Killarney U16s girls win inaugural Millo O’Meara Perpetual Cup
Words Diarmuid O’Malley
This is the Killarney U16s girls third trophy of a record breaking year who had earlier won the Munster league and cup. This victory was very special, as Millo O’Meara had coached many of these girls prior to his untimely passing. Seven players from Killarney had played with the Munster U16s team in the interprovincial championship the prior day in Dublin so the Killarney girls had to utilize their full squad depth minus the Munster 7’s players which made the victory even sweeter.
Teams from Shannon, Ballincollig and Tralee as well as the hosts played each other in a 10 aside competition. The Killarney girls were the only team who were unbeaten in the group stages thus qualifying for the final vs Ballincollig.
In an excellently contested final, Ballincollig went into an early 10-0 lead, playing some fantastic rugby in the process. The Killarney girls needed to respond and how they responded was simply breathtaking scoring four unanswered tries. Two of the tries were scored by the outstanding skipper Joanne O’Keefee, while a try was run in from her own 22 by Ali O’Donoghue. Beaufort girl Kate Mangan touched down for the fourth try. The final score was 26-10 to Killarney.
“Today was a real test of the depth of our squad who have worked so hard all year, the quality of rugby they played in the final was simply phenomenal, playing the game the way it should be played added co-coach Diarmuid O’Malley. Each one of the girls stepped up to the plate today and all contributed hugely to the win.
There is an unbelievable spirit in the squad and when the girls went down to two early tries none of the girls panicked, they stuck to the process on how they have played all year and this is something that gives myself and the other co coach Josh Whelan huge satisfaction as they are playing “heads up” rugby keeping the ball alive at all times with a smile on their face. These are a unique group of girls who will keep getting better and better because they are prepared to work hard, have the right attitude to learn and always looking to get better and better” added O’Malley.
“Today was a huge day for the club, who wanted to recognise all the work our dear friend Millo had put in with these girls in their earlier years. The fact that Killarney ended up winning the tournament was just the icing on the cake. All the profits from today went to Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association of Ireland. To have Millo’s family here today was very special and I know there is man in heaven looking down with a big smile on his face with the quality of rugby these young girls played today” said Liam Murphy one of the organisers of the tournament along with Anne Gabbett and Fiona Landers. “A special mention to all parents, kids and club members who helped out to make today such a superb day and a huge thanks to the club committee for supplying the burgers and drinks on the day as well as Ger Moynihan and Feargal Courtney for reffing the matches. This is an event we will look to run each year in memory of a thorough rugby man Millo” added Murphy.
A huge congrats to Fia, Emma and Ava who represented Munster Rugby U18’s in the Interpros over the past week with matches against Leinster and Ulster. Ava got on the scoreboard with 2 tries while Fia kicked a conversion in the match V Ulster in Athlone yesterday. A fantastic experience for the girls and we are all so proud of ye!