Lagan Harps claimed victory over a spirited Greencastle FC in a closely contested, thrilling final in Ballyare yesterday afternoon.
Lagan Harps 4
It was the smaller girls of Greencastle came closest in the opening minutes when Kerry Browne latching on to a great cross but just went wide after two minutes.
Five minutes in Lagan captain, Lianne Boyce powered through the middle from a through ball and her low shot clipped the grass and whizzed past Chloe Moir in goal to make it 1-0.
There was plenty of nice link up play from both sides but Lianne Boyce’s shot sneaked through after a slip by the Greencastle keeper to put Lagan two up after 15 minutes.
Seven minutes later Noreen Duffy’s pass found Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin who casually slotted the ball into the net to make it 2 – 1 and that was how the first half ended.
Lagan reacted strongest at the restart and following a good chance saved by Chloe Moir Orla Friel’s, a pass found Ava Duncan who slotted home to make it 3-1 two minutes into the half.
Greencastle didn’t sit back and eight minutes into the half Emer Gillen’s pass found Kate McClenaghan who hit a driving long range shot that smashed the top corner of the Lagan net.
At 3- 2 the Greencastle girls rallied hard and came close again with Roma McLaughlin’s shot going just over the bar.
Lagan keeper, Emma Toye, made a solid save from a powerful shot keeping their one goal lead.
Seven minutes later Roma’s pass found Kate McClenaghan who rounded three players before her shot hit the top corner in the goal of the match.
Tied at 3 -3 it made for an exciting final quarter.
The deadlock was broken when Lagan’s Zoe Green pounced on loose ball during a goalmouth scramble to make it 4-3.
Both sides brought on subs as the clocked ticked down and Greencastle lost an in form Roma McLaughlin late on but the Lagan ladies defended well and reacted with joyous scenes when ref Marty McGarrigle blew the final whistle to claim the Ulster FA title.
Lagan Harps FC: Emma Toye, Aine Deasley, Zoe Green, Lauren McElwaine, Simona Gibbons, Zoe Green, Ciana Brogan, Lianne Boyce, Ava Duncan, Erin Coll, Orla Friel, Subs: Chelsea Gillespie for Aine Deasley, Shania McElhinney for Simona Gibbons, Ciara Duffy for Ava Duncan
Greencastle FC: Chloe Moir, Aine Hannon, Danielle McDermot, Maeve Gillen, Noreen Duffy, Toni Kelly, Emer Gillen, Roma McLaughlin, Kerry Browne, Kate McClenaghan, Niamh McLaughlin, Subs: Charlotte Van Stiphout for Kerry Browne, Rachel Van Stiphout for Emer Gillen, Eimear McLaughlin for Roma McLaughlin, Niamh McDonald.
Referee: Marty McGarrigle, Letterkenny.
Lagan Harps play a sweet tune to take cup
Speaking after the thrilling Ulster FA U-14 Cup final, Lagan Harps, manager Brid McGinty said her players did exactly what was asked of them and she was delighted with the win.
She praised Greencastle, who were much the smaller team, on their spirited fightback.
“It was a great, competitive game. Greencastle really put it up to us. The girls did everything we asked of them in training and it paid off in the end. It was a good team performance and they did what they had to do,” a delighted Brid said.
Woman of the match
There was a number fine performances. Greencastle fielded a number of pocket rockets who played with the status of much older girls. Kate McClenaghan bagged two good goals and Roma McLaughlin played herself into the ground until she came off.
Lagan players were outstanding across the pitch but it was captain, Lianne Boyce, who was central to every move from start to finish. Her delight was clear as she hoisted the cup after it was presented by Ulster FA Chairman Ernie Pollock.