On Saturday the annual U10 Kitty Aylward tournament took place in Ballyhale. This is a superbly run occasion where 24 teams from Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Dublin bring their future stars to battle it out for the coveted Kitty Aylward cup. Gowran have a great record in this tournament, winning it in 2014, getting to the final in 2015, it wasn’t on in 2016 due to adverse weather and were knocked out at quarter final stage last year by eventual winners; Dicksboro. Need less to say, teams all competed for the Cup; no shield or plate for the Gowran contingent. The 2018 U10s had high hopes coming down the M9 early Saturday morning. They had played together last weekend against the U11 Paulstown team and again were preparing Thursday night by playing Thomastown to gel and bond the group together. First up in Ballyhale were Danesfort! At half time the teams were drawn and it went right to the wire, but the Gowran boys held out, winning by a point.
Next up were St Fintans from Wexford and this win saw the Young Ireland side top their group and graduate to the Cup Quarter final.
At 1pm they took on St. Molleran’s , from Carrick-on-Suir. After a tough encounter, the Gowran boys pulled away to win this in the final few minutes, and so progress to the Cup semi-final against favourites; Erins Own, Castlecomer. The ‘Comer side had a half an hour recovery before the semi-final, the Gowran boys had to play immediately after their tough quarter final encounter.
The Castlecomer team were a physically bigger side, it was a bit like David and Goliath on the pitch. However, the Gowran boys stood tight against their opponents and at half time only a goal separated the sides. But the second half proved too much for the Young Ireland U10s. The Comer boys were catching balls, they ran at our backs and they found and took every chance to score goals. The Gowran side couldn’t match their speed and physicality, and so exited the tournament at this stage.
Castlecomer went on to win the Cup, beating hosts; Ballyhale Shamrocks by 1 point.
It was a super achievement to get so far, it was testament to their training and hard work to compete in the Cup and make the Semi-finals. Well done to coaches and team alike, you did your club proud on Saturday.