St Mary’s Magherafelt claimed the Ulster Ladies Under 20 B title on Thursday afternoon at MUSA when they saw off the challenge of Loreto Omagh on a final score of 1-12 to 3-1.
The Derry school were quicker to the ball, sharper on the break and much better all round than their Tyrone counterparts. Right from the off Magherafelt were full of running and endeavour and made great use of the large pitch at the Cookstown venue. They had match winners along every line and their basic skills and superb support play had Loreto Omagh under pressure from the first whistle.
Defensively they had excellent performances from Leah Brewster, Sarah Heron and Hannah Mc Eldowney while their midfield pairing of Kate Higgins and Sarah Devlin never stopped running and working for their team. Up frontAoife Kelly, Caoileann Quinn, Niamh O’Donnell and substitute Leah Stewart caused problems for the Loreto defence every time they won possession.
Loreto may have been beaten but they can take pride in their workrate and their energy as they carried the fight to their bigger, stronger opponents. Erin Harvey could do little about the Magherafelt goal and her restart kicks were excellent throughout. In spite of being on the back foot for long periods Eve Teague, Roisin Lynch, Clare Donnelly, Ellie Nugent, Bree Mc Bride and Catherine Mc Cauley battled to the end.
Magherafelt dominated possession in the first half and reached the break leading 0-6 to 0-1. Full Forward Niamh O’Donnell fired over three points while Kate Higgins (2) and Caoileann Quinn were also on target. Loreto’s single score came from a 30th minute free from the foot of impressive midfielder Emer Mc Canny.
Omagh were much improved after the break despite conceding an early goal to O’Donnell with Aine Strain and Emma Mc Crossan to the fore.
However a brace of points from Leah Stewart stretched the Magherafelt lead before a point apiece from Sarah O’Neill and Jenny Shivers appeared to have put the game beyond Loreto.
Leading 1-9 to 0-1 St. Mary’s got several shocks when Omagh hit the net three times in the space of five minutes to really put the cat among the pigeons. Aoibheann Gallagher (2) and Kelly Mc Caffrey were on target and suddenly what looked like a controlled procession became momentarily nervy.
Credit to St Mary’s as they regained their poise and finished with three further points to deservedly claim the title. A brace of scores from Sarah Devlin and the final point from Sarah O’Neil wrapped up a 1-12 to 3-1 victory and the Ulster title.