Having already secured the Senior 1 title, Raphoe 1st XI still had an objective to remain unbeaten in the league.
The Donegal side faced a challenging task in their final home game of the season against a strong Omagh team. Coach Richard Tinney was very aware of the strength of his opposition, having lost to them in the Senior Cup final and drawing in their away league fixture.
Both teams wanted to perform to their best in this local derby, as Raphoe wanted to display their strengthened performance after their last meeting and Omagh needed to secure 3 points for a chance at promotion.
The game opened with both teams struggling to settle in their own style of play, with mistakes occurring on both sides.
Omagh began to dominate by taking quick frees and creating swift movement up front.
The Raphoe side found themselves under pressure after conceding 4 consecutive short corners. However, the defence and Goalkeeper Heather Humphrey held the defensive line strong and cleared any opposing threats.
Raphoe were aware they needed to up their performance against this dogged team. Captain Sabrina Barnett began to dictate play from defence and used her experience to thread passes through the Omagh defence.
This led up to the opening goal of the game, when she found Leanne Patterson on the run to the right side of the post. Patterson collected the ball and from a tight angle hammered the ball into the roof of the net.
This was the kickstart Raphoe needed to find their attacking form. Within 10 minutes Raphoe were able to further increase their lead by 3 goals.
The second goal came from a counter-attack after Heather Humphrey cleared the ball from a defensive short corner to find a free Leanne Patterson in midfield. Omagh were outnumbered in defence and defeated by a great passing manoeuvre from Patterson to Jasmine Tinney who found her sister Zara Tinney outside the circle. Zara used her speed to pull the keeper wide and swiftly passed it to Katy Love on the post who slotted it in to the empty net.
The third goal arose from a similar style of play down the left, where Wendy Patterson penetrated the D and squared the ball to Leanne Patterson for a quick slip to Love on the post who guaranteed the ball found the back of the net for her second of the game.
The final goal of the first half came from a quick free from Lisa Patterson on the left who found an eagerly awaiting Sabrina Barnett in the circle who made no error on her attack by striking the ball bottom right post.
After half=time Raphoe were aware of the threats Omagh can still cause in their defence and this was evident in the opening stages of the half, as they gained several short corners against Raphoe. Vicky Wray, Julie Wilson and Janice Nelson worked tirelessly in the defence to ensure they maintained a clean sheet for the team.
Omagh struggled to get that final movement to add to the score line. Despite this, Omagh continued to work hard and ensured it would not be an easy half for Raphoe. However, Raphoe made sure to cease any opportunities that occurred for them by claiming 3 more goals throughout the half.
The fifth and sixth goals both came from short corners, firstly when Wendy Patterson collected the loose ball from a rebound and flicked it confidently past the goalkeeper.
The second short corner goal was a result of a well worked routine when Wray slapped the ball to Barnett to pull the defence wide, who then switched it left to Leanne Patterson who took a reverse shot to bottom left post.
The final goal of the game symbolised Raphoe’s teamwork and strong passing play on all areas of the pitch. Lyndsey Tinney received the ball from a quick free in defence, she moved the ball fast to Lisa Smyth on the right of the pitch. Smyth timed her run and held onto the ball until her supporting forwards were moving into position for an option. She found Wendy Patterson after a galloping run from midfield. Patterson ensured she added her name to the score line again with a strong strike through the keeper’s legs.
The game ended 7-0 and Coach Richard Tinney was delighted to gain a convincing result against a strong team who they previously struggled to turn up against.
Raphoe’s final fixture of the season is away on Wednesday 3rd April to Portadown.
RAPHOE: Heather Humphrey, Arlyne Kilpatrick, Sabrina Barnett (Captain), Victoria Wray, Janice Nelson, Zara Tinney, Lyndsey Tinney, Wendy Patterson, Lisa Patterson, Leanne Patterson, Lisa Smyth, Katy Love, Julie Wilson, Jasmine Tinney, Rebecca Wauchope & Alison Stewart