A tremendous second half display by Nicole Mc Laughlin saw Termon snatch a hard fought victory at Killeshil on Sunday.
This was a game that had everthing, delayed for twenty minutes due to local road conditions which delayed the arrival of Referee Barry Coyle from Belfast; level five times, two penalties, outstanding football, and a decent crowd of hardy spectators who braved sub zero conditions to watch the cream of Tyrone and Donegal.
Termon made one change from the Kinawley game where Molly Callaghan was the preferred choice but Caroline Gallagher was Termon’s first choice against Killeshil.
This was a game for the big players and none was taller than Nicole Mc Laughlin. Nicole, who wears the number three shirt, salvaged this game for Termon who found themselves five points down with forty five minutes gone and playing against the wind and the slope.
Termon, who are renowned as slow starters, were on the back foot for the entire first half from when Louise Kelly opened the scoring for Killeshil. Geraldine Mc Laughlin levelled matters. McLaughlin added a point when keeper Cathy Donaghy parried her goalbound shot. Zoe Loughran added a wonderful goal for the home club when in a race for a loose ball she give Termon keeper Caroline Gallagher no chance from close range. Points were exchanged for the teams to go in at the break Kileshil 1-6 Termon 0-7
On the resumption Stephen Donaghey, the Killeshill manager made several positional changes that saw two markers play on Geraldine Mc Laughlin. Anna Gallagher, the youthful Termon half forward revelled in the openness that this provided. Gallagher was involved in the move of the match which she started in midfield by picking up a Jamie Leigh Murray pass. A quick offload to Dara Kelly proved fruitful. Kelly found Geraldine Mc Laughlin, who again turned provider to Kelly who made no mistake from close range, and as the experienced Termon umpire raised the green flag at the road end of the grounds Termon supporter breathed a sigh of relief to be once again ahead against the run of play.
Holly McDaid, Shannagh Kelly, Aisling Ryan, Orla Trearty, Emer Gallagher and Jamie Leigh Murray were all involved at a high level for Termon. But again the back line stood firm in the face of an onslaught. Shauna Kelly, Lauren Mc Ilwaine, Niamh Callaghan and Caroline Gallagher stepped up to the mark when required. This was a game that ebbed and flowed and was likely to explode at any moment. And it did on the 50 minute mark when the drama of the game arrived in a three minute spell, as Killeshil posted a warning that this team was not to go down without a struggle. Louise Kelly made ground towards goal and referee Barry Coyle from the St Pauls club in Belfast decreed that she had been fouled in the penalty area. Kelly took the kick herself which Termon’s keeper Gallagher saved but in the follow up Kelly scored from the rebound.
This score was the catalyst that this Termon team needed to up the pace. Seconds later Geraldine Mc Laughlin was deemed to be fouled in the opposing penalty area and Mc Laughlin herself tucked away the spot kick. Killeshil hit back and set up several attacks with Anne Scullion, one of the Scullion twins, causing the Termon defence a lot of trouble. Then up stepped Nicole Mc Laughlin playing against Tyrone county player Louise Kelly. McLaughlin took responsibility when the chips were down and Termon were again on the rear foot. Mc Laughlin made several timely interceptions and indeed took time out to set up some attacks. Further scores were exchanged and in the end Termon Ladies minors, who were last defeated in November 2007, went on to an Ulster Final against host club St Paul’s of Belfast on the 2nd January 2012.
Great credit must go to the Killeshil club who ensured that this game went ahead due to overnight frost and indeed it was in doubt right up to the throw-in
Best for Killeshill was Niamh Donaghy, Vanessa Doyle and the outstanding Louise Kelly.
Termon were best served by Lauren Mc Ilwaine Petra Mc Cafferty, Emer Gallaghert with the Mc Laughlin sisters providing an outstanding hour.
Termon: Caroline Gallagher, Shauna Kelly, Nicole McLaughlin, Lauren McIllwaine, Aisling Ryan, Petra McCafferty, Niamh Callaghan, Jamie Leigh Murray, Emer Gallagher, Shannagh Kelly, Dara Kelly, Anna Gallagher, Hollie McDaid, Geraldine McLaughlin, Orlaith Trearty. Subs Molly Callaghan, Lucy O’Flynn, Aoife Ryan, Roseleen Gallagher.
Killeeshil: Cathy Donaghy, Una Hamill, Ursula McGee, Niamh Dinsmore, Deirbhle O’Hagan, Emma Louise Mulgrew, Faoilliarna Keenan, Anne Scullion, Vanessa Doyle, Lauren Devine, Genevieve Scullion, Louise Kelly, Aine Rafferty, Grainne Rafferty, Zoe Loughran.