Six teams arrived on a windy and overcast morning at the Oliver Plunkett grounds for the first of the 2011 U10 Blitzes. Bandon, Clonakility, Courcey Rovers, Rosscarbery, Valley Rovers and the hosts – Keelnameela, each fielded one team.
Despite the conditions and missing several players due to injury and holidays, the Valleys arrived in force with a panel of 21 girls.
First game up was Rosscarbery, who had some fine players and the two teams were very evenly matched. It was a relatively low scoring game and featured some fine individual performances from the Valleys as well as an excellent team spirit with many of the younger girls really getting in to the thick of it. The game ended a well deserved draw and both teams really enjoyed the encounter.
Next up, with scarcely a minute to draw breath, was Bandon. The Valleys had narrowly defeated them only two weeks previously and knew they had some very strong players. Unlike the previous game, which was a full 15 a side, Bandon had 12 available, and in fairness, this reduced number suited the smaller pitches, as we were playing across the field. Valleys effectively played two different teams in each half to ensure every player got a chance, and it was probably this factor that led to Bandon achieving a narrow victory. However, once again, the spirit of the Valley players never waivered and there was no shortage of encouragement from the parents who travelled.
The next game was against the hosts, Keelnameela, the Ladies Club attached to Oliver Plunketts. They were a younger side than the other teams with a few under 8 players. We took an opportunity to rest some of our older players in preparation for the two last matches and the predominantly under 9 team acquitted themselves very well and earned a well deserved win.
The penultimate game was versus a much-fancied Courcey Rovers team, but the previous 3 games were obviously telling on their much smaller panel and in the end Valleys ran out victors by a decent margin.
The last game was against Clonakilty and again due to tiredness creeping in, the game time was reduced to eight minutes each way. This was perhaps the biggest test for Valleys, as the Clon team had some very strong players. However, the determination in the Valleys team was immense, with much improved performances by a number of players which helped to secure our final victory. When the final whistle went, a great shout went up from the Valleys and everyone on the team was delighted to have done so well.
A well deserved thanks to Kellnameela for organising and hosting the event and to all the Valleys people who helped with lifts and gave their support.
Go raibh mile mhait agaibh.Mark O’Sullivan (Team Manager)