Steelstown girls excel in Carryduff

September 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm

THE Steelstown Brian Og’s U12 girls travelled to Carryduff on Saturday to take part in an 11-a-side U12 Football Tournament attended by 20 teams.

The coach journey up to Belfast was shared with Buncrana U12 girls and special thanks to Steelstown girls Connie Roarty and Hannah Lang for helping out the Buncrana team by bolstering their squad and contributing well to their games – nice one!

The Og’s put in a brilliant team tournament performance, finishing 3rd  in the tournament which really wrapped up the playing season well and they only missed out on claiming the tournament top prize by the narrowest of margins …… a count of 45s giving a drawn semi-final the result to St Paul’s of Antrim.

The pool stage pitched the Steelstown girls up against Breda, Saul, Glenravel and Clan Na Gael.

In game 1 against Breda, Steelstown won 4-8 to 3-1 with highlights including Aoife Collins goals, fantastic team interchange including great work by Dearbla Mooney, Evie Doherty and Pauline Roberts in setting up the goals and Dearbhla taking a nice point and further points from Leah McGonagle and Aoife. Subs Maeve Mooney, Elle O’Kane, Orlaith McGough and Niamh Rankin put in a solid performance to maintain the result.

In game 2 against Saul, Steelstown won 2-4 to 0-2. This game was a tight one, with Aoife Collins finally breaking Saul resistance in the first half with a goal and a further point from a free. Two points from Saul in the second half made the coaches and spectators sweat buckets but the impressive 3 amigos in defense (Niamh Doherty, Niamh Gilmore and Niamh Friel) and a brilliant goal from Catherine McGuigan whipped in from the right touchline relaxed things a little. Cara Williamson and Lara Smailles made their mark as the Steelstown side settled and Leah McGonagle snuffed out any possibility of a Saul revival by scoring a fantastic point and an even better goal, both taken from wide right.

In game 3 against Glenravel, Steelstown won 8-5 to 0-0. Steelstown were comfortable in this game taking command from the start with goals by speedy Gonzales Maeve Mooney and the lethal Aoife Collins. Leah McGonagle continued to pick off stunning points from long range. Aoife extended her goal scoring spree into the second half and it was Riona Harkin’s outstanding block that kept the clean sheet – awesome! Nichole Campell in her break from being goalie smashed in a stunning goal and Dearbhla Mooney chipped in with a goal and a point, but the last word came from Niamh Friel who picked up the ball from wide left and whipped in a super point – the cool turn and humble celebration signalling the work of a professional. 

In the final pool game against Clan Na Gael, Steelstown won 5-3 to 0-0. Mave Mooney pounced quickest on a Nichole Campbell attempt off the post to score the first goal. Hungry for more, Maeve snatched another goal following a great high ball in from Leah McGonagle. Niamh Doherty, as always was absolutely brilliant in defence and Niamh Gilmore was picking high balls out of the clouds. The other team just was not going to get past them! A goal and point from Aoife Collins was followed by a fantastic one from Nichole Campbell who was on fire up front! After a brace of points from the dependable Leah McGonagle, the game concluded with an “ell” of a goal from Elle O’Kane from a long range shot.

So, after all of that in the group stages, it was off to the semi-final match against St Paul’s of Antrim – a game which the tournament organizer said was the most exciting he had seen in a long time, with a very high standard of football being played by both teams. St Paul’s opened the scoring with a point which could have been a goal but for the acrobatic one handed save from Riona Harkin. Steelstown replied with a point from Leah McGonagle fed brilliantly by Niamh Friel to square the match. Another brilliant goal-saving save from Riona Harkin was followed by a point from Maeve Mooney following great play by Leah and Steelstown went into the half-time break ahead by  0-2 to 0-1 ……tense! Second half saw St Paul’s equalize with a point but the Steelstown party got excited when Maeve scored a great goal to take the lead. The Steelstown effort was immense throughout this game with excellent tight marking by all the girls – everyone working their socks off. With the game drawing to a close, the St Paul’s side had a late attack and smashed in a goal leaving the scores tied in both goals and points at 1-2 to 1-2. Nightmare scenario! The tournament rules in the event of a tie were 1. Greater score difference; 2. Greater number of scores, 3. Greater number of 45s (and it was this third rule that kicked in and prevented 3 mins of golden score extra time). The girls were absolutely gutted for the result to be awarded to the other team, but should be very proud of their efforts – everyone, all the players and subs put their heart and souls into the games and are winners.

The Steelstown U12 girls had one more match to play before leaving for home – the 3rd/4th play-off final against St Brides of Antrim. In this game they lifted their spirits again and won by 1-4 to 1-1. Leah McGonagle once again picking off points from long range and an Aoife Collins goal making the game safe in the first half. In the second, Catherine McGuigan went off injured but returned just before the end of the game and sealed it with a great point.

Special thanks to Sean Sherry and all the Carryduff tournament organisers and local team parents for laying on a super tournament and refreshments throughout the day which was much appreciated. Also thanks to the parents who travelled to the tournament and gave fantastic support to the Steelstown Brian Og’s girls and coaches during the transport and games and special thanks for Aoife O’Reilly who travelled, was unable to play but ably assisted the girls and coaches on the day.

Team: Nicole Campbell, Aoife Collins, Evie Doherty, Niamh Doherty, Niamh Friel, Niamh Gilmore, Riona Harkin, Hannah Lang, Leah McGonagle, Orlaith McGough, Catherine McGuigan, Dearbhla Mooney, Maeve Mooney, Niamh Rankin , Pauline Roberts, Connie Roarty, Lara Smailles, Cara Williamson, Elle O’Kane