by Stephen Walsh, Marino
On November 16 last in St. Vincent's GAA club, four colleges competed for the inaugural Marino Institute of Education camogie blitz competition with NUI Maynooth narrowly beating Marino in the penultimate game of the blitz to win the silverware.
Huge credit needs to go to Denis Forde Games Promotions Officer in Marino for his work in organising this camogie blitz. At the early stages there was as many as 14 teams going to take part in the blitz ranging from all corners of the country but through the jigs and the reels the final number was down to four with two colleges having pulled out in the 24 ours preceding the blitz.
Patrick Lennon PME1 ably assisted Denis in the preparation of the event, with the two men out in the hours before the throw in setting up the ground, putting out goals, flags and even a gazebo so that the teams could have their tea and biscuits in between games in shelter, something that is a rarity when it comes to Marino in competitive GAA games.
Marino fielded 13 players for the matches which were 10 a side with teams making their own tactical decisions as to how best to use the 10 players around the field. IT Tallaght knew in advance of the competition that they would only have five players but that didn't stop them turning up and playing a part and they were first out against the hosts. The girls in maroon lent the South Dublin College a few players but even with the additional players they were no match for the home side. Tara-Conncannon-Gibney and Máire Keogh excelled during the game.
On the other pitch Blanchardstown IT and eventual winners NUI Maynooth played out a very entertaining game with the game finishing honours even at 4-14 to 6-8. A late pointed free from Blanchardstown was enough to break the NUI Maynooth players hearts but they rallied well from not achieving victory here to emerge as victors in the tournament.
The next game saw Marino despatch of Blanchardstown in a tough physical encounter as Marino managed by Patrick Lennon and Alan O'Kelly (PME2) made use of the extra bodies. This squad rotation allowed Marino to beat a tired Blanchardstown after their previous fixture. While on the other pitch IT Tallaght were no match for NUI Maynooth.
This all brought things down to the final match with NUI Maynooth playing Marino in winner take all fixture refereed by Stephen Walsh . The Kildare College got the better start going 2-0 to 0-1 up after the first five minutes but credit to Marino they stuck in there with Rachel Browne clearing a mountain of ball at the back while Denise Kelly attacked constantly firing over a point to bring things back to 2-4 to 0-3 at the interval.
Yet Lennon and O'Kelly rallied their charges well and they scored a goal through Máire Keogh but came short on a number of occasions due to some brilliant goalkeeping from the Maynooth 'keeper. With minutes to go Maynooth scored a goal and a point against the run of play to move 3-4 to 1-4 ahead. Try as Marino could to narrow the deficit, all they could manage was a late consolation goal to finish the game 3-4 to 2-4.
After the game there was a medal presentation in the St. Vincent's Clubhouse with Aodán McSuibhne and Denis Forde gave the speeches and presentations.
Overall it was another successful day for Marino GAA hosting the blitz and it is a good starting point for next year to allow for bigger and better blitzes to come owing to the Trojan work by Denis Forde in the GAA department.