It’s turning out to be a remarkable year for the lady footballers of Omagh St Enda’s, writes Damien Donnelly.
St Enda’s are celebrating Ulster club junior title success after a spirited all-round team display in Saturday’s decider at Fr Campbell Park in Coalisland.
Hats go off to all the players and everyone involved with the St Enda’s camp on such a wonderful achievement.
Ulster titles are precious commodities and to win one at their first attempt is worthy of the highest praise.
It is only a short space of time ago that the team clinched a first ever adult county crown and St Enda’s have certainly built superbly on that inaugural triumph.
Ballinsacreen stood in the way of a dream debut double on Saturday as the Red Hand representatives endeavoured to add Ulster silverware to the Tyrone trophy.
Omagh went on to carve out a first-rate success following a solid display full of resolve from defence, midfield and attack.
All-Ireland action awaits but let’s first reflect more on a memorable occasion for St Enda’s and supporters on Saturday.
The opening half unfolded promisingly for the Tyrone team as Cara McCrossan found the back of Ballinascreen’s net to back up a Teri McCullagh point.
McCrossan and Emma Collins tagged on Omagh scores before Kirsty McCullagh broke Ballinascreen’s duck at the other end by pointing.
A Teri McCullagh brace left Omagh moving towards half-time comfortably ahead but a couple of first half tail stings from the Derry girls comprised a Dania Donnelly point plus a Kathryn McNamee major.
Omagh’s lead was reduced to three by the break(1-5 to 1-2), early second half points via Donnelly and Sarah McAllister leaving just one between them.
St Enda’s refused to panic and still retained the ball well, working openings to try and get more breathing space on the scoreboard.
Some missed chances undermined such ambitions but perseverance brought reward in the form of Hayley Ballard and Emma Collins scores.
Michaela O’Neill arrived onto the scene to score a timely point, McNamee replying for the Oak Leafers before Cara McCrossan netted to seal a magical victory for the jubilant St Enda’s.
Tyrone and Ulster crowns safely secured in the club cabinet, St Enda’s can focus on the All-Ireland stages and hopefully extending a stunning season even further.
Emma Nugent took delivery of the Paddy Freeman cup for St Enda’s from Ulster President Hugh Devenney, with half back Christiane Hunter named player of the match on a day that put further icing on the tasty celebration cake of St Enda’s.
Teams and Scorers: St Enda’s: Cara McCrossan 2-1, Teri McCullagh 0-3 ,Emma Collins 0-2, Hayley Ballard 0-1 , Michaela O Neill 0-1 Ballinascreen: Kathryn McNamee 1-1, Dania Donnelly 0-2, Kirsty McCullagh 0-1, Sarah McAllister 0-1 St Enda’s: Colleen McCullagh, Orla Kelly, Charmaine Gormley, Emma Nugent, Caoimhe McGovern, Clodagh Mullan, Christiane Hunter, Colleen McCullagh, Nicola McCrossan , Terri McCullagh, Kelly O’Sullivan, Hayley Ballard, Emma Collins, Grainne McGale, Cara McCrossan , Sub: Michaela O’Neill For O’Sullivan.
Rest of St Enda’s Panel: Laura Smyth, Louise Moynagh, Mellisa Moynagh, Nicola Fitzgerald, Shannon Tracey, Eireen McAleer, Dani Brown , Dani Taggart.
Ballinascreen : Emma McGovern, Roisin Conway, Mary T Scullion, Teresa Bradley, Aine McAllister, Ashling Groogan, Grace Kelly, Ann Marie McBride, Michaela McBride, Mary Jo McCullagh, Kirsty McCullagh, Sarah McAllister, Clare McGrogan, Kathryn McNamee, Dania Donnelly. Sub: Bronagh McGillion For MJ McCullagh.