GAA: Eoghan Rua Under-14 Girls in Championship action

Eoghan Rua Under 14 girls went down to Ballinascreen in the first round of the Championship last Wednesday evening.

In their previous league encounter the South Derry girls won comfortably and so were favoured to progress which they did but the Coleraine side made them battle all the way as they went down 3-6 to 1-2.

Ballinascreen started brightly and had Eoghan Rua under pressure early on but following a couple of changes in the Coleraine defence where Brenda Grant reverted to full back with Anna Frizelle moving to centre half back and Sarah Moore at corner back .

Ballinascreen opened with a pointed free and followed with a couple of points from play. They had to resort to shooting from distance as the Eoghan Rua girls tackled hard when the ball got close to goal. Some great defensive play from all the defenders and some great goalkeeping from Cora Lagan helped keep the scoreline down and a long range looping effort was the only major recorded in the first half. Sarah Moore and Niamh Boorman were working hard to get the ball forward to Aoife Boorman and Anna Morrison on the right hand side of the pitch though the Ballinascreen girls were not making it easy for them. Some great interceptions and clearing of the lines by Brenda Grant and Anna Frizelle helped the Coleraine girls launch a few attacks through good link play with Aoife Bradley although the forwards were off target on the occasions they threatened.

Late on in the half a switch of Anna Morrison to midfield with Aoife Boorman moving to the half forward line appeared to help both areas of play for the visitors. Darcey Kelly and Naoise Kennedy were doing well on the left hand side of the defence and made real efforts to get the ball forward to Shauna Doherty and Niamh Morrison. Eve Lundy was making things difficult for the Ballinascreen defence when the ball came her way though appeared to pick up an injury midway through the half. Switching her with Grace Taylor in the other corner of the attack again helped both players.

At half time the home side were leading by 1-05 to no score, but in the second half the Coleraine girls seemed to apply themselves much better. With the long deliveries out of defence from Brenda Grant the forwards started to make some headway. Shauna Doherty linked well with Aoife Bradley on a number of occasions to create some scoring opportunities for the Coleraine girls and Grace Taylor and Niamh Morrison were beginning to make an impact. Leah Dollard was moved to wing half forward and this helped again keep the pressure off the Coleraine defence. Leahs determination and never say die attitude helped turn over possession for the Coleraine girls a number of times. The first score of the second half however was a goal for the home side – though the final ball to the net was from a cruel deflection off full back Brenda Grant. Undeterred by this the Coleraine girls enjoyed their best spell of play. Sarah Moore began to dominate her player in the full back line – Niamh Boorman, Darcey Kelly and Anna Frizelle continually thwarted the Ballinascreen attacks and Aoife Bradley and Anna Morrison were getting through a power of work at midfield.

A great run from Shauna Doherty on the right wing was followed by some intricate hand passing with Niamh Morrison resulting in Shauna firing over a point for the visitors opening score. Shortly after that a series of frees won by Leah Dollard and then Anna Morrison saw the ball despatched by the Anna Morrison to the free Shauna Doherty who tapped over a second point. Ballinascreen then changed a few things and some strong running at the Coleraine defence resulted in another deflected goal that left goalkeeper Cora Lagan, who had played very well throughout the game, with no chance. All was not up for the visitors though and some more passing moves out of defence led to the ball breaking to Eve Lundy whose precise pass to Shauna Doherty left her on for a dipping shot that nestled in the Ballinascreen net. More defensive duties were needed before the end however and again some great tackling and blocking by Aoife Boorman and Anna Morrison ensured no further scores were conceded. Final score Ballinascreen 3-6 Coleraine 1-2.

Defeat to Ballinascreen in the Championship meant the Coleraine Under-14 girls moved into the Shield competition where they took on Craigbane in the first round. After a closely contested game Eoghan Rua came with a late scoring burst of 1-3 without reply to turn a narrow one point lead into a fine 4-9 to 3-5 victory which sees them into a semi-final meeting with Claudy.

The team showed one enforced change as Niamh Boorman was unavailable for the trip. Some re-jigging of the line out saw Grace Taylor move to corner back with Naoise Kennedy moving out to wing half back with Caoimhe Hamill coming into the attack. The Coleraine girls started strongly and had registered a few wides from Niamh Morrison and Shauna Doherty before Shauna got them off the mark with a trademark point. Craigbane responded and actually equalised with their first attack of the match. The Coleraine girls however reasserted themselves and enjoyed a period of sustained pressure. This resulted in a goal from a Shauna Doherty penalty after Anna Morrison was fouled as she was bearing down on goal. Shauna Doherty then pointed again after good work from Aoife Bradley and Leah Dollard. Anna Morrison added to the scoreboard with a goal as the Coleraine girls kept the pressure on. Shauna Doherty tapped over another score to leave the Eoghan Rua leading 2-3 to 0-1. Craigbane started to come back into the game again and registered a goal and two points to a further point in reply and as half time arrived the Coleraine side were leading 2-4 to 1-3. The defence was working hard when the ball came their way and Anna Frizelle was winning a terrific tussle with Clodagh Crossan at centre half back. Naoise Kennedy made some good interceptions and the support play of Sarah Moore and Darcey Kelly helped keep the Craigbane tally down.

In the second half there were some positional switches. Aoife Boorman who was working tirelessly at midfield was moved to the defence with Brenda Grant moving to mid-field. The switch seemed to work as the Coleraine girls got off to a flyer at the start of the second half. A Shauna Doherty goal and an Anna Morrison point had things looking good for Coleraine. However Craigbane had other ideas and they had a purple patch where they notched 2-2 against a one point reply. Craigbane were now just one point behind and their midfield had been posing some problems. Aoife Bradley and Brenda Grant then swapped marking duties and this helped both players. Brenda won the duel with Bronagh Feeny in the Craigbane midfield and Aoife had much more of an impact against Emma Lynch. The Coleraine girls enjoyed much more possession for the rest of the match and went on to score 1-3 without reply. Anna Morrison notched the goal and Shauna Doherty another two points, sandwiched round a magnificent long range point from Leah Dollard.

When Craigbane did attack the defence of Sarah Moore, Cora Lagan and Aoife Boorman helped snuff out any further attacks. Naoise Kennedy and Darcey Kelly tackled like demons and Anna Frizelle was keeping the Craigbane playmaker quiet. The midfield area of Aoife Bradley and Brenda Grant certainly excelled in the latter part of the second half and in attack Niamh Morrison, Caoimhe Hamill and Eve Lundy all contributed to a great team display. The half forwards got through a lot of work and it is very pleasing to see Anna Morrison and Leah Dollard contribute to the scoring returns.