St Catherine’s come together in victory

by Stephen Findlater
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ST CATHERINE’S made a piece of history last weekend as their Under-16 side – an amalgamation of Westmanstown Gaels and Erin Go Bragh – claimed their league title in great style to beat Fingallians 4-11 to 1-3.
It was just reward for the “buy-in” from both clubs to the idea, giving players an outlet to continue playing the sport during the tricky years between Junior and Leaving Certificate.
Catherine’s raced into a 4-2 to 1-0 lead in the first half and scarcely looked back, showing a major intensity throughout the field to land the project’s first piece of silverware.
And they have a chance to double up next Sunday when their minor side take on Clontarf in O’Toole Park in another final.
St Catherine’s came about due to a desire to continue to offering football to two of west Dublin’s younger clubs who do not yet have enough numbers to field full squads at Under-16 and minor level.
As such, the Under-16 side drew in 15 and 16-year-olds from the two clubs to play under a new banner.
Manager Seamus Haran said there were teething problems in 2015 but this year, the panels have dovetailed perfectly.
“We tried it last year and it didn’t take off but everyone has bought-in to the structure. Importantly, we got a collective buy-in from both clubs and the backing of the two chairmen,” he told GazetteSport.
“it’s a key age and we need to keep giving players football at each level. It’s something that has been tried in rural areas and just because we are in Dublin, it’s not automatic that we are going to have the numbers available.
“If players didn’t have this, they would either drift off and not play or would maybe move to other clubs and we would never see them again.”
As for the final itself, Haran put the victory down to “intensity” plain and simple.
“We played Fingallians early in the year and beat them well but, six weeks ago, they had the intensity and beat us by two goals. Because of that, we knew we needed to have superior intensity and maybe they were at a lower level.
“We fought very hard everywhere on the pitch. It was a huge team effort with no one man better than the next.
“It was all about the collective. Wherever the ball was, we had two and three man around them and we repelled them whenever they got anywhere near goal.”

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