Bella Maguire receives her award for representing the Longford League award from Richie Fagan, club chairman.

Bella’s Gaynor Cup call up

Inny FC’s rising star Bella Maguire has been called up for next week’s Gaynor Cup, Irish soccer’s most prestigious underage tournament.

It is a phenomenal achievement for Bella who has been an outstanding presence in the Inny U14 girls team who have really set the mark for the girls section of the north Westmeath club, guiding them to a fourth place finish in this year’s Longford League.

And it is the Longford League that Bella will be representing when she heads off to Limerick next Monday for the national Under 14 competition, one that has launched the careers of some of Irish football’s greats, including Katie McCabe, Megan Connolly and Denise O’Sullivan.

“We’re so proud of Bella and everything she has achieved,” said the club chairman, Richie Fagan. “She’s a brilliant player, a shining light.”

Bella was one of many young players who received prizes at the end of season annual awards night which were held on Sunday in the club’s clubhouse in Streete Parish Park.

Player of the year prizes were also awarded, the brilliant Donagh Burke receiving the prize for Under 10 player of the year, Fiachra Scally getting the top goalscorer award, the highlight of his season coming when he got the team’s winning goal versus Newtown in the end of season blitz in Abbeycarton.

At Under 11s, Inny had two teams, each of them exceptional. The Major Division team, captained by Bobby Nolan, who was also the team’s top scorer, won their League, staying unbeaten all season. Bobby scored twice in the final, helping him win his award, and it was the performance of Ben Clerkin in that game that sealed his victory in the player of the year category. The Under 11 Premier Division team also had a really good season, reaching the semi-finals of their League, Nathan Goss named their player of the year, Mason Ruddy their top scorer. Further success came to the Inny Under 12 Premier side who won the Plate in their League, Harry Brennan the team’s outstanding player en route to claiming the player of the year award, Ethan Smyth picking up the top goalscorer prize. In Inny's Major Division team, Ben Bruton’s excellence saw him walk away with two prizes, the player of the year gong and top scorer award. The boys Under 13 side had another great year, becoming the first Inny side to win League titles in three successive years. On top of this, they claimed a few major scalps, including Athlone Town, Sligo champions, Strand, Connacht champions, Maree Oranmore.

Patrick Wallace beat off competition from Ben Loughlin to win the player of the year award for the second straight year, with Senan Brody, scorer of a record breaking 52 goals across the 2023/24 campaign the recipient of the top goalscorer prize. At Under 14 level, Keelan Harvey and Billy Ginnell collected joint player of the year prizes, Billy’s positional versatility, leadership, brilliant attitude and skill seeing him land his prize, Keelan’s desire, technical skill and fearlessness leading to his peers voting for him. At Under 16s, two separate Inny teams led to four award winners, the brilliant Charlie Hyenne getting the prize for his team, Paddy Connell - who has developed not just as a player but also as a young man this season - joining Charlie on stage as a player of the year winner. The top scorers for the two teams were Kaelin Richards, who is also blossoming as an excellent young coach, and Jamie Buckley, whose consistency this year was matched by his brilliance.

Jamie’s big brother, Billy, won the Under 19 player of the year award - deservedly so after yet another brilliant year in yellow and black, while Brian Gilchrist was the top goalscorer for the team, again on the back of a fine season.

The biggest boost to the club in 2023/24 was the growth of the girls section, led by the outstanding contributions of Jenny Murtagh, Colin Murtagh and Anthony Maguire. The two girls teams excelled, the Under 12s reaching a League final, the Under 14s finishing fourth in their League. Anna Beth Fallon was Under 12 player of the year, her semi-final display against Kenagh regarded as the best individual performance by any Inny player in 2023/24, while Roisin O’Neill’s memorable season saw her win the top goalscorer award. At Under 14 level, Cliodhna Fitzpatrick, our amazing young goalkeeper whose shotstopping and leadership was vital in ensuring the team had such a positive year, was player of the year, the prolific Aimee O’Neill, the top scorer.

The club was also honoured to have a number of League representatives: Ben Clerkin who played for the League Under 11 side, Harry Brennan, Inny’s representative on the Under 12 county team, Patrick Wallace, Senan Brody, Antonio Bertolo, Oisin Keena, Darragh Orm and Liam Doyle who shone for the Under 13s, Aimee O’Neill, Taylor O’Grady, Aiobhinn Murtagh, Roisin O’Neill and Bella Maguire who are blazing a trail for the girls section of the club, inspiring the younger players coming up behind. Patrick, Senan, Darragh, Oisin and Liam became the first Inny representatives to appear in a national final, when they played in the All-Ireland Plate final against Midlands last Saturday.

Thanks to their coaches Eamon Brady, Robbie Nolan, Richie Fagan, Scotty Hogan, Tommy Keana, Tommy Murphy, Chris Brennan, Robbie Bruton, Shane Brody, Garry Doyle, Colin Murtagh, Anthony Maguire, Scott Richards, Billy Murtagh, Cian Cheevers, Niall Fagan, Paul Cahill, Kaelin Richards, Tommy Fitzpatrick, and all the club’s parents who have allowed the club to thrive once again.