Leinster ‘A’ Final U14 Girls Soccer Champions
Coolmine C.S. Vs. St. Peter’s, Balbriggan.
In very strong winds and against a very worthy and skilful opposing side, the girls of Coolmine proved their worth. From a tough and hard-fought contest they emerged as the best team in Leinster in their age group.
After kick-off, Coolmine seemed to be the first to settle into the match. With the wind at their backs, they struck into their opponents half and were rewarded with a goal, tipped in by Kelsey Murphy less than ten minutes into the game. Now full of confidence the team continued to play in St. Peter’s half of the pitch. Midfielders Rioghain ni Lorcain and Nana Adeniyi played plenty of ball down to their front line, but a second goal eluded them. The half-time whistle blew and Coolmine were 1 – 0 up.
The second half proved to be a different story. Defending against a very strong wind, Coolmine were hard pressed to keep their opposition out. Despite some excellent defensive work by Lorna Gallagher, Hannah Kenny, Emma Devitt (C) and Sara Dowling, St. Peter’s equalised early in the second half. Determined to let it go no further Coolmine dug in. The girls from St. Peter’s played some excellent football. There were some very skilful shots on goal from their players but to no avail. Coolmine goalie Ashling Fitzpatrick kept her cool under tremendous pressure and made 5 or 6 first-class saves throughout the second half to keep her team well in the match. The full-time whistle blew and the teams prepared for extra time.
In the first 8 minutes of extra time Coolmine had the wind advantage once more. With both teams determined to win, no one was giving an inch. Sinead Wheatley made some great runs up the wing but Coolmine were unable to capitalise, despite the best efforts of Nicole Rock. Then a ball was played forward to Hannah Gallagher and she took off. Leaving St. Peter’s defenders in her wake, she raced towards the goal and struck towards the net. Score! The Coolmine bench celebrated! Then a change of sides for the final 8 minutes of extra time.
With the wind blowing their way a battling St. Peter’s equalised again and Coolmine shoulders slumped. Determined to give it one last try our girls in red drew on their last reserves of strength. A sideline throw came Hannah Gallagher’s way and before St. Peter’s knew what was happening she was off. In the closing minutes of play she was to be the hero of the day as she once again found the net.
The final whistle blew and the celebrations began. Coolmine had won 3 – 2.