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All-Ireland Rounders Double Gold 2005
By Helen Lydon
Aug 21, 2005, 12:04

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The biggest event on the underage Rounders calendar is without doubt the National Féile Championships held in Dublin on the 7th-9th August this year. As reigning champions a lot was expected from the Castlebar Girls and they rose to the challenge.

U-13 Competition

The U13 Girls competition started off the weekend with teams from all over Ireland fighting for the title. In their first match Castlebar played Ulster Community Games Champions Erne Eagles from Cavan. The Castlebar girls started as they meant to go on making three outs on the first four batters. Spurred by their excellent fielding the Castlebar girls notched up a very impressive 9 runs from the superb batting of Sarah Groonell and Orla Callen. These runs proved to be to much for the Cavan side to overcome with Castlebar taking the victory 21-5 with a batting in hand.

Next up were Wolfe Tones, Sallins from Kildare. Salllins won the toss and decided to bat first but failed to score any runs. This was mainly due to the deadly duo of Katie Kenny bowling and Sarah Groonell back catching. Castlebar’s turn to bat brought many a hit outfield. Sally Maughan’s pinpoint placement of the ball guaranteed her first ever home run. This spurred a relay of hard hitting from Ailsinn Mc Govern, Aisling Walsh and Verdah Alamo. Kildare’s next batting couldn’t draw close to the feisty Castlebar girls; they easily won 22-0.

With spirits high Castlebar’s next opponents were Limekiln from Dublin. Past experience has shown that the Dubs are no walkover. Knowing this the Castlebar girls displayed an air of expertise and confidence in the fist round of batting. Low and hard hitting by Niamh O’ Donoghue, Sally Maughan and Sarah Groonell loaded the bases. Pressure was on young Aisling Walsh to hit big, and hit big she did with a spectacular hit outfield, which any senior player would have been proud of. This hit gained Castlebar home run number one of the match. This caused a series of fantastic batting with Alison Mc Hugh and Katie Kenny being key additions. The skilled batting expertise of Katie Tynan emulated the batting of Aisling Walsh and secured yet another home run for Castlebar. Sally Maughan completed the chain of home runs with a massive hit behind second base. The score at the end of the first inning was 16-4. Niamh O’ Donoghue conquered the second inning by single handedly making two and combining her talent with Aislinn Mc Govern on third for the final out. Finishing score 24-11.

The Heath of Laois ‘Bumble Bee’s’ appeared to be Castlebar strongest opponents as like Castlebar they had won all their matches. Joyce O’Grady and Emily Mc Hale played a vital role in Castlebar’s triumph over the Heath. It was evident that both of them were too much for the Leinster side as any possible scores were quickly halted. Emily’s batting average was a very impressive 2.34 per inning and Joyce had a very high RBI score whish helped maintain Castlebar’s lead over The Heath.

This match wasn’t the final meeting of the two sides as the final brought a showdown match between them. Castlebar were confident going in to this game and this was instilled by the excellent play of the very skilled and talented Michelle Hopkins. Castlebar did however, show signs of fatigue and conceded 8 runs in the first inning. Alison Mc Hugh in her role as captain rattled the Heath with a colossal hit outfield between first and second bringing three runners home. As a result the Castlebar fielding was at a high point. Sally Maughan proved to be the biggest obstacle for the Heath on second base. Her superb catching and throwing brought an outstanding double play, which stunned the Laois supporters. Katie Kenny’s speedy and clever bowling edged Castlebar into a commanding position. Castlebar retook the Féile Cluiche Corr na h-Éireann title for the third time running with a score of 9-8.

U-15 Competition

The following day was the under 15 competition. The first team Castlebar played was Erne Eagles from Cavan. After travelling three hours a very tired Castlebar team took to the field. Erne Eagles knowing reputation of Castlebar fielded a strong panel of batters. This gave a head start to Cavan of four runs. The Castlebar girls realising that they had a fight on their hands began hitting big. Unfortunately for Olivia Tolster, Kathryn Sullivan and Katie Tynan clever positioning of fielders by Cavan ensured that all hit outfield were caught. This resulted in a score of 4-2 for Cavan. Not to be rattled the Castlebar girls quickly raised their game led by Fionnuala Quinn and Emer Dolan. Fionnuala made a fantastic straight catch off the bat in her position as back-catcher. This combined with precision throwing to Emer Dolan to on first ensured a perfect three out in a row with no runs scored. Hard hitting especially from Irish racquetballer Majella Haverty helped notch up a very impressive 8 runs and secured Castlebar the victory.

Castlebar’s next challenge was Dublin’s, Limekiln. Dublin fielded a formidable team. Tactical play by Limekiln resulted in runners on all three bases with their 2004 player of the year Laura Donnelly batting. Despite strong bowling from Castlebar’s Olivia Tolster, contact was made which resulted in a massive hit outfield beyond Kathryn Sullivan’s reach and secured a home run for the Dubliners. Pressure was now on Castlebar to perform. Liane Smyth rose to the challenge by catching the powerful batting of Amy Kett and then throwing to Orla Conlon on second base to make the out. Orla continued this success by copping the next batter out. Castlebar’s turn to bat was next to perfection. Michelle Newcombe started a stream of outfield hitting continued by Tressan Maughan, Ciara Groonell and Michelle Hopkins. Castlebar secured a whopping 14 runs in this inning which was the undoing of Dublin.

Next up were Sallins from Kildare. Weak bowling on their behalf gave Castlebar 17 runs. This score put Castlebar in a commanding position. The ever-safe hands of Juliet Connaughton combined with the pin-point accuracy of Michelle Hopkins easily granted the required 9 outs to win the match.

Castlebar re-met Limekiln in the final. Both teams were geared up for the game. Ciara Groonell displayed why she was captain with clever thinking and quick play; tagging one runner, catching the next and tagging her base for the three outs. After this exceptional 1st inning spirits were high and Castlebar’s hitting was at an all-time high. The speed of Kathryn Sullivan, Liane Smyth, and Orla Conlon constantly increased Castlebar’s score. The game was now in effect over and Limekiln was forced to bat on. Castlebar successfully outed the required 12 players and took the title of 2005 Féile Champions.


Castlebar - U13 Rounders All - Ireland Champions 2005

Back row –L-R – Katie Tynan, Sarah Groonell, Michelle Hopkins, Sally Maughan, Joyce O’Grady, Niamh O’Donoghue and Orla Callan
Front row - L-R – Aisling Walsh, Katie Kenny, Verdah Alamo, Emily McHale, Aislinn McGovern and Alison McHugh (Cpt)

Castlebar - U13 Rounders All - Ireland Champions 2005

Back row L-R – Michelle Newcombe, Juliet Connaughton, Emer Dolan, Olivia Tolster, Fionnuala Quinn, Michelle Hopkins and Majella Haverty
Front row L-R – Emma Flannelly, Liane Smyth, Orla Conlon, Ciara Groonell (Cpt), Kathryn Sullivan, Tressan Maughan and Katie Tynan

Managers – Helen Lydon, Brianne Moran, Grainne Cashin, Eleanor O’Boyle and Kathryn O’Boyle

© Copyright 2006 by the author(s)/photographer(s) and

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