Under 14 Ladies Footballers win Ulster Championship
The Derry Under 14 Ladies Football team won the Ulster Under 14 “C” championship with a resounding victory over Fermanagh in late May at the Bawnacre facility in Irvinestown. The Derry Under 14 squad of 2013 had missed out when they succumbed to an Antrim side at Casement Park, and this years team were determined to give all in the pursuit of reclaiming the title. The Under 14 team had won the first leg some four weeks ago in a keenly contested match at Moneymore and went to Fermanagh in the knowledge that they would have to be at the top of their game to see out the victory over what was expected to be a determined Fermanagh challenge.
With girls drawn from no fewer than ten Clubs making up the panel, they arrived focussed and ready to take on the Erne girls and soon set about their task. The Oak Leaf girls tackled and supported one another over the hour in what was a very encouraging and positive display.
Caitlin Talbot in the Derry goal had a relatively quiet day and while conceding two goals couldn’t be faulted for either. The defensive sextet of Aimee O’Kane, Sarah Hargan, Nikki Doherty, Niamh McFlynn, Niamh McIlroy and Clare McCartney worked tirelessly at closing down space and turning over possession as Derry took a grip on matters early on. By half time the Derry girls had opened up a lead of 3.06 to 1.03 and this was largely due to the work rate of all of the fifteen girls on the pitch. With Deobhona McElhinney having missed the first match in Moneymore, it was a great asset having her back in the starting line up at midfield. Indeed she along with Clodagh Lafferty provided the platform for the forwards to open up the Fermanagh defence on a number of occasions.
It was in the second half though that Derry really opened up and showed their score taking prowess. While Fermanagh heads maybe dropped, the Oak Leaf girls didn’t need a second invite to score and racked up an impressive 4.12 in the second period. A feature of the Derry girls display was the willingness of girls to put in the tackles right from the forwards back and the attacking half forward line of Ballymaguigan girls Anna Martin, Erin Doherty and Erin O’Neill made it very difficult for the Fermanagh half backs to break forward to offer support. With the full forward line of Eve Diamond, Cora Spiers and Aoife Collins working hard to turn over possession, it will have been pleasing for the management duo of Ciaran Brown and Sinead Brady to see all six forwards register on the scoreboard. When the full forward line can offer a scoring return of 5.07 over the sixty minute game it would be hard to find fault with any of their performances.
The Fermanagh attack was restricted to a 1.03 second half tally that saw the Derry girls therefore win on a final scoreline of Derry 7.18 Fermanagh 2.06.
To underline the depth of their squad Derry made substitutions in the second half and this didn’t diminish the domination that Derry were enjoying. Megan Gormley came on in defence and dealt with everything that came her way, while Derbhla McGuigan replaced Deobhona McElhinney in a seamless change at midfield. The forward line saw three changes in personnel with Naoise Kennedy, Robyn Harkin and Mikeela Mullan coming on and impressing – no doubt staking claims for inclusion in the starting line up for the forthcoming All Ireland semi final.
Team captain Clodagh Lafferty went forward to collect the Ulster Under 14 trophy on behalf of the panel amid scenes of joy among the Derry support.
Team: Caitlin Talbot (Glen), Nikki Doherty (Moneymore) Sarah Hargan (Claudy) Aimee O’Kane (Dungiven), Niamh McFlynn (Moneymore) Niamh McIlroy (Limavady) Clare McCartney (Ballymaguigan), Deobhona McElhinney (Dungiven) Clodagh Lafferty (Steelstown), Anna Martin (Ballymaguigan) Erin Doherty (Ballymaguigan) Erin O’Neill (Ballymaguigan), Eve Diamond (Moneymore) Cora Spiers (Ballymaguigan) Aoife Collins (Steelstown)
Subs used: Megan Gormley (Craigbane) for Aimee O’Kane, Derbhla McGuigan (Dungiven) for Deobhona McElhinney, Naoise Kennedy (Coleraine) for Eve Diamond, Robyn Harkin (Dungiven) for Anna Martin, Mikeela Mullan (Ballerin) for Cora Spiers.
Subs: Nicole Nugent (Ballymaguigan), Eve Lundy (Coleraine), Laura Crozier (Ballymaguigan), Leonie McIlroy (Limavady), Grace Mullan (Ballerin), Olivia Mullan (Coleraine), Chloe McManus (Limavady), Sarah Kelly (Steelstown), Caoimhe Higgins (Ballerin), Megan O’Neill (Dungiven)
Scorers: Cora Speirs 3.02, Erin O’Neill 1.05, Eve Diamond 1.04, Erin Doherty 1.02, Aoife Collins 1.01, Clodagh Laverty 0.02, Anna Martin 0.1, Robyn Harkin 0.1
Under 14 Ladies Footballers fall at All Ireland Semi Final stage
The Derry U14 Ladies Football team made the journey to Boyle in County Roscommon in mid June where they met Munster “C” Champions Limerick in the All Ireland Semi Final.
In a highly competitive game the Oak Leaf girls came up short on the scoreboard, losing on a scoreline of Limerick 8.07 Derry 3.04.
The Derry girls made a sluggish start after their long journey while the Limerick girls hit the ground running. The positives for the Derry girls will be that when they settled into the game they found they are maybe not that far off the standard of the football played in other provinces at this level.
In that first half the Limerick girls rattled off 6.02 to a 1.02 Derry reply.
In defence the girls supported one another well and with Deobhona McElhinney now deployed at full back she linked well with Niamh McElroy at centre half to try to win possession and keep the pressure on the Limerick forwards. The two Derry central defenders put in a good solid hour’s work and can be pleased with their efforts.
The Moneymore duo of Nikki Doherty and Niamh McFlynn patrolled the right side of the defence and did not give up on anything, making life as difficult as they could for the Limerick girls. Sarah Hargan and Claire McCartney were giving it everything on the left, indeed these two girls were not afraid to put in the hard yards and harried and chased for everything. However the running game of the Limerick forwards was causing problems for the Derry defence, particularly in the first half when they showed their goal scoring capabilities to great effect. Caitlin Talbot in goal did well and with accurate kick outs was helping keep the pressure off the Oak Leaf goal.
In midfield Clodagh Lafferty and Erin Doherty were having a great battle with the Limerick midfield and the prompting of the Derry girls provided the attack with more opportunities in the second half. The Derry half forward line of Anna Martin, Derbhla McGuigan and Erin O’Neill were finding the going tough at times but to be fair they stuck to their jobs, not letting possession out easily. The hard work put in to winning and retaining possession by the half forward line saw some rewards on the scoreboard as the girls linked well with full forwards Cora Spiers, Eve Diamond and Aoife Collins. This line of the attack also exerted pressure on the players coming out and Limerick were certainly not as comfortable in the second half.
The better performance of the Derry girls in the second half was reflected on the scoreboard as they held the Munster girls to a three point margin during this time.
Although disappointed with the defeat at the All Ireland Semi Final stage, the Derry girls will be able to take a lot of positives from their campaign this year. The combination of girls from ten different clubs and exposure to training at this level will no doubt have brought the girls on in respect of their skill levels. If they can stick together and keep up the efforts with their Clubs them the future looks bright for this group of Ulster champions.
Team: Caitlin Talbot (Glen), Nikki Doherty (Moneymore) Deobhona McElhinney (Dungiven) Sarah Hargan (Claudy) Niamh McFlynn (Moneymore) Niamh McIlroy (Limavady) Clare McCartney (Ballymaguigan), Clodagh Lafferty (Steelstown), Erin Doherty (Ballymaguigan) Anna Martin (Ballymaguigan) Derbhla McGuigan (Dungiven) Erin O’Neill (Ballymaguigan), Eve Diamond (Moneymore) Cora Spiers (Ballymaguigan) Aoife Collins (Steelstown)
Subs, Lauren Crozier (Ballymaguigan) Robyn Harkin (Dungiven) Leonie McIlroy (Limavady) Mikeela Mullan (Ballerin) Naoise Kennedy (Coleraine) Nicole Nugent (Ballymaguigan) Eve Lundy (Coleraine) Megan Gormley (Craigbane) Grace Mullan (Ballerin) Olivia Mullan (Coleraine) Chloe McManus (Limavady) Sarah Kelly (Steelstown) Caoimhe Higgins (Ballerin) Megan O’Neill (Dungiven) Aimee O’Kane (Dungiven)
Scorers: Cora Spiers 1.02, Aoife Collins 2.01, Clodagh Laverty 0.01