Westmeath Féile na nÓg Champions 2018 & Féile Peile na nÓg All Ireland Div 7 Champions 2018

U14 Boys Féile Peile na nÓg All Ireland Division 7 Champions 2018:

Mentors 2018

Morgan Farrell
Danny McMonagle
Seamus Mitchell
David O'Connell

Feile Peile na nOg - 29 30 June 1 July 2018

U14 Boys Féile Peile na nÓg All Ireland Division 7 Champions 2018:

Our U14 Boys made history over the weekend when they were crowned Division 7 All Ireland Féile Peile na nÓg champions following a magnificent weekend of football that culminated in a final victory over Ballinlough, Co. Meath on Sunday evening last.

The weekend started with a three hour bus journey to Burren GAA in Co. Down where the lads were greeted by the most hospitable hosts that any club could hope to meet. Following a brief reception, the lads made the short journey to Saval to take on the locals in the first game in sweltering conditions. Any worries that the mentors had about the long bus journey and the heat affecting the players was soon dispelled as the visitors started at a blistering pace and ran out worthy winners in a score of 3-08 to 1-00. 
The second match was a different affair as we met Aghamore from Co Mayo who were an excellent outfit who, on the day, had too much for our lads and won the game on a score line of 2-08 to 1-07. It was a very tired bunch of players that returned to Burren GAA to stay with their “Féile mammies and daddies!”. 
Day two started early with a parade in Burren GAA for the teams that included Burren (2 teams), New York, St Conleths and ourselves. Our first match was against the host club and knowing that it was win or bust, the Athlone boys bolted out of the starting blocks and produced a master class of Gaelic football as they overwhelmed a gallant home team on a score line of 8-11 to 1-01. This left us second in our group and we would face Glyde Rangers/Sean McDermotts/Westerns from Co Louth in the cup quarter final. Having topped their group, the lads were in no doubt about the challenge facing them but despite the energy sapping heat played a very disciplined game and emerged narrow victors on a score of 1-03 to 0-04 with Brandon White netting the all important goal from the penalty spot. A quick visit to Warrenpoint for a bout of pier jumping was the perfect salve to ease the sore muscles. 

Sunday morning saw us say a reluctant goodbye to our magnificent hosts and we headed to Navan for our semi final against JK Brackens of Tipperary. Played in Pairc Tailteann, the bigger stadium saw a few nerves from the lads but they overcame these and won an absolutely absorbing contest by three points on a score of 0-09 to 1-03 and had our ‘keeper Jason Rushe to thank for a saved penalty late on.

The final pitted us against Ballinlough from Co Meath and was played in the Navan O’Mahony’s ground under the shadow of the Pairc Tailteann stand. It was a question of “the survival of the fittest” as after five hard games in blistering sunshine, both sides showed some heavy legs. However, from somewhere, the Athlone lads found an extra ounce of energy and dominated the second moiety to emerge victorious on a score line of 0-07 to 0-01. Cue scenes of unbridled jubilation (and the odd tear) as the large visiting support swamped the new Athlone heroes. It was a very proud moment for the club as captain Pierce Edmundson received the trophy on behalf of the 24 man squad.     

We wish Eoin Hardiman a speedy recovery from his arm break in the final match. Eoin is a vital part of our forward line and was exceptional over the weekend. We hope to see him back in the Blue very soon.

There are too many people to thank individually but we must sincerely thank out hosts Burren GAA. You will travel many a mile before you would encounter a more welcoming group of people and we are deeply indebted to them for the way they looked after us. Thanks to Justin, Paul and the rest of the Burren GAA. We hope to reciprocate some time in the future. Many thanks to all our sponsors for making the trip possible. We could not have travelled without your support. To the parents, we can only again state our total appreciation for your unfaltering support at all times. The noise and colour on display at each ground gave the lads great belief. Likewise to the club members who came out in such numbers to welcome the lads home. 
The team was led from the line by their mentors Seamus Mitchell, David O’Connell, Morgan Farrell and Danny McMonagle and they were meticulous in their preparation. The lads wanted for nothing over the weekend and the whole weekend went off without a hitch thanks to their work. (The late night “strategy” meetings might become a regular feature.) Well done lads, ye were fantastic. 

Finally the biggest thanks goes to the most important people of the weekend and that is the Féile U14 panel for the weekend. They were Alban Cepi, Pierce Edmundson, Luke Farrell, Cian Geary, Cathal Hardiman, Eoin Hardiman, Josh Kenny, Johnny Martin, Donagh McCormack, Lorcan McCormack, Dano McMonagle, Owen McNamara, Kian Mitchell, Luke Nicholson, Luke O’Connell, Oisin O’Sullivan, Daniel Omukoro, Piaras Rohan, Jason Rushe, Tom Sheridan, Alan Sweeney, Jason Ukatu, Shane Wheatley and Brandon White. We were also missing four regulars who were out of the country but they were part of our success in the County Féile and will be as the summer rolls on. They are Brian Collins, Conor Devins, Niall Tallon and Luke Whelan. 
These lads are the future of Athlone GAA and if they continue to put in the efforts seen over the past weekend the future is very bright. Thanks for the memories lads and heartiest congratulations to all of ye.

U13 Leinster Cross County Shield:

Our U13 Boys made the long, but ultimately successful, journey to Sallins in Co. Kildare on Tuesday evening last to play the final of the U13 Leinster Cross County Shield. A competition which saw us pitted against teams from Ferbane/Belmont in Co. Offaly, St Vincent’s in Co. Longford and Carbury in Co. Kildare in the group stages followed by a home tie against Trim, Co. Meath in the semi final stage culminated in victory against Sallins in the final where the lads produced an excellent display of open attacking football where well supported team play was backed up by some tenacious defending.

Despite dominating the first half, the visitors seemed to be suffering from “bus-lag” following the long journey as their shooting boots were off early on meaning there was just four points between the teams at half time. However, the second half saw the lads perform superbly throughout and they ran out very worthy winners. It was a very tired bunch that arrived back at Páirc Chiaráin late on a school night but the fact that they brought the silverware with them made it easier to bear. This was a fantastic display from a very talented and hard working group of young Athlone footballers. They deserve massive credit as they continue to bring credit to themselves and their club. Many thanks to all the parents for their continued support.

The Athlone panel on the night was: Brian Collins, Luke Farrell, Cillian Geary, Cathal Hardiman, Johnny Martin, Lorcan McCormack, Dano McMonagle, Owen McNamara, Kian Mitchell, Luke Nicholson, Luke O’Connell, Daniel Omukoro, Piaras Rohan, Ian Rushe, Jason Rushe, Niall Tallon, Jason Ukatu, Shane Wheatley and Luke Whelan. 

U14 Boys Féile Peile na nÓg 2018
Athlone v Tyrellspass
21/4/2018 The Downs
Our U14 Boys brought home the first piece of silverware to Páirc Chiaráin in 2018 when they claimed the Division 2 Féile Peile na nÓg after a tough battle against a very game Tyrrellspass side. In the process they have ensured that they will be one of Westmeath's representatives in the National Féile Peile na nÓg finals. Played in the impressive surrounds of the The Downs GAA club, the two teams took the pitch in unseasonably warm conditions with sunglasses and T-shirts the order of the day for the spectators.  Coupled with the warm conditions was a strong breeze that blew diagonally across the pitch making accurate shooting and passing very tricky on the day.

Athlone won the toss and elected to play with the wind in the first half and this seemed to pay dividends when they goaled early in the game before adding a further point from the dead ball. However, that was to be the last score for the Shannonsiders in the first moiety. Instead, a combination of some sloppy play and some tenacious Tyrrellspass battling led to the Tidy Town team raising a green flag. Just as in the previous league game (away to Killucan), the Athlone lads had started slowly and failed to take advantage of a strong breeze. In the dressing room at half time, the lads knew that a titanic effort would be required if they were maintain that narrow lead to the final whistle. However, just as in Killucan the previous week, the Athlone boys rolled up their sleeves and put on a fantastic display of grit and determination, coupled with some excellent football to outscore their opponents by 3-2 to 0-02 in the second half. At the long whistle, they had triumphed on a score line of 4-3 to 1-2. However, the final score does not tell the full story of the game as the lads had to put in a massive rear guard action in the latter stages as the Tyrrellspass players came at them in waves. As the second half wore on, the Athlone lads were determined that their goal would not be breached again. The defending from 1 to 15 was exceptional and great credit to the forward line who tacked on the scores needed to supplement the excellent defending. This really was a team effort and it was most pleasing to see each player get on to the field for the match (some not as much as the mentors would have liked but with the time constraints of the twenty-minute halves it wasn’t possible, but there are many league games coming up to make sure everyone gets plenty of playing time).

And so it was a delighted bunch of Athlone players, led by captain for the day, Pierse Edmundson, that climbed the steps of the stand to receive the trophy from Westmeath Minor Board Chairman, Niall O’Brien. Well done to all involved and a journey that began on a wet Saturday morning in Garrycastle is now destined to continue in Burren GAA, Co. Down at the National Féile Peile na nÓg finals from the 29th June to the 1st July. Well done to the Mentors Seamus Mitchell, David O'Connell and Morgan Farrell and hearty congratulations to the players involved. Some new Athlone stars are emerging.  

The U14 panel on the day was: Alban Cepi, Conor Devins, Pierce Edmundson, Luke Farrell, Cian Geary, Eoin Hardiman, Josh Kenny, Johnny Martin, Donagh McCormack, Dano McMonagle, Owen McNamara, Kian Mitchell, Luke O’Connell, Oisin O’Sullivan, Daniel Omukoro, Piaras Rohan, Jason Rushe, Tom Sheridan, Alan Sweeney, Jason Ukatu, Luke Whelan and Brandon White. 
Our U14 Boys have qualified for the Westmeath Division 2 Féile Peile na nÓg final to be played next Saturday in Mullingar. The draw for the group stages meant the lads were based away in Garrycastle where they were pitted against the hosts and St. Mary’s Rochfortbridge. The first game was against St Mary’s Rochfortbridge, who had lost to Garrycastle in the first game. From the first whistle to the last, the Athlone boys were excellent and ran at the opposition in waves.  A combination of tiredness and the defeat in the first game left the Rochfortbridge boys at a distinct disadvantage but we cannot take anything away from the boys in blue as they deservedly took the honours and set up a winner takes all match against their near neighbours. Despite having to play straight after the win over Rochfortbridge, the lads won the throw in and never looked back showing excellent levels of skill and application. Some wayward shooting up front left only three points between the sides at the short whistle but the lads really upped the ante in the second half and tacked on some lovely scores to take the spoils and set up a trip to Moate that evening for the quarter final. Unfortunately, a nightmare start had the boys facing an uphill task as they trailed by eight points at half time. However, they threw off the shackles in the second half and really stretched their opponents and but for some bad luck in front of goal could have really worried the All Whites but the hosts ran out very worthy winners, as they had in our earlier League match and so they headed for the Division 1 semi-final while Athlone headed to the Division 2 version v Caulry. Unfortunately, the torrential rain on Sunday left the pitches unplayable and so pushed the semi final out to Monday evening. While the pitch was very soft underfoot, the Athlone made light of the conditions and gave, by far, their best display of the year and from 1 to 23 put in a superb display to qualify for the Division 2 Final against Tyrrellspass. 

U14 League:
The busiest team in Athlone GAA is definitely the U14 Boys. To date, they have played three rounds of the League as well as four Féile matches (not to mention four games in the Leinster U13 Cross County competition). 
The first league match saw us drawn away against a formidable Moate All Whites outfit. On a night of torrential rain, the Moate lads hit the ground running and overpowered the Athlone boys and had a very healthy lead at half time. A much-improved performance in the second half limited the damage but there was no doubt about the outcome of the game from a long way out. A chastening night for our lads on their first night out but there is no disgrace in being beaten by a better side and the Moate side are a fine side. 

The second round of the League saw us play a fancied Coralstown/Kinnegad side in Pairc Chiarain. On a chilly Spring evening, the Athlone boys threw everything they had at the visitors and put in an excellent shift in the first half and managed to get to half time leading by three. However, the well drilled visitors upped the ante in the second half and while the Athlone lads never dropped their heads, the physicality of the bigger Coralstown/Kinnegad team, coupled with excellent support running saw them pull away in the late stages. Once again, despite the defeat, the Athlone mentors were more than happy with their charges as they left nothing in the pitch.

The third round of the League saw us drawn away to Killucan on Sunday morning last. Unfortunately, due to holidays and injury, only 17 players made the trip. Despite playing with a very strong wind in the first half, the Athlone lads were very slow to get going and found themselves five points down after ten minutes. Slowly but surely, they edged their way in to the game and managed to sneak in front at half time. Facing in to the wind for the second half, the lads put their heads down and produced a much-improved display showing excellent battling qualities and a determined rear-guard action to repel the hosts and moved the ball forward very cleverly to create goal chances which were the difference between the teams at the long whistle. So, one win and two losses are the statistics but there is a growing sense of confidence in this hard-working bunch that augurs well for the future.

The U14 panel for 2018 is: Alban Cepi, Brian Collins, Conor Devins, Pierce Edmundson, Luke Farrell, Cian Geary, Eoin Hardiman, Toby Heavey, Josh Kenny, Johnny Martin, Donagh McCormack, Dano McMonagle, Owen McNamara, Kian Mitchell, Luke O’Connell, Oisin O’Sullivan, Daniel Omukoro, Piaras Rohan, Jason Rushe, Tom Sheridan, Alan Sweeney, Niall Tallon, Jason Ukatu, Luke Whelan and Brandon White.