(Many thanks to Shay McLaughlin (JM) Transition Year for the superb matchday photography.)
Our U15 girls are champions of Ulster after an excellent 4-2 victory over Loreto Letterkenny at Aileach FC. The girls put in an excellent shift from 1st minute to last with an inspired opening half paving the way to victory. The girls started the game well on top and had one or two openings for Emma Devlin and Ellie Long, stopped with some last ditch defending by the formidable Loreto defence. However, this all changed in the 10th minute when Sophie Murphy ran onto a well weighted ball over the top and drove a shot over the keeper and in off the crossbar. The girls were 1-0 up and well in command. Loreto battled fiercely and the CCS defence did well to hold them at bay after a bit of sustained pressure. CCS went 2-0 up five minutes before half time after Ellie Long guided home a pinpoint free kick from Katherine Doherty. Then in the last play of the half Sophie Murphy again outran the Loreto defence and stroked the ball to the net. The girls were 3-0 up at half time but were very calm and level headed during the break, knowing they would have to deal with an onslaught from Loreto in the 2nd half.
The girls started the 2nd half on top form, again keeping possession well and creating an array of chances. Ellie Long, Emma Devlin and Lorinne Greene were all unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Sophie Murphy put the girls 4-0 up with another composed finish and her hat-trick. The girls gave away a sloppy corner with about 15 minutes left and from the corner the ball was turned home by the Loreto striker after a scramble in the box. Suddenly Loreto's tails were up and CCS were again a little careless in possession and an excellent driving run from Erika Gallagher of Loreto led to her being taken down in the box for a penalty. Suddenly it was 4-2 with around 10 minutes left and Loreto had all the momentum. Loreto piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes but the CCS defence dealt comfortably with it and restricted them to long range efforts. The final whistle went and the girls erupted into celebrations. It was an excellent all round team performance with Fiona Doherty impressing in particular at the back in her 1st start for the U15s and Sophie Murphy excelling up front.
The girls march onto the All-Ireland Semi on Tuesday, 2nd April. They take on Claregalway College, the Connacht champions. The game will kick off at 1pm in Ray MacSharry Park. All support welcome.