SATURDAY’S triple header of ladies football finals begins with the Junior C Championship final meeting of Castledermot and Raheens.
Castledermot are unbeaten to date and its quite a feat when you consider they have had no Senior team for the last couple of years.
“There has been no Ladies team in Castledermot for the last three years so it’s our first year back together,” explained captain Niamh Byrne.
“We set out at the start of the year that we were going to win a Championship while going unbeaten and we are still that, so all roads lead to Saturday now.
“It was a shame to not have a team as there are some good players there and our two managers Paul Lawlor and Gary Mulhall got it going and back together and it started from there, and we have been going well since,” added Byrne.
A lot will be expected of Castledermot’s Neasa Dooley for Saturday’s final as she is one of the leading young forwards in the country let alone Kildare and Byrne is just so happy to have her back after she departed the scene briefly.
“Neasa Dooley is a brilliant player and a star for Kildare so it was a shame to see her move clubs and go play elsewhere and it was a huge loss to us but when we got the team back together she was the first one straight back and just happy to be playing with her own club again and she does us proud every day.
“Every match she’s always there, the star of the show and everything, and she is doing brilliantly for herself as she’s different quality and we are just lucky to have her,” said Byrne.
Castledermot had a big win over Raheens in the opening round of the Championship but with two of their better players now missing they know they will have to be on their game.
“Two of our better players are gone off to Dubai to teach and they had to be there this week and we said we’d hopefully do it for them.
“We had a good match with Raheens the last day and while it could be a totally different game we hope to come out on top again,” said Byrne.
Raheens on the other hand are in something of bonus territory as they take their place in their first ever county final at senior level.
Given their quick rise through the ranks it’s no surprise that co-manager David O’Brien admits excitement is near reaching boiling point.
“We are going about four years now and we started off with humble beginnings and myself and Rebecca Roker, who is co manager, planned this so the whole place is buzzing with flags and bunting up so the girls are in good shape and we are really looking forward to it.
“We’ve won a couple of county titles at underage and to get a good senior team was always our plan and luckily enough we have managed to hold on to most of those girls from the under 16 team in 2015 and the core is still there so our plan has sort of came to fruition. It probably came a little quicker than expected but we are delighted to get it,” said O’Brien.
The Caragh based outfit will be big underdogs but they are confident they can still give it a good rattle.
“Castledermot gave us a good beating in the opening game of the Championship but we learned from that and we got our act together and we’ve played some serious football since.
“We are looking forward to the challenge and we know we are up against but we are there on Saturday and I think we will give a good account of ourselves. We are not here to make excuses,” O’Brien said.
Ladies Junior C Football Final Preview- Raheens v Castledermot – Saturday 24 August in Sallins at 1.45pm
By Robert Cribbin