What a season it has been for Clann Eireann Netball Club. Coached by Ashling Bell and Orlagh McConville the team surprised many when they won the Mona Baird Shield and they also made many sit up and take notice when they took the league title, remaining unbeaten to gain promotion.
The Mona Baird Shield final proved to be a tough match with very little in it a half time. However by the last quarter Newry proved no match for the Clann Eireann girls who went on to win by 11 goals.
Fionnuala Beatty, Sarah Bell and Cliodhna McDaid formed an excellent defence who made it very difficult for Newry to ever take the lead during the match. Clann Eireann’s centre court and attack was formed by an excellent partnership between Sinead Toal (Captain) and Ashling Bell, whose speed and skill made it very difficult for Newry defence to stop them.
Two sisters Orlagh and Emily McConville (Vice Captain) were the two shooters and the girls showed excellent shooting skills and were on top form on the day, leaving the spectators in no doubt who were the most determined and worthy winners on the day.
The victorious Clann Eireann team were: Team: Fionnuala Beatty (GK), Sarah Bell (GD), Cliodhna McDaid (WD), Ashling Bell (C), Sinead Toal (WA) - captain, Orlagh McConville ( GA), Emily McConville (GS) - Vice Captain. Subs: Niamh McKavanagh, Niamh McDaid and Catherine Crilly.
Team Spokesperson CaptainToal spoke about the season the team have had.
“There has been a Clann Eireann netball team for years but it faded away when girls left to have babies or went to university and it has only re-started this year.
“It was Ashling Bell and Orlagh McConville who reformed the team with a new vision for the future and so far things couldn’t have gone better. They set up two competitive netball teams and our first team won both the league and the Shield and our second team are aiming for similar success in the new season as they are aiming for promotion.
“It’s been a great achievment to win our league undefeated and then to go on and lift the Mona Baird Shield. There were so many teams playing for the Shield who were leagues above us and I don’t think anybody really thought we would get to the final.
“The team we beat in the final were really, really good but we were playing so well and we have a great team of girls. I think we deinitely surprised quite a few people.”
This progressive club is not prepared to sit on their laurels, they intend to go from strength to strength and have no doubts about the vision they have for the future.
“This year our aim is to bring more people into the club,” said Sinead. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, we are encouraging people to come along and play both socially and competitively.
“If someone has never played netball before or hasn’t played from they were at school they will be made very welcome.
“We are also starting up a junior team which is aimed at children between the ages of eight and 16 and there will be a junior league that they will be enterted in to.
“At the minute in schools there is very little netball and we want to try and introduce it to more children of all ages. There is a netball summer camp being run by Craigavon Council and we would like to see some of the children who take part in the summer scheme move on and join us at Clann Eireann.
“We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved with the sport and we want to ensure that Clann Eireann continues to grow and enjoys success on all levels.”
If you are interested in joining Clann Eireann’s social, competitive or Junior club you should contact Ashling or Orlagh by emailing: Clanneireannfirstname.lastname@example.org