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