Gaynor Cup U16 â€“ June 2012
University of Limerick was the venue for this yearâ€™s U16 Gaynor Cup. Following on from the success of last yearâ€™s U14 Inter-league competition, it was a natural progression to create the same event for the U16 league centres.
The showery weather in Limerick this past weekend didnâ€™t dampen the spirits of all 13 teams. Cork got off to the best possible start with two wins in their opening games on Friday. Wexford and Dublin Metropolitan also got their campaign off to winning ways. Mayo versus Sligo/Leitrim proved to be the game of the weekend â€“ even at this early stage. Mayo cruising to a four nil lead at half time, youâ€™d have been forgiven to think that the game was all but over. However, early goals in the second half sparked a revival from Sligo/Leitrim. With about five minutes to go, they were level, but they didnâ€™t stop there. Sensing the victory was there for the taking, a smashing left foot volley was the one that sealed victory in the dying moments.
Rain affected games on Saturday as some fixtures were moved to the all weather pitches. Dublin Met and Wexford played out an exciting nil all draw. While Dublin dominated many parts of the game, pure grit and determination from Wexford saw them hold out for a point. Waterford needed to take maximum points in their games in order to topple Cork from top spot in group C, however, Cork edged a 2-1 win over their neighbours to seal their place in Cup final.
Sunday saw the finale of a great weekend of football. In all the placing fixtures, it was wins by the narrowest of margins. Clare finished on a high with a 1-0 victory over Sligo/Leitrim; Donegal and North Tipperary were in goal scoring mood as the Ulster girls edged a 5-4 victory; and Limerick County overcame Kerry 1-0.
In the plate final Galway and Waterford came head to head for the second time over the weekend. It was a repeat of the group game, as Waterford edged an exciting 2-0 win. Captain Aisling Frawley scoring the second to put the game beyond doubt.
Into the Cup final, Cork and Wexford went head to head. Early exchanges between the two sides showed it was going to be a close affair. Cork had chances through Megan Connolly and Ciara Nevin but Wexford keeper, Tamara Furlong was in fine form pulling off point blank saves. There was little Furlong could do when Cork finally found a way through. Shannon Carson rose highest to head home Kate Fitzpatrickâ€™s corner. Wexford were continually a threat on the break, and with the wind behind them going into the second half it was going to be a long 30minutes. Ciara Rossiter was inspirational in centre mid for Wexford and was at the heart of all they did. As the wind and rain picked up so do did the tempo of the game. Carson gave Cork a breather when her long range shot deceived Furlong in goal and doubled Corkâ€™s. Wexford now had to take more risks going forward and as a result Cork found more space in behind the defence. Amy Oâ€™Connorâ€™s lightening quick pace was proving a handful for Wexford all afternoon and it was her pace that got Cork their third goal in the latter end of the game. Cork wrapped up the game with a fourth from Orlaith in the dying moments.
4-0 doesnâ€™t reflect the closeness of the game. Wexford battled hard and never gave up hope of getting back into the game. Congrats to all teams, managers, coaches, players, volunteers, parents and everyone involved in organising the teams participation in the Gaynor Cup.
Speaking at the presentation Republic of Ireland Women's u17 manager, Dave Connell, said "Overall the competition was a huge success with 13 league centres taking part in this inaugural competition and the standard of overall play was really high.â€™
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