Well done to the U14 girls who beat Mayobridge in the championship semi-final on Sunday after extra time.
Mayobridge put 1-1 on the scoreboard within the first 10mins before the Saul girls settled and got into their stride. Louise Lundy got the opening point from play to settle the nerves and with a few positional changes the full back line of Eimear Robinson, Cara Doran and Nicola Rourke began to get on top. Caitlin Kerr rounded off a bursting run to lob the keeper to level matters. Charlotte Curran extended the lead further with another goal. Mayobridge were determined to make a contest of this and replied quickly with a goal to cut the deficit. The switch of Lucy Morgan to shore up the defence and Grace Surginor’s running created a platform for Erin Cunningham to score a superb goal to put 2 points between the sides. Late in the half Mayobridge tagged on a further point before Niamh Gordon finger-tapped the ball over the advancing keeper for a goal to put the Saul girls 3 points up at half-time on a score of 4-1 to 2-4.
Alexandra Johnston was introduced for the second half with Niamh Gilchrist moving to corner forward to add to Saul’s scoring threat. However, the girls were slow out of the blocks again and with a repeat of the first half Mayobridge bagged 1-1 to put them into the lead. The switch of Eimear Teggart to centre half back aided by Nora Maguire began to cancel out Mayobridge’s support runners. Caitlin Kerr got the girls ahead again with another goal with Charlotte Curran adding a point only to see Mayobridge go up the field and score 1-1 again to cancel out Saul’s advantage. Nicola Rourke, Cara Doran and Lauren Quayle battled fearlessly in defence and offered protection to the keeper Orlaith Wynne who made many crucial interceptions late in the second half. Mayobridge went 2 ahead with another point however Niamh Gordon responded slotting over a point to leave a minimum between the sides. In the final minutes, Erin Cunningham calmly kicked over a free to leave the sides all square 4-7 to 5-4. In this thriller, a further 20mins of extra time was to be played to determine a victor.
Charlotte Curran buried the ball into the net to give a much needed boost to the team as extra time started. Mayobridge were not finished yet and with a flurry of possession they finished the half with 1-1 to put them ahead by 1 point at the break. In the second period of extra time, the fitness of the girls shone through as Mayobridge girls tired which opened up the game giving Kerr and Sands the space to run and supply the ball into Aoife Burns who excelled during this vital period. Erin Cunningham scored her second point to bring the scores level with minutes remaining. There was frantic play as both sides looked for the winner with the ball rebounding of the posts and crossbar. In the final minute Charlotte Curran found space at full forward and drilled the ball into the net from an acute angle with the Saul supporters in full voice. Mayobridge had one last attack but could not penetrate the Saul defence and this brought proceedings to an end. The final score was 5-8 to 7-5. The Saul supporters joined the girls and management on the field to share in the success after last year’s defeat in the semi-final.
It takes two exceptional sides to produce this remarkable spectacle of ladies football and it is hard luck on Mayobridge in their first year at U14 level. The club and supporters would like to thank their coaches Sonia and Frank and their managers Roisin, John and James for all the effort put in to ensure that the girls get the opportunity to take part in the County show-piece.
U16 boys will face Loughinisland in the East Down final at Drumaness on Saturday at 1pm. The lads have been working hard since qualifying for the decider and would be grateful for as much support from the Blue & Gold as possible.
U13s opened their account with a win at home to neighbours Teconnaught.
Time to update your diaries. Annual Dinner Dance is on Saturday 4th November in The Milbrook Lodge Hotel. Tickets can be purchased via Klubfunder, or any committee member. This event is usually one of the highlights of the year and is a perfect way to bring the season to a close with a night of good food, good craic, and good company.
Boxing Night also sees the return of the main event in the Saul Centre – watch this space!
Club gear will be available for sale in time for Christmas later this week. Watch out for details on the website and social media.