The Steelstown U14 girls gave a fantastic performance at the Feile 2014 Derry qualifying blitz during the week at Owenbeg, winning both group games against Moneymore and Craigbane and meaning that they will be playing some part in this year’s Feile competition.
Later in the day, they then suffered a narrow 1-point defeat by Dungiven in the semi-final.
In today’s opening match against Moneymore, Aoife Collins broke a deadlock between both teams in the first half with a great point. Moneymore responded with a point before Aoife Collins smashed in a goal, following up after a great attempt by Clodagh Laverty and some super teamwork from the other Og girls. Aoife O’Reilly was outstanding in goals, preventing scores and delivering the ball up the field well. Ellen McFadden, Niamh Doherty and Riona Harkin all worked their socks off in defence.
The centre of the pitch was dominated by great teamwork and interchange between Niamh Friel, Catherine McGuigan, Sarah Kelly (who ran her heart out), Clodagh Laverty, Aoife Collins and Leah McGonigle.
Up front Nicole Campbell, Cara Laverty and Cliodna Nelis put in a great shift. Second half saw the Steelstown girls break free and spurred on by the loss of Niamh Friel in this half though injury the Ogs went on a rampant scoring spree with Aoife Collins starting with a point, from a goalward-bound shot tipped over the bar by the Moneymore keeper. Catherine McGuigan followed this with an unbelievable long range shot dipping in for the goal, followed quickly by another goal from Aoife Collins fed by Catherine. Points from Leah McGonigle (2, with 1 from a free), Aoife Collins, Clodagh Laverty (2, following some fantastic teamwork) were complimented by two great goals from the prolific Aoife Collins – and if she gets out of the habit of hitting the wood work, she will be even more scary! The second of Aoife’s goals resulted from a great long range shot by the tireless Sarah Kelly through a crowded Moneymore defence. The Steelstown girls finished this match with a 6-7 to 0-2 win.
In the second group match against Craigbane, the Steelstown girls got off to a slow start, playing against a strong breeze. Craigbane scored a goal which triggered a response with points from Aoife Collins and Leah McGonigle. 3 quick goals then settled the nerves – first from Clodagh Laverty (following up an Aoife Collins shot off the post) and 2 from Aoife Collins herself (fed from Clodagh). The first half was finished off with points from Aoife Collins and Leah McGonigle (from a free). In this game newcomer Orla O’Doherty, plus U12s Orlaith McGough, Hannah Lang, Evie Doherty, Elle O’Kane and Pauline Roberts all gave outstanding performances.
In the second half and with the wind in their backs, the Steelstown girls picked up the pace with quick points from Clodagh Laverty and Aoife Collins (with a great shot from wide right). Clodagh Laverty then scored a great goal before a run of points from Catherine McGuigan, Leah McGonigle (2) and Clodagh Laverty (2). The Og girls finished with a 4-11 to 1-1 win.
Having negotiated the group stage and banked a Feile place, the Steelstown girls came up against Dungiven. In the first half two opening points by the Dungiven side was cancelled out by two from Leah McGonigle.
A tight encounter followed with both sides playing some fantastic football….a highlight was watching young Cara Laverty (who had an outstanding tournament) chasing a tall Dungiven girl bounding the length of the pitch, matching her every inch of the way. A couple of points by the Dungiven side, taking full advantage of the wind put the pressure on the Steelstown girls as the half drew to a close and pressure told with a late goal and point conceded.
The Steelstown girls finished the half with a six points deficit but with the wind behind them in the next half.. This next half proved frantic and exciting with the Dungiven supporters and coaches almost needing heart massage as the Steelstown girls made their response. A point and a goal from Leah McGonigle followed by a point from Clodagh Laverty (from a free narrowed the gap to a point, but Dungiven replied by getting up the pitch and taking a point of their own.
Aoife Collins pulled it back to 1-down with a nice point which again triggered a response from the stubborn Dungiven side with another point. Clodagh Laverty raised the temperature with a point in the dying seconds but time ran out and the Dungiven side held on for the narrow 1-7 to 1-6 victory……great football from the two teams.
All in all fabulous performances all around the pitch from the Og girls making their coaches, parents and club proud. Well done all….!
Steelstown Brian Ogs U14 squad:
Aoife O’Reilly; Orla O’Doherty; Niamh Doherty; Orlaith McGough; Niamh Friel; Catherine McGuigan; Riona Harkin; Sarah Kelly; Clogagh Laverty; Leah McGonigle; Aoife Collins; Ellen McFadden; Nicole Campbell; Cara Laverty; Cliodna Nelis; Elle O’Kane ; Pauline Roberts; Evie Doherty; Hannah Lang.