St. Aengus N.S. Bridgend completed a unique double of winning the Cumann na mBunscoil boys and girls Gaelic football county finals in Glenswilly last Thursday. St. Aengus overcame a gallant Creevy N.S. in both finals.
The sun shone down on the pitch, the stands were packed, water bottles filled and lunch boxes opened. You might have thought you were sitting down to an All-Ireland final in Croke Park but instead, you were treated to two titanic battles between four well-coached teams.
First out were the girls of St. Aengus and Creevy National schools. The game started in a whirlwind fashion. Creevy pointed early to take the lead but goals from Sophia McLaughlin and Cara Hirrell settled the Bridgend girls. The middle third girls of Aoife Lynch, Grace Callaghan, Deva Gopalkrishnan, and Kamile Griciute began to get a hold of the ball and dominate possession and feed full forward Lucy Bonner. At half-time, the game was in the balance and Creevy came out fighting in the second half. Mia Rose McKinney and Edel Breslin repelled all the attacks and when they got through they were met by Bridgend’s goalkeeper Aoife McBrearty who kept the Inishowen girls in the game at this vital time.
The game was in the balance but up stepped Captain Danielle Hegarty. She fed goal poacher Emily Porter who plundered a couple of goals. Creevy wasn’t finished yet and threatened to put the game into extra time. Coach Caolan Kelly rang the changes with Chloe Barron, Amelia Rose Breslin, Ina Kocija, Meave Burgess and Tara Arbuckle steading the ship and the Bridgend girls ran out winners 5-3 to 1-10.
The spectators had barely caught their breath when they were treated to another cracker of a match in the boys’ final. The boys’ match had a similar pattern to the first match with Creevy National School settling well with the first score of the match straight from the throw-in. St. Aengus were under considerable pressure and only for some last-minute interception by Cadhan Mulhearn and Joshua McLaughlin kept the East Donegal team in the game.
Then the game changed. A pinpoint kick out by Goalkeeper Cianán Wallace found Captain Conor Barron. His defence-splitting pass found full forward Shay Diver, a quick layoff, and the ball was flicked over the bar by the brilliant James Bradley. Twin brother Michael Bradley was now having a big say around the middle of the field and center-back Oisin Callaghan and midfielder Aodhan McGee began to assert their influence.
Once again, just like the girls’ game Creevy NS boys came back into the game in the second half. Nothing could pass “The Rock” at the back, Oisin Arbuckle. He began to drive the team from the back. Some quick passes later and Temi Adegboyo scored the match-defining goals. Again Creevy came back as the Bridgend boys began to tire but coach Caolan Kelly again rang the changes with Oliver Kearns, Caoimhín Barr, Conor Kerrigan, and Kian Clarke all making vital contributions to see the game out. The final score was 3-12 to 1-5.
The future is bright for the four sets of players. Hard luck to a magnificent Creevy N.S. who battled hard all day in both games and on another day the results could have been different. Congratulations to St. Aengus N.S. on their historic double. They’ll be the team to beat next year.