It wasn’t quite the thrilling climax that the city boys expected but Steelstown Brian Óg’s U14 boys made history tonight by becoming the first boys team across any age group at the club to win the league.
The Óg’s have beaten all before them this year in the All County A Division but they had one more game to take care of this evening, their rearranged fixture with Swatragh.
However, after the south Derry men conceded the points earlier in the afternoon, Steelstown were crowned as league champions with a perfect record and they still put on a show for their home support who turned out at Páirc Bríd to celebrate with their prized U14s. A last-minute challenge game with Buncrana gave the Óg’s crowd something to cheer about and provided the boys with another obstacle to overcome before they could finally marvel in their success.
Steelstown will play Ballinascreen in the championship in two weeks’ time and coaches Dominic Concannon and Brendan Hughes will be hoping that this is just the start of the season.
Steelstown Brian Og’s U14 Ladies played host to a very strong Dungiven St Canice’s U14 Ladies in their league encounter at Thornhill on Tuesday 10th June 2014 and following a passing thunder storm, the teams once again served up a storming thriller of their own as they had done, during Easter, at Owenbeg in the 2014 Feile qualifying blitz.
Steelstown started on the attack with Jade Macari, supported by forwards Ellen McFadden and Caithlin Gallagher, coming close to scoring first. Dungiven however took early command with a scrambled goal, despite some heroic defensive blocks by Niamh Doherty supported by Orla O’Doherty, Riona Harkin and Cliodnha Nelis, along with Niamhs Friel and Gilmore.
The away team then followed this with a point, before Catherine McGuigan opened the Og’s account with a well-taken point following a great team move started by Leah McGonagle. A further quick movement through the Steelstown team almost resulted in another score by Clodagh Laverty, but it veered wide.
The response from the visiting Dungiven side was emphatic as they punctured the Steelstown defence with a point from the excellent No.15 followed by three quick devastating goals, the first of these the result of a scrappy footballing exchange by a crowd of players in front of the goalie, Aoife O’Reilly.
A Clodagh Laverty point followed by a long range point from Catherine McGuigan was quickly matched by a brace of points from the on-form Dungiven side (the first from a free). A great point by Aoife Collins from a free was followed by a killer goal from Dungiven, when a long range shot bounced awkwardly in front of the goalie on the wet pitch. A super point by sub Dearbhla Mooney brought the first half to a close and left the score a tad uncomfortable for the host Steelstown team 0-5 (5) to 4-5 (17) but they have come back from a deficit before.
So once again the hair dryer had to come out, with the Steelstown Ladies staring at a damaging home defeat. On the restart, Dungiven started with a bang forcing a brilliant save by Aoife O’Reilly. The Og’s revival began then, with the Steelstown girls regrouped and now, with a bit of fire in their bellies, the scores began to roll.
First up was Captain Clodagh Laverty following an outstanding high catch and quick pass by Catherine McGuigan, who now moved back to strengthen the defence. Leah McGonagle then smashed in a great goal, following some fast interchange through the fired-up Ogs. An Aoife Collins point, followed by one from Dearbhla Mooney edged the Steelstown team closer to the Dungiven total – game on! A fantastic piece of defensive work by Niamh Gilmore and once again tireless running, blocking and feeding by Sarah Kelly kept the dangerous Dungiven side at bay and a goal by the lethal Aoife Collins followed by a point by Clodagh Laverty from a free brought the Steelstown U14s to within two points of the Dungiven side – Pressure.
Then disaster struck, as a break by the brilliant Dungiven No 15 went unchecked and resulted in a goal. Response from the Ogs was instant with Aoife Collins scoring a point from a free following a foul on Catherine McGuigan. With Niamh Friel steadying the ship by playing another of her determined defensive reading and blocking master classes and this rubbing off on and inspiring the excellent subs from the U12s Orlaith McGough, Connie Roarty, Annie Gibson and Maeve Mooney, who all played their hearts out, this gave the needed platform for another point from on-fire Aoife Collins which was followed by her outstanding goal. The scores were now level and the supporters from both sides were shouting, crying, sweating buckets and lunching on their fingernails – tense. Then with just two minutes left on the clock and with the Ogs on the attack, there looked like only one winner, but a break for a couple of injuries and a free caused a delay in the game, momentum by the attackers was lost and the game fizzled out to a draw.
Final score: Steelstown Brian Og’s U14 Ladies 3-11 to Dungiven St Canice’s U14 Ladies 5-5. What a brilliant game served up by the two teams – two great teams going head to head and giving it everything to the final whistle. Thanks to all the girls for this feast of football and for the patience of the subs who did not get an opportunity to take part in this one – that will come – and good luck to both teams in the remainder of the league campaign. Also thanks to all the coaches and parents who made it out to support the girls and to Thornhill and Mickey for providing the great facilities.
Steelstown Brian Og’s: Aoife O’Reilly, Orla O’Doherty, Niamh Doherty, Riona Harkin, Niamh Friel, Niamh Gilmore, Cliodhna Nelis, Sarah Kelly, Clodagh Laverty, Leah McGonagle, Aoife Collins, Catherine McGuigan, Ellen McFadden, Caithlin Gallagher, Jade Macari, Subs from Suzanna Higgins, the brilliant U12s Annie Gibson, Dearbhla Mooney, Orlaith McGough, Connie Roarty, Maeve Mooney, Hannah Lang and fantastic support from U14 newcomers Cara Gilliland, Bronagh Hinds, Orla McGuire and Orla Gillespie
U14 A League
The U14 boys made it four wins from four with an impressive win away to Glen in the U14 A league on a scoreline of 7:07 to 5pts.
The boys got off to a great start and kept Glen scoreless in the first half. The second half saw Glen start well but Brian Og’s finished strongly to keep the winning run going. There were superb performances throughout the team but great credit must go to the goalkeeper, full back and half back line who tackled and harried and kept chances to a minimum.
The midfield worked tirelessly and once again the forward line was a threat every time they got possession. The great support that travelled was much appreciated by the boys. The next match is this Tuesday at home to Swatragh.
Team: Odhran Gill, Tiarnan Kennedy, Mark Grant, Jude Mullin, Jason McAleer(1:0), Jack McLaughlin, Eoghan Cusack, Ruiari Begley, David McGurk(0:1), Morgan Murray, Ciaran Concannon, Cormac Mooney(2:01), Cillian Hughes, Ben McCarron(1:03), James Lynch(3:0), Christopher O’Donnell, PJ Casey, Patrick McDaid, Caoibhan Doherty, Joseph Kelpie, Blaise Acton, Thomas Martin, Eoin McCay
Steelstown Brian Og’s U14 Ladies got their 2014 North Derry league campaign underway on a sunny Thursday evening away at Shamrock Park against Ballerin Sarfields GAC.
The Steelstown Ladies started slowly with a Nicole Campbell point answered by a point from the home side. A fine goal from distance scored by Captain Clodagh Laverty, should have sparked the usual Steelstown scoring spree, but it didn’t this time and a point followed quickly by two goals, the second from a free by the Ballerin side, put them in front. A goal from Aoife Collins calmed things down a little and was followed by a Clodagh Laverty point. The Ballerin ladies reply of a point was snuffed out by a goal from Clodagh and sub Dearbhla Mooney closed the half with a well taken point leaving the Og’s a narrow two points ahead with a half time score 2-3 to 3-2.
A little hair dryer treatment at half-time and the Steelstown side restarted and began to play football as they should have done from the start……Catherine McGuigan started it off with a goal lobbed in from distance. A point from Aoife was followed by goal of the game……..Catherine lobbed another ball into the danger zone and Dearbhla Mooney picked it up in the centre and hooked a perfectly placed shot into the far left corner of the net (the Ballerin goalie had no chance!). Another point by captain Clodagh was followed by a second goal scored by Catherine McGuigan from a free. The goals were flowing freely now and one from Clodagh Laverty was followed by a Maeve Mooney goal, setup by some great play by Niamh Doherty. The Ballerin side did manage one more goal before Clodagh Laverty wrapped the proceedings up with a nice point. Final score: Ballerin Sarfields GAC 3-3; Steelstown Brian Og’s 8-6.
A good win to begin the league campaign with some great scoring on display. Niamh Friel stood out again in defense with some excellent reading of the game, supported brilliantly by Aoife O’Reilly, Orla O’Doherty, Niamh Doherty, Orlaith McGough, Niamh Gilmore and Riona Harkin. The attackers Jade Macari, Aoife Collins, Dearbhla Mooney, Nicole Campbell, Evie Doherty and Cliodnha Nelis all worked well together and as always the super-sub U12’s including Connie Roarty, Maeve Mooney and Hannah Lang all played their part in the game.
Thanks to all parents who travelled to the game and offered lifts and to Ballerin Sarfields for their excellent and friendly hosting of the match.
Steelstown Brian Og’s U14 Ladies: Aoife O’Reilly, Orla O’Doherty, Niamh Doherty, Orlaith McGough, Niamh Friel, Niamh Gilmore, Riona Harkin, Catherine McGuigan, Clodagh Laverty, Jade Macari, Aoife Collins, Dearbhla Mooney, Nicole Campbell, Evie Doherty, Cliodnha Nelis, Connie Roarty, Hannah Lang, Maeve Mooney.
Club secretary Brendan Doherty will be at the clubhouse on Tuesday and Wednesday evening to give out tickets for the Derry v Donegal clash for those that have ordered them.
Brendan will be available from 6.30pm to 7.30pm on both nights. Any problems, give him a shout.
Steelstown senior ladies played their first league game Thursday after a series of four challenge matches.
Ladies football combines junior and intermediate teams in the same league so playing against a good intermediate side Steelstown ladies were always going to find it an uphill battle. Ballinascreen scored an early goal. However this sparked Steelstown into life and belying their junior status they took the game to Ballinascreen.
Team Captain Emma Doherty ably assisted by Una Casey, Suzi Mc Gilloway and Niamh Ni Mhanain drove forward from midfield, Casey finishing with a fine score from distance.
Keeping the pressure on, the kick out was won by Orla Flanagan with fine interplay from Sarah Doherty, Aoife O Hagan and Zoe Green resulted in a free converted by Emma Doherty. Steelstown were driving forward relentlessly over the opening 25 minutes hitting a number of wides and thwarted by fine Ballinascreen defending.
The pace of the game caught up with Steelstown in the final 5 minutes of the half allowing Ballinascreen in for a goal and 2 points. With a bench reduced by unavailability due to injury and exams Steelstown defence was tested in a tough, physical second half. Fionnuala Flanagan showed her versatility with a great shift in goals, while the full back line of Enya Doherty, Maria Cutliffe, and Sarah Flanagan stood up to the challenge with some great tackling.
Ruaginn Doherty, Laura Henderson at half back with the hard running and versatile forward Eimear O Doherty dropping back constantly held up Ballinascreen’s attack before launching forward themselves at every opportunity.
Ballinascreen pulled away at the end as the huge Steelstown effort came up short. All in all an outstanding effort right through the team which augurs well for the rest of the season.
Minor Ladies Championship Final
Claudy have caught Steelstown off guard.
Cara Doherty has rattled the net within seconds of the start of the ladies minor championship final at Kevin Lynch Park. The league champions are rocked.
Megan Devine takes matters into her own hand. The powerful Brian Óg’s number 11 wins possession on her own 45’ and she drives right through the centre of the field, swatting away challenges like they’re just obstacles in front of her.
She bursts by the half way line, glides over the 65’ and exchanges passes with the sharp Clodagh Laverty. Aoife McKeever joins in on the act, Claudy are cut open. Devine splits the posts.
Steelstown still trail, 0-1 to 1-0. But the tone is set. A marker is laid down and from that blistering first attack of the city girls, the Óg’s don’t look back. They never do.
Not even a minute has passed and they’re in front anyway. Orla Flanagan controls the tempo of another attack, hanging onto possession as the blue Mitchell’s jerseys flock back in panic. The midfielder works it left to the outstanding Ella-Rose Sainsbury and, with one sliced pass straight into the chest of Emma Donnelly, the Steelstown goal machine makes no mistake.
At 1-1 to 1-0, Thomas Cusack’s side have a lead they wouldn’t even have dreamed of letting up and the rest takes care of itself.
The ruthless streak running through this current crop of Steelstown minor ladies is what sets them apart. It’s what leaves nothing up to chance and it is what made the difference yesterday in Dungiven as the Brian Óg’s girls recorded an historic club double of league and championship feats.
Even with Cara Doherty and all her lightning prowess, the Claudy girls were no match for the Steelstown machine when it got churning. The attacking six were menacing. Either one of them could’ve put a serious dent in the Claudy backline and when you have so many options in the forward line, so many girls ready to run at you and look to create something, it is damn hard to put a stop to.
That’s why Ella-Rose Sainsbury wriggled free and drilled over an effort straight after setting up the first goal. And when the forwards weren’t firing, well then Derbhla Wilson just joined in from half back, Orla Flanagan pushed forward, or Una Casey pierced another hole in the opposition defence like she did to raise the next white flag for the Ballyarnett club.
Aoife Laverty then got in on the act for the slick Steelstown outfit’s fifth different scorer with just their fifth score of the game, the wing forward curling over a beauty from the right hand side to stretch their lead to 1-4 to 1-0 and it was Laverty again on the scoresheet with a touch of fortune when her next free kick dropped into the top left corner and rippled the net.
Then Derbhla Wilson hammered home her side’s seventh consecutive score and that’s how it was. Whenever the ball was moved forward, there were three or four different blue and gold jerseys chasing after in a slick-moving Steelstown attack that worked from back to forward like clockwork.
But Cara Doherty struck again as the Óg’s failed to clear their lines and, after drilling into the bottom right hand corner with her first goal, the jinky Claudy full forward found the top left this time around to give the north Derry outfit some hope.
With this one though, the Steelstown girls weren’t rocked and they just went about reasserting their authority on the decider. Fionnuala Flanagan, in truth, was almost the brains of the operation. The Óg’s wing back dropped deep time and again and read the game like it was elementary, cutting out Claudy attacks ruthlessly and launching the platform for that deadly Steelstown forward line to go to town on.
Flanagan was the main reason that supply line was always open to her attackers as she continued to overturn the Mitchell’s and keep the momentum pumping in Steelstown’s direction.
It helped that Rachel Roberts got to grips with Doherty thereafter and that captain Aoife McGough started to power out from the backline whenever a half chance presented itself.
And so, Devine rattled over another before the break but not before young Clodagh Laverty came darting in from the right hand side and worked a pocket of space to lob over off that famous left of her’s.
At half time, the teams went in with seven separating them at 2-7 to 2-0 but, straight from the throw-in, the Óg’s cut loose again.
Una Casey got up and won it. She broke out of the tackle and found Clodagh Laverty on the move who slipped in her older sister Aoife one on one with Niamh Doherty only for the Claudy stopper to produce an outstanding save off the crossbar.
It didn’t matter though, it never does when Emma Donnelly is lurking about and the potent Steelstown full forward gobbled up the break and hammered home for her second goal of the game and send out a message of intent that the city girls were powering to this championship title.
A series of coolly taken free kicks – four in total, two each for the Laverty sisters – stretched Steelstown’s lead to 12 before Emma McCloskey floated over a dead ball at the other end for the Azzuri blues.
However, even though Megan Devine was being tightly watched in the second period, always one or two girls keeping tabs on the Steelstown danger woman, the centre forward soon exploded to life finding either side of the cross bar in the space of one breathtaking minute.
The goal came right after the point when Devine finally burrowed a way through the tackles and drilled low and hard and straight into the bottom right hand corner before Clodagh Laverty simply put the icing on the cake with another point as she and young Fionnuala Flanagan battled it out for player of the match.
As it was, it was the whole team dynamic that set the Óg’s apart. Their running was relentless, the score-taking was merciless, and the girls head off as champions of the county having stormed through every opposition this season.
If this is a sign of things to come, the future’s not looking too bad. Because this was emphatic. This was brilliant.
Steelstown: Emma McCallion; Jasmin Boyle, Aoife McGough, Rachel Roberts; Aoife McShane, Derbhla Wilson (0-1), Fionnuala Flanagan; Orla Flanagan, Una Casey (0-1); Clodagh Laverty (0-4, 0-2f), Megan Devine (1-3), Aoife Laverty (1-3, 1-2f); Aoife McKeever, Emma Donnelly (2-0), Ella-Rose Sainsbury (0-1)
Laura McLean, Lucy Williamson, Darrina Hunter, Emma McFarland, Caitlin Wade, Toni Cregan, Leah Casey, Beth Heaney, Eimear McCauley, Niamh Cusack, Ciara Foley
Claudy: Niamh Doherty; Sarah Hargan, Sarah McKeever, Beth McKinney; Erin O’Kane, Kady Brunker, Emily Bracken; Dáire White, Katie Hargan; Danielle Hargan, Cora McCloskey, Dearbhla Harkin; Ciara Boyle, Cara Doherty (2-0), Sarah Hargan
Cailiosa Hone, Emma McCloskey (0-1f)
Referee: Eddie Nash