The Southern Gaels U14 hurling squad made club history this past weekend by reaching the final of their division of Féile na nGael on Sunday.
In what was an inaugural All-Ireland final appearance by a club team at this level, the committed and determined efforts of the Pairc Chiaráin based team saw them achieve a place in the division's ultimate fixture only to succumb to Galway club, Micheál Breathnachs.
This is the third successive year that Southern Gaels has participated in the national Féile competition and each year has been dotted with numerous achievements, but few could have predicted that this year’s team would be within reach of a Feile cup final.
The squad as a cohesive unity performed admirably with captain, Luke O’Connell, inspiring his colleagues over the duration of the national competition.
An opening encounter draw with Cork club, St. Dominics was followed by a solid victory in the second game against Omagh team, St. Enda’s. Saturday morning’s victory over host club, Mayfield, saw Southern Gaels top their division and advance to a quarter final against Brian Dillon’s GAA, also of Cork, which they won in some style as positive thoughts turned towards Sunday hurling, the aspiration of all clubs who participate in the national Féile finals.
South Kerry, an amalgamation of three clubs, provided the semi-final opposition and tension was high, but a wholly committed display from the growing in confidence Gaels saw them annex a final place with a winning margin of five points come the shrill of the final whistle.
With the promised land of a final berth reached, thoughts of All-Ireland glory began to emanate but in a competitive contest, Micheál Breathnachs ensured the prized accolade would rest in Galway, much to the initial disappointment of the Gaels squad and management.
Despite the defeat, the weekend was a resounding success for the club who earned praise from all that encountered them, not just for their hurling but for their friendliness and sportsmanship.