Congratulations are in order for all associated with the super run of Steelstown to an All Ireland semi final where they made the long trip to Bantry for an All Ireland semi final after being so successful in the Ulster championship.
After winning the Derry Junior A Championship the city side went on to face Mullaghbawn in the preliminary round of the Ulster Junior championship. A 1.09 to 1.06 victory in South Armagh brought them to a home Ulster quarter final against Trillick. Again a three point margin sufficed as they went through to a semi final after a 3.09 to 2.09 win.
Next up were neighbours Buncrana but this proved to be probably more comfortable than they had expected, as the Steelstown squad won by a ten point margin – 4.12 to 3.05 and so pitted them in a final against O’Neil Shamrocks from Monaghan.
A tight game by all accounts and the Steelstown ladies ground out a three point win, 1.07 to 1.04, with Emma Doherty playing a major role in this success, accounting for all seven points!
Ulster Junior Champions 2015.
In what can only be described as an odd arrangement, Steelstown then had to travel to Bantry to play an All Ireland semi final – at their opponents home pitch? Surely the powers that be need to look at this arrangement. This is much too important a stage of competition that one side should be afforded such a bonus!
It was to be a step too far for the Steelstown Ladies as they succumbed to the home side, but only after putting up a terrific performance, failing by a 4 point margin – 0.10 to 0.06.
A terrific performance to get so far and no doubt disappointing that their opponents had a home venue at the other end of the country, but no doubt a very proud squad that are the Ulster Junior Ladies Football Champions 2015.
Derry made in through to the All Ireland Junior Championship semi final in 2015, losing out to Scotland by a 5 point margin in a game that could have gone either way. Such is sport though and while the Derry girls will no doubt rue their chances of progressing, it will no doubt provide a spur to achieve better in 2016.
Derry had lost their initial qualifying match away to Lancashire 2.08 to 0.06, thereby qualifying to meet Carlow in an All Ireland quarter final.
The Senior squad then went on to record an impressive victory over Carlow, winning on a scoreline of Derry 5.09 Carlow 2.05 in a game played in Mullahoran.
Derry Ladies Senior squad then contested the semi-final to Scotland, losing out on a scoreline of Scotland 1.13 Derry 2.05 on Sunday 6th September 2015 in Fingallians in Dublin.
Glen accounted for Ballinascreen in a tense match in Magherafelt that was decided late in the 2nd half when Breena O’Loughlin scored the decisive goal in a match that although Ballinascreen trailed for the large part they just couldn’t close the gap. In a low scoring affair goals were always going to be crucial and Glen were more prolific when the chances presented themselves.
In the Junior A final the continual prompting and tactical nous of Steelstown’s Emma Doherty proved to be the undoing of a Magherafelt side that couldn’t seem to get any cohesion in their play on the day. The city side ran out comfortable winners in Celtic Park.
In the Junior B final Slaughtmanus proved to be too strong for a Dungiven side that promised more in their early season form. Clara Connor and Ciara Moore managed to dictate more of the play and this combined with the promptings of Shannon Watson from midfield Slaughtmanus ran out worthy winners.
The Derry Under 14 squad undoubtedly were the success story of 2015.
Things did not start so well in 2015 however as Derry lost out to Monaghan and Antrim in their opening two games.
Following this though the fortunes improved significantly for the Derry team. A big win over Armagh at Banagher in mid April set the girls up for a final league match against Down in Ballymaguigan. Following a great performance the girls won comfortably on a scoreline of 7.11 to 1.08 to proceed to an Ulster “C” Championship final where they faced Tyrone.
The continuous improvement of the squad showed again as Derry proved much too strong for the Tyrone side, eventually running out comfortable winners on a scoreline of 3.14 to 0.03.
Ulster Champions 2015
The next step on the journey was an All Ireland “C” Championship semi final against Leitrim on 13th June. The Derry side played much the better football here and proved too strong for the Connacht C champions, going on to win by 4.18 to 1.05, the match played in Augher.
This left the Under 14 squad facing their nemesis from 2014 when Limerick had beaten Derry in Boyle in an All Ireland semi final.
Saturday 4th July in Ballymahon. Again unfortunately the Munster side proved too strong for this Derry side as Derry went down on a scoreline of 4.12 to 3.09 in a game that no doubt the players and Management felt with a bit of luck they could have won.
St Trea’s Ballymaguigan competed in the All Ireland Under 14 Feile competition held in Wexford in June.
The girls went through their section undefeated, beating Blessington by 5.05 to 0.00, Glencar Manorhamilton 8.02 to 6.05 before completing their section with a 2.06 to 0.01 victory over Kilanerin.
They then accounted for Castlerahan on a scoreline of 3.02 to 0.03 in the Cup quarter final before eventually bowing out at the Cup semi final stage, losing out to St. Paul’s on a scoreline of 3.02 to 2.02.
A great experience for the panel of players and one which will no doubt live long in the memories of all concerned.
The Under 16 panel played Donegal in a challenge game in Owen Beg at the start of the year in cold wintry conditions – see team pic as attached (squad). Action pics as well of Aoife Boorman and Cara Doherty.
Derry went on to qualify for the Under 16 Ulster B Championship final. They lost heavily to Monaghan and won by default over Armagh, thus qualifying for the Ulster B Final.
In the B final played in Magheracloone in Monaghan Cavan defeated Derry on a scoreline of 3.14 to 0.03
Derry had a frustrating 2015 season at Minor Grade.
Minor squad that faced Fermanagh in 2015
While early indications were that things were looking good, a combination of events led to the season petering out to a disappointing end.
The Under 18 side were faced with games against Cavan, Fermanagh, Armagh and Monaghan and while the challenge against Cavan was always going to be a tough obstacle the panel performed admirably in their second match, a home tie against Fermanagh.