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Heartbreak For U16 Girls In Superb League Final
May. 17, 2019
U16 Division 2 League Final: Derrygonnelly 3-1 v 0-7 Belcoo
No words could do this Final justice. For those in attendance, they were served up as good a game as football as you’ll see all year as they witnessed a thrilling contest of pure heart, grit and determination from two sides that gave their absolute everything for the hour. Played in great spirits and a fantastic advertisement for Ladies football, there was to be a winner and loser on the night, unfortunately for our young but incredibly fierce and brave O’Rahilly’s they sat the wrong side of the score at the full time whistle despite outscoring the winners, goals proved the telling factor, Derrygonnelly 3-1 v 0-7 Belcoo.
Two of the Harps goals came in the opening 11minutes, Bronagh Smyth the scorer on both occasions. Belcoo had been under early pressure but they had a well-constructed point sandwiched between the goals as Mikayla Maguire slotted over in the 9th minute after a good move down the right hand side. P7 Ciara Parker finding Aoife Keaney who in turn set Scarlett O’Connor away and she picked out Maguire who made no mistake with the finish.
Belcoo’s issue early on was the ball kept coming back as Derrygonnelly were doing well to keep the ball in that half of the field. Derrygonnelly’s issue was they couldn’t get any more scores and they would actually go a full 40minutes without registering again. Some unbelievably and endless pressure was applied by every single O’Rahilly. Balls were turned over, ball were robbed, blocks were made, it was outrageous stuff.
Goalkeeper Riona Keaney pulled off a few good catches under high balls, Ciara Parker made a brilliant last ditch block, Cara Gray denied shots right, left and centre, Ciana McGrath read play to step in and thwart danger, Eimear Gray won balls she’d no right to win, Siofra McAloon done what Siofra McAloon does, stopped players time after time, got to the loose, dirt ball first and drove through the tackles. It was incredible stuff.
Moving forward, things were clicking into gear. Aine Barrett was showing well despite being marked tightly, she got on umpteen balls to prove the link from defence to attack. Eve Barrett was lively, first to clearances, showing good first touch and dancing down the line. Scarlett O’Connor was getting on loads of ball and driving the side upfield, using possession well with Rachel Nolan playing one-two’s, keeping the moves going. Mikayla Maguire drifted out the field and would create a score for Eve Barrett who pointed on 18minutes.
The O’Rahilly’s finished the half on top and would knock over three more points. Sam Martin powering through from midfield to slot over while Rachel Nolan split the post on the left side and Sinead Barrett knocked over a free kick while they created a great goal chance, Rachel Nolan unfortunate with the finish but the defenders had done well to pressure the strike at goal. Half time and just a point between them. Derrygonnelly 2-0 v 0-5 Belcoo.
The work being done had to be seen to be believed. Defensively Belcoo didn’t give an inch, Riona Keaney again making some telling stops between the posts while those in front of her worked tirelessly. Sinead Barrett was turning over balls around the middle of the field while Rhianne McGuinness made some great interceptions. Aoife Keaney continued to help get Belcoo moving upfield with Eve Barrett an outlet down the right side.
Aine Barrett tied the game on 42minutes with a left footed score. Belcoo had a great goal chance soon after following a strong run from Sam Martin, the ball almost creeping over the goal-line but the Harps keeper got back to clear. Ciana McGrath made a lung bursting run from centre back, played the ball out wide and continued her run forward, Eve Barrett pinged a great ball into the path of McGrath, a superb block from a Derrygonnelly defender kept the ball out of the net.
It was end to end and pure helter skelter stuff at this stage, in truth it was like this from minute one of this gripping contest, the Harps would register a goal on 51minutes and quickly added a point. These were telling blows but Belcoo rallied again, Sinead Barrett, Scarlett O’Connor, Siofra McAloon, Mikayla Maguire and Sam Martin all carried the ball forward. Ciara Nolan made a great impact from the bench, driving towards the Harps goals, she created the score for Aine Barrett who pointed from distance to leave a goal between the sides with 4minutes to play. The goal Belcoo craved to level an epic encounter never materialised and it was the Derrygonnelly who claimed the Division 2 League Title on home soil.
Belcoo’s goalkeeper Riona Keaney was awarded player of the match for her fine display during the hour, the ever reliable custodian alert to several overhit balls, she stopped numerous dangerous balls and made some great wee saves at vital times.
Riona Keaney with County Chairperson Ann McGrath after the game
The Under 16 season is parked for a period of time now before Championship. The Under 14 league gets underway on Monday 27th May while the older girls will focus on the Senior team.
Team: Riona Keaney, Eimear Gray, Cara Gray, Ciara Parker, Siofra McAloon, Ciana McGrath, Rhianne McGuinness, Sam Martin (0-1), Sinead Barrett (0-1), Aoife Keaney, Aine Barrett (0-2), Scarlett O’Connor, Eve Barrett (0-1), Rachel Nolan (0-1), Mikayla Maguire (0-1). Sub Used Ciara Nolan, Unused Abbie McGovern, Niamh Cullen, Ciara McGuinness, Caitlyn Nolan, Lily Mae McNulty.
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