Marlay Park was the venue for what turned out to be a rip-roaringly exciting shield semi-final between the girls of Sruleen and the girls of St. Anne's of Shankill. A final in Croke Park was to be the reward for the victors here so it was no surprise that both teams were highly motivated and focused on the task at hand. It was a tense affair the whole way through but unfortunately our girls came out the wrong side of the score line losing agonisingly by the most minimal of margins : 1 point! However, despite the disappointment of the loss, the girls should be nothing but proud of both their gallant efforts on the day and their wonderful achievement in reaching the semi-final in the first place. They displayed great fighting spirit, bravery and skill throughout and never gave up until the final whistle. They must also be commended for their grace and humility in defeat. Every last player on the team deserves praise for their performance on the day. Nino has been fantastic in goals this year and produced some excellent saves and catches on Wednesday again to keep us in the battle for that coveted prize of a final in Croker! Helen, our captain at full back, was outstanding once again, proving to be the proverbial brick wall for the St. Anne's attack in the second half as she routinely thwarted potential goal threats while relieving the incessant pressure on our defence with her huge clearances. She was ably assisted by her teammates in the full back line, Sonia (who also made some crucial clearances) and Georgia (whose tenacious tackling has been a feature of her game for the whole year). In the half backline, Sandra was typically plucky and fought valiantly throughout while Orla has been a real find this year and will be crucial to our plans of mounting another crack at reaching Croker next year. A special mention must also be given to Kamile who has certainly earned the title of our 'most improved player this year' and would be a great asset for the Round Towers GAA club if she chooses to join this year. At midfield, Maria, once again saved her best performance for the semi-final while KJ has always encapsulated the fighting spirit of the team and never gave in until the end. We have a very young forward line with no shortage of skill which bodes well for the future. Katie (a very talented player who's still only in fourth class) was particularly outstanding while Nicole contested every ball with great vigour. Kayla may be the youngest player on the team but she is fearless when it comes to competing against players of much greater age and size. Ella, at full forward, led the attack very well and always looked to provide and outlet for her teammates who were looking for someone to pass to. Our two goals were scored by Vayda and Emily. Vayda is a very crafty, goal-poacher and proved so once again by opportunistically latching on to a long ball from Emily before calmly finishing it with typically clinical precision. Emily, arguably our most skillful player, also pounced onto a loose ball in the first half before slotting it into the corner, as she has done so often this year. We must also give a special mention to the rest of our panel members: Lizzy, Tessi, Iona, Ava, Tehya and Faridat who have also contributed greatly this year. Many of these players will still be available to play for the school in future years and we expect them to be integral to our endeavours in future competitions. Mr. Doherty and Ms. O' Donovan would like to thank the girls for the effort and commitment that they have produced for the past 6 weeks. It has been our pleasure to train them as they have been so enthusiastic and have all the attributes required to be successful in sport if they keep playing it. We have also noticed that there is particularly exceptional talent present in both Second and Third Class and we will continue to train these girls over the course of the school year. We hope to foster a love for the game in these girls and that more of them will feel compelled to build on their progress by joining Round Towers GAA club. We would also like to extend our best wishes to the St. Anne's team in the final in Croke Park. They were gracious winners who played with great spirit and have two particularly outstanding players in Carmel Fitzachery and Roisin Murray. They will be very difficult to beat! Next Tuesday (16th Oct), our Boys Team will be attempting to stake their claim for a place in the final of the Corn O' Donnochu Cup competiton in Croker! This is the best group of players we have had in the school for a very long time. They also have a great team spirit and attitude and we encourage any parents that may be interested to come and support the boys in Bushy Park this Tuesday!