What a rollercoaster weekend we have had. Proceedings began last Thursday with a special civic reception hosted by the Longford Municipal Council in honour of our guests San Francisco Youth GAA. On Friday, our U14s and the San Francisco team travelled to Edgeworthstown to march in the Féile parade through the town before taking to the field in Devine Park. Our boys were too strong for their opponents from Clontibret (Monaghan) in the first game but a sterner test awaited in the second game against the home team, Wolfe Tones. However, we produced a stunning display to win 2-4 to 1-0. We then went back to Longford town to march with our Camógie club in the Féile parade through the town. This was led from Connolly Barracks by the Longford Pipe Band. Afterwards, the San Francisco players went with our host families to stay for the weekend.
A huge crowd turned out to see the doubleheader of camógie and hurling which took place on Saturday morning in Michael Fay Park, Slashers, and both home teams were victorious. This meant that both Slashers teams had topped their respective groups and had qualified for Cup Quarterfinals in the afternoon. We journeyed to Ballinamore to take on Westmeath side Delvin and the teams were deadlocked at halftime. Our team played a stormer in the second half, winning 3-6 to 0-6. Later in the evening, our hurling and camógie clubs (the girls also won their quarterfinal) hosted a special event for our guests from San Francisco and Letterkenny St. Eunan's Camógie Club in the Slashers grounds and clubhouse.
Next morning, we were back in Leitrim to face Kerry South in the semifinal. Our boys came storming out of the blocks and blitzed our much-vaunted opponents. Final score: Slashers 2-9 Kerry South 1-2. Meanwhile, in Athlone our camógs had also reached the final. On then to Páirc Sean Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon where we faced another amalgamation, Northern Gaels from Wicklow. The final was a battle throughout and we had just a one point lead at halftime. Once again, though, in the second half our boys hurled like men and defended as if their lives depended on every ball. At the final whistle there were unbridled scenes of joy as players, mentors, families and supporters embraced and lauded a famous national title win. Final Score: Slashers 0-7 North Wicklow 0-3. Our emotions were compounded with news that our girls had also won their Division final and we were soon to be celebrating an historic double for the club. A huge crowd descended on the Longford Arms to celebrate with both teams for what really a special and unique achievement by the hurlers & camógs of Longford Slashers.
Thanks so much to everyone who helped or supported us on our maiden voyage as Féile na nGael hosts. We sincerely hope our guests from San Francisco will have as many happy memories of the weekend as we certainly have made. There are too many people to thank but we wish to acknowledge our Féile sponsors: Longford Arms Hotel, Crossan Cablecomm, Andy Byrne, Edward J Valentine, Macaris Deliburger, McKeon's Railway Bar, Tally Ho, Davis' SuperValu, Dunnes Stores, Flynn & Lynch Life & Pensions, Grattan Gaels, Barney Leavy Taxi, Donal Brady, Paul O'Brien and Bridie Gobl.