Josie McGrath, Catherine Farrell, Cody McGrath, Mike McGrath, Makenzie McGrath, Joey Donegan, Tommy Farrell pictured supporting Ireland in Italy Picture: Joey Donegan
A COURAGEOUS campaign, led by a teenager with strong Limerick links, earned a historic second-place finish for the national side in the U-19 European softball championships in Italy.
Makenzie McGrath, whose mother Josie McGrath is from Kilmallock and who now lives in America, plays as a pitcher for her country and schools.
Ireland faced host nation Italy in Ronchi for the final; the underdogs were hoping to redeem their 7-0 loss in the earlier stages of the tournament.
“Our coaches told us to just go out there and enjoy it, we already won the medals and the qualifying for World Championships in California, so we just went out and played our hearts out,” Makenzie recalled.
Despite taking the lead in the third inning by two runs to one, the Italians came back to see out the match and tournament as winners by seven runs to three.
The girls in green showed great character after the game as they danced for joy for their achievement.
Makenzie is with her family in Kilmallock this week before flying home to New Jersey, where she will cheer on the under 22 side in their campaign in Slovakia and Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final at Tommy Fox’s pub.