Presentation Primary School won their first ever County Football title this week, battling to a hard earned win over a fine Cloughjordan side in Littleton.
Presentation Primary qualified for the final having beat Holycross NS, Ursuline PS, Presentation Clonmel and
St. Michael’s Tipperary Town.
In front of over 100 of their friends from school, the 17 players went through a rigorous warm up with their coaches Karen Bohan, Donal O’Gorman and Kieran Healy.
For the third game in a row, the Pres girls found themselves a goal behind in the opening minute. A hopeful ball was launched towards goals by Cloughjordan, where an unusually high bounce deceived Kate Lydon in the Pres goal and gave the team from the north the perfect start.
With a strong wind behind them and a great start, Cloughjordan pushed hard to take control of the game. However, they were frustrated in front of goal and failed to score for the remainder of the half. Truth be told, Presentation Primary were riding their luck as ball after ball trickled wide or narrowly missed the target. On the one occasion Cloughjordan did hit the target, Kate Lydon stuck out her left boot to make an outstanding reflex save and keep her team in the game.
As half time approached, and having defended for the most part, the Thurles girls began to find a foothold in the game. A fine clearance from the towering Mollie Carroll at full back found the hard working Emma Egan at midfield. A skillful hand pass from Ailish Ryan freed up Ava Fitzgibbon who didn’t have to be asked twice to shoot for goal and as the ball rattled to the net, the massive Thurles crowd erupted into life.
With their tails up the girls now started to really play like the team we know they are. Eva Mulhaire was immense at full back and cleared ball after ball. A defence splitting handpass from Ava Fitgibbon put Lily O’Dowd in the clear and again the Cloughjordan net shook as Lily showed no mercy, drilling the ball to the roof of the net. Half time was a welcome relief and Presentation Primary jogged off, leading by two goals to one.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Both teams fighting for every possession. Both teams defending with bravery and determination. Both teams finding that points were now the only scores available. Cloughjordan scoring twice and Presentation tapping over one. And all the while, the noise from the covered stand was deafening – Let’s go Pres, Let’s go!!
Emma Egan moved to full back and was now winning kick outs and setting up many of the Thurles attacks. Sarah Minogue, introduced at half time, worked tirelessly at midfield, tracking the opposition and winning two crucial turnovers. Up front, Lily O’Dowd and Hanna Witkowska forced Cloughjordan into giving away a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the large square. Ava Fitzgibbon stepped up to take the free and spectacularly riffled the ball into the top corner of the net for the decisive score of the game. There was still time to admire another top class save from Kate Lydon in goals, ensuring that today was going to be a great day for our school!
The final whistle triggered a pitch invasion as pupils, parents and staff ran to congratulate the amazing 17 girls who made history for our proud school.
The final score showed Cloughjordan 1-2, Presentation Primary 3-1 and the team gathered to receive the trophy from Cumann na mBunscol Chairperson, Paddy Kelly. Paddy’s kind words to both teams were applauded and the trophy was handed over to Presentation Primary team.
All 17 girls placed a hand on the trophy and raised it together in line with the team motto; ‘We are all captains’.
This victory didn’t just happen by chance. For the past number of years there has been a greater focus put on participation in sport, especially football. Staff give their time each Monday to coach and encourage the pupils in a range of sports including football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, athletics and camogie. This investment is now bearing fruit and the sporting future looks bright for our school and its pupils.
Karen Kennedy was our special guest at our medal presentation. Karen is a psst pupil of our school and represented our school in the Cumann na mBunscol in 2009, winning a U13 Camogie final. Karen is also Tipperary camogie captain, a Thurles Sarsfields hero and a two time All Star winner.
We were delighted to welcome Karen back to the Pres and her words of advice for the girls were encouraging and inspiring.
U11 Roinn B Champions 2023