of Exellance – bringing back the Canon Fogarty trophy first won by the club in 2014 in Owenbeg Derry.

This voyage started in earnest in late 2017 when all the players were asked to commit to training and skills development a number of times a week, followed by matches where and when possible even during dark days of winter.

They trained collectively to the Thursday before Christmas 2017 and many were spotted again in the ball wall at the club as soon as it opened after the Christmas break.

The Kildare championship ended with Naas playing against Éire Óg / Corra Chill in the final on Sunday the 15th of April in the Kildare Centre of Excellence with Naas winning a very competitive game by 1:11 to 2:04.

This meant that Naas would represent not just Naas GAA but also Kildare GAA in the first provincial Féile na nGael 2018 in Connacht.

Naas were drawn to play in Division 2 of the completion and were to be hosted in Tommie Larkins GAA club in Woodford, Co Galway. In the group were the Galway Division 1 A champions Kilnadeema / Leitrim, St Colms of Ballinskreen Co Derry with the hosts Tommie Larkins and Naas.

The first round of matches were schedule for Leitrim pitch on Friday at 5 pm where Naas were to play Kilnadeema Leitrim.

In a weather delayed match it was obvious that this group of teams were going to be a tough task for all teams. Naas won their first match by beating Kilnadeema / Leitrim by 1-06 to 0-02. Next up for Naas was the last match against St. Colms who had their homework done and won the match on a score line of St. Colms 1-0 6 to Naas 0-04.

Naas were wounded but knew that destiny was in their own hands and returned to their base in Woodford to meet with the host club and for the players to stay with their host families for the night.

The next morning arrived and Naas played Tommie Larkins in a game that decided their destiny, and after a slow start Naas pulled away to win on a score line of Naas 4-12 to Tommie Larkins 4-04.

Naas were on the way to the Cup QF in Craughwell. After a dip in Loughrea Lake, Naas went to Craughwell to take on Portaferry from Co Down in a match that was a battle right to the very end. Naas came out on top by a winning on a margin of 2 points.

Naas returned to their host club for a wonderful reception and BBQ by the people of Woodford and the club Tommie Larkins. An early bed time was agreed as the next day both teams had to be on the road very early to go to the Connacht Centre of Excellence.

On Sunday 10th Naas players arrived early at the club to see off the players for Tommie Larkins and formed a guard of honour for them as they left on their bus for the shield semi-final.

Naas departed not long after and again went for a long swim in Loughrea Lake. Naas arrived to play the semi-final against Ballyduff from Co Kerry.

Naas got off to a great start and had a commanding lead at half time. Naas went on to win the match on a score line of Naas 5-06 to Ballyduff 2-03 and were then scheduled to play St Colms who defaeat Naas in the semi-final.

The final was a nervous affair with both teams uncharacteristically missing score able points. Naas went behind to a well taken point but then scored a goal to lift the spirits of players and supporters. St Colms scored two more points to level the match.

Naas then had a flurry of scores and had the advantage at half time by 3-02 to -0-03. The second half saw St Colms go on the attack and the very strong Naas defence came out on top. St Colms scored 0-03 in the second half and Naas scored 1-02.
Leaving Naas as Féile Division 2 Winners on a score line of Naas 4-04 St Colms Ballinscreen 0-06.

Great celebrations for the Naas team, mentors and supporters on the pitch and as they walked over to the podium they were clapped off the pitch by our host club Tommie Larkins.

Naas received the trophy and were cheered off the podium by all their supporters. Naas and County Kildare had won an All Ireland Division 2 title for the second time in 4 years.

Naas arrived home to a deserved heros welcome and both hurlers and camogie players walked side by side down the club avenue to the cheering of all who turned out to celebrated both teams great achievements in the Féile na nGael 2018.

A special word of thanks must go to the mentors, parents and supporters for all their effort in getting these players to the Féile and indeed in bringing success on the national stage again to County Kildare GAA.

The Naas Féile players in alphabetical order:
Cian Boran, Sam Blackburne, Conor Doyle, Theo Frisby, Niall Grainger, Dylan Gregory, Jimmy Hanley, Killian Harrington, Bill Hennessey, Séamus Kelleher, Shane Knott, Ben Loughlin, Fionn Maher, Mac Dara Moore, Seán Murphy, James O’Loughlin, Liam O’Reilly, Tiarnan O’Rourke, Michael O’Sullivan, Rian Redfern, Leornard Ryan, Ryan Sinkey, Alan Tobin, Fiachra Tobin

Thanks to Eoin Moore for the report

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