Historic Giles Cup success for Trinity Ladies

sport1Trinity College Ladies GAA team completed their 2014-15 campaign in style on Saturday when it added the Giles Cup, never before won by Trinity, to its silverware. Overcoming Athlone IT in the final meant the TCD side have now succeeded in defeating all the college teams in their league and championship divisions.

The ladies travelled to Cork IT grounds on Thursday night, confident that their efforts since September would pay off.  They had drawn IT Tralee for the semi-final and the Kerry side got off to a cracking start by scoring a goal within the first five minutes.  Trinity swiftly responded with a point from centre forward Aisling Reynolds and a goal from Rebecca McDonnell.  The TCD ladies then took firm control of the game with Nicole Owens scoring 1-6 and Aisling Reynolds, Caitriona Smith, Rebecca McDonnell and Sarah McCaffery exchanging points.  Two more soft Tralee goals could not rescue them as the Trinity forwards placed six goals to secure their place in Saturday’s final.  Substitutes Petra McCafferty, Marie Murphy and Ailbhe Finnerty showed the absolute depth of the entire panel when they came on.  The final score was TCD 6-17 to ITT 3-7.

Athlone IT denied Patrick’s Drumcondra of a place in the final with an outstanding comeback in the last 15 minutes of their semi-final. The final began with strong displays from both sides, which saw the lead changing hands on five separate occasions.  With Trinity holding a fragile 0-6 to 0-5 lead at half-time, substitute Stacy Flood’s second and yet another Reynolds free gave them breathing space and then Aisling Reynolds found Nicole Owens with a perfect pass, allowing the Dublin star to slot her shot in the back of the net.  The lead had stretched to 1-13 to 0-7 when Athlone got a boost as they converted a penalty and scored a point.  Seven minutes remained at that stage and while Athlone were able to mount attacks as they sought to salvage something from the game, the Trinity defence was solid and they could not find a goal.  Trinity’s superior fitness saw them hold off any AIT attempts and secure the win.

Dublin Senior Sarah McCaffrey was exceptional at midfield for Trinity, scoring two points while Cavan Senior, Caitriona Smith also made her presence felt on the scoreboard.  Nicole Owens took home the player of the match.  Seven second-half points from Aisling Reynolds certainly helped Trinity College to claim the Giles Cup. Team captain, Michelle Peel was outstanding all year and displayed her impeccable defensive skills all weekend.  An unsung hero in goals was Aisling Byrne whose kickouts and saves throughout the campaign were crucial to the team’s success.

In the end the dedication and hard work put in all year by the whole squad was rewarded with the ultimate prize: league and championship success.  Manager Davy Burke and selectors Jonathan Burke and Paul Kennedy have shown what a strong management team can do with a committed group of players.

Photo: Huda Awan