Feile 2016

Feile na nGael 2016
The Euros may be hogging all the headlines at the minute but for the young GAA players across the island of Ireland it is the John West Féile na nGael that takes prominence this weekend, 17th – 19th June. Venues across Tipperary and Waterford play host to the hurling and camogie competitions with the hurling competition comprising of 10 divisions with roughly 16 teams per division.
Cappawhite Gaels were drawn in Division 2 in a group that also contained Bredagh GAC (Co. Down Champions), Ballyduff GAA (Co. Kerry Champions) and a fellow Tipperary team in Ballina GAA. In true Féile spirit the boys from Bredagh, Co Down would be staying in Ballina for the weekend while Cappawhite would play host to the boys from Ballyduff in North Kerry.

 Cappawhite Féile Panel

Anthony Barry, Ben White, Aaron Renehan, Sean Cleary, Daniel Clancy, Mikey O’Brien, Stephen Dee, Mikey Carmody, Daire Duggan, Neil Clancy, Gearoid Ryan(B), Thierry Hassett, Sam Carmody, Pakie Barry, James Quinlan, Sean Togher, Caoimhin Doody, Cian O’Carroll, Conor Martin, Jack Armshaw, Kyle Walsh, Jamie Buckley, Aidan Sutton, Odhran Kelly.

 Round 1

Cappawhite Gaels      1-6

Bredagh                      1-4

First up for Cappawhite Gaels was the challenge of facing the kingpins of Co. Down underage hurling, Bredagh. Located in the heart of Belfast right beside Ravenhill Stadium they faced a 352km journey to Cappawhite, while many would have thought they would be tired from such a trek they certainly didn’t show any signs of it as they pushed Cappa all the way.

As the playing halves are shortened to 15 minutes a half for the Féile it was vital that the team start well, with the wind blowing strongly across and down the pitch Cappa played with what aid from the wind there was in the first half. Gearoid Ryan(B) was the first man on the scoresheet with a well taken free to settle the home team. However shortly after this the direct play of Bredagh as they ran the ball against the wind worked for them as a goalmouth scramble saw their full-forward just about get the ball over the line to put them 1-0 to 0-1 up. This certainly rattled the Cappa boys but they recovered and fought tooth and nail to prevent any further concessions of scores. Likewise, the Bredagh defence fought hard but with the wind forcing all the play inside their 65 they would be forced to concede frees rather than allowing the Cappa forward threaten their goal. Indeed, Pakie Barry was desperately unlucky not to rattle the net as his shot came back off of the post having beaten the keeper. Gearoid Ryan(B) would rack up another two pointed frees with Pakie Barry also putting over a free to give Cappa a 0-4 to 1-0 lead at half time.

Cappa came out well in the second half and battled for possession against a very strong team from the North. The wind was now forcing the play into the Cappa half and just as the opposition had done in the first half they were forced to concede frees in defence and gradually work the ball forward in attack. Pakie Barry and Jack Armshaw were making incisive runs and linking well together and after 10 minutes of play Pakie finally managed to net a brilliant goal despite being surrounded by 4 Bredagh defenders. Further points from play from Pakie Barry and Daniel Clancy did enough to cancel out the four pointed frees of Bredagh in the second half leaving Cappa with a 1-6 to 1-4 win. Cappawhite perhaps started a little slowly but they found their momentum as the game developed, they were best served by Pakie Barry in attack, Daire Duggan in midfield and Mikey O’Brien and Daniel Clancy in defence. Credit to Bredagh too who put in a fantastic display of skill, strength and fair play despite the arduous journey they had taken to get to West Tipperary.

 Round 2

Cappawhite Gaels      1-6

Ballina                         0-3

Up next for the Cappawhite Gaels, after a 15 minute breather, was the challenge of a very strong Ballina team who had a convincing win in their first game against Ballyduff on the second pitch. Cappawhite again managed to play with the wind in the first half and they started all guns blazing with a point from the stick of Gearoid Ryan(B) inside the opening minute. The majority of play was forced inside the Ballina 45 such was the work-rate of the Cappa forwards and midfield, no Ballina back was allowed time to clear the ball as the Cappa players crowded and hooked, harried and blocked their men. As the opening 15 minutes progressed this was to be the tale of the half with Gearoid Ryan(B) adding a second point to his tally. Pakie Barry then chipped in with two pointed frees as well as a point from play before hitting the post for the second time of the day. This left the half-time score at 0-5 to 0-0 in favour of the home team with a big fight back expected from Ballina who possessed some hurlers of real quality.

The work-rate of the Cappa hurlers in the second half was exceptional with Mikey Carmody and Gearoid Ryan(B) in particular getting stuck into everything. Aaron Renehan at full-back was rock solid and never let a ball pass him despite marking a full-forward that would give Usain Bolt a run for his money, his hurling brain and skill nullifying the threat of the opposition speedster. Just as in the game against Bredagh the Cappa defence was forced into conceding frees as the Ballina forwards ran at goal with every chance they had. A free for Gearoid Ryan(B) extended the lead to 0-6 to 0-0 before Ballina registered a point from a free and a point from play to leave just four in it. By this time Jack Armshaw was lighting up the game with runs that the Ballina defence couldn’t handle and eventually his reward came with a goal in the 13th minute of the half to leave it at 1-6 to 0-2. Ballina pressed forward for the final few minutes looking to snatch a goal or two but a point from a free was all they could manage as the Cappa team hunted in packs.

This was a performance of real quality from Cappa as they worked tirelessly to ensure they wouldn’t be beaten on home ground. Aaron Renehan was outstanding at the back along with Mikey O’Brien and James Quinlan. Gearoid Ryan(B) covered every blade of grass with Mikey Carmody in the middle third while Jack Armshaw did the damage up front. In addition to this Anthony Barry was cool and composed in goals with his corner-backs never once caught out. Credit too goes to the wing and corner-forwards for their work in preventing soft clearances from the Ballina back six with Cian O’Carroll and Caoimhin Doody both desperately unlucky not to get in on the goal scoring as their chances just didn’t make it.

Round 3

Cappawhite Gaels 3-3
Ballyduff 2-1

After a good night’s rest the final group game came against Ballyduff this Saturday morning, June 18th. For the third game in a row Cappawhite Gaels played with the wind in the first half despite losing the toss. It seemed like it was going to be a good day for Cappawhite as Jack Armshaw opened the scoring with a goal in the first minute of play, Pakie Barry then followed up with a point from play two minutes later to settle the hosts. However, any hopes of any easy win were cut short by the hard working men from the Kingdom as they pressed forward and nabbed a goal from a long range free to cut it back to just the minimal of leads for Cappa. A second goal from a quick free saw Ballyduff take the lead and shock the Cappa boys before Gearoid Ryan(B) slotted a free of his own to leave it at 2-0 to 1-2 in favour of the visitors at the break.

Cappawhite came out firing in the second half and despite conceding an early point from a free they kept all the pressure in the opposition half despite playing against the wind. As in the previous games Cappa played a more direct-running style of play in the second half and Jack Armshaw’s pace tore apart the Ballyduff defence, he netted two goals in quick succession to give his team a 3-2 to 2-1 lead entering the final five minutes. Cappa were now moving with pace and snuffing out any opposition threats with Mikey O’Brien leading his defence in putting in some huge hits. Thierry Hassett was working well up front on his introduction and managed to draw two men before passing to Mikey Carmody who drove the ball over the bar for the final score of the game leaving it a 3-3 to 2-1 in favour of Cappa.

After a quick fire opening Cappawhite were a little shell-shocked at the concession of two goals in 4 minutes, they struggled to stamp their authority on the game for the rest of the opening half but like any team of quality they played to their potential in the second half. In fact they were desperately unlucky not to have another three green flags raised between goalmouth clearances by the Ballyduff keeper and shots just flashing outside the post. Jack Armshaw and his three goals deserve the highest of praise but it would be fair to say he wouldn’t have had the opportunity for two of them without the supply of quality ball from players out the field. Ben White and Sean Cleary in the back line had their busiest game of the Féile so far and stood up well as they dispossessed their men and came out with the ball.

Up next for Cappawhite Gaels is a meeting with Slaughtneil of Co. Derry in the Féile na nGael Division Two Quarter-Final.


Cappawhite Gaels      3-8

Slaughtneil                 0-4

A magnificent performance at home in Cappawhite saw the Cappa Gaels progress to the Division Two Semi-Final of Féile na nGael which they will play later this evening, their third game of the day and fifth game in 26 hours.

Mikey Carmody set the tone from the throw-in by battling hard and scoring the first point from play after just a minute. Pakie Barry added to this with two lovely strikes over the bar in the second and fourth minutes of play to put Cappa 0-3 up before Slaughtneil registered a point of their own from their danger man up front. Straight away from this Jack Armshaw added to his already incredible strike rate with another goal, Gearoid Ryan(B) and Pakie Barry then adding on a point-a-piece to put Cappa 1-5 to 0-1 up and looking good. A rally from the Down men saw them denied a point by Anthony Barry in goals before he then pulled off an incredible save by getting his hurley back across his body and blocking a sliotar that was going straight for the top corner. Slaughtneil did manage to get two points during this rally but for Anthony’s saves and a vital interception by Ben White it could have been a lot more. Sean Cleary too put his body on the line forcing his man out to the sideline and blocking his shot taking a nasty hand injury in the process. Having weathered the storm this left it at 1-5 to 0-3 in favour of Cappa at the break.

We’ve seen in the tournament so far that Cappa can up their play in the second-half and that is again what they did. A brilliant pass from Pakie Barry to Jack Armshaw split open the defence and with Jack’s shot just saved it fell to Neill Clancy and his predatory instincts to drive the ball into the net. From the resultant puck-out Pakie Barry won possession and slotted another point to put Cappa 2-6 to 0-3 up, all this inside the opening minute of the half. Slaughtneil responded with a well taken point of their own but that was to be the sum of their scoring for the day before Jack Armshaw added yet another goal to his tally. Pakie Barry rounded out the win with two pointed frees as the play ebbed and flowed with Slaughtneil throwing everything at Cappa. The men from the West held up their opposition and the defence certainly played its part in sealing a well-earned victory for Cappawhite Gaels.




Cappawhite Gaels      1-4

Abbeyleix                   2-8 

Tired bodies caught up with the Cappawhite Gaels in the Féile na nGael Division Two Semi-Final against Abbeyleix in Clonmel Óg this Saturday evening, June 18th. An older and much stronger Abbeyleix team were restrained until half time but their fitness proved too much to handle in the second half.

Cappawhite started the better of the teams by fizzing passes and linking well despite the greasy conditions of the pitch, play was confined to the Abbeyleix half with the likes of Stephen Dee and Diarmuid Duggan working hard. As a result of this the majority of opportunities fell to Cappa with Gearoid Ryan(B) raising the first white flag after three minutes of play, he followed on shortly after this with a pointed free. Within a minute Pakie Barry had gathered possession heading for goals, with the defence lined up and well organised in front of him he threw the sliotar over the bar to give Cappa a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after nine minutes of play. Abbeyleix seemed to up their game after that score with their big centre-forward managing to score a point almost immediately, following this they were forced to take long range shots due to the defensive work of the Cappa men. Many of these balls dropped short into the hands of Anthony Barry in goals who was forced to clear ball out to the wings time and again. From one of these clearances a ruck for the ball took place with a free being awarded to the Laois men, their midfielder struck the ball well and over the black spot right at the end of the half to leave it at 0-3 to 0-2 in favour of Cappawhite Gaels.

Half-time couldn’t come soon enough for the Cappa boys, and as the younger and lighter of the teams they were beginning to tire in what was their fifth game in 26 hours. Their attitude was still exemplary but they couldn’t match the power and pace of their opponents in the second half. Abbeyleix had three points, two from frees, by the time Cappa managed to respond with a beautifully struck pointed free from Gearoid Ryan(B) to leave Cappa a point behind at 0-4 to 0-5. However, the killer blow came when a long range free from Abbeyleix dropped into the Cappa square and the chaos that followed saw the sliotar cross the whitewash. A further point from play just moments after their goal left Abbeyleix with a 1-6 to 0-4 lead. Cappa went in search of goals with just five minutes left in the game and to no one’s surprise it was Jack Armshaw that managed to find the net from out on the right all of 30 yards from goal. Just two points separated the teams now but Abbeyleix were a fine hurling team and they added two more points to their tally in the final minutes. Four points down in the last minute Cappa moved forward looking for goal, they were dispossessed and while they tried to work back they were just too tired. Abbey worked the ball forward on the counter-attack and scored their second goal with the last action of the game.

Overall, Cappawhite Gaels cannot be disappointed with their performance, they worked as hard as their bodies allowed and showed great skill and determination in what was a perfectly clean game with both teams focused solely on their hurling. Considering the youthful nature of the team with 10, 11 and 12 year olds making up much of the team there are plenty of positives to take away. Great praise is due to all for making it so far in Division Two of the Féile and coming so close to reaching an All-Ireland Final. Abbeyleix  won the final against JK Brackens in Walsh Park on Sunday 19 June. Congratulations to Abbeyleix.