Avonmore FC shock Newtown United page 52
BOOSTED by an early goal, Arklow Geraldines-Ballymoney cantered to an emphatic 17 points win over Kilcoole in the final of the county girls’ Under-14 ‘C’ Football Championship, at Bray Emmets on Saturday afternoon.
Only three minutes had elapsed on the clock when powerful midfielder Doireann Killoran left a number of opposing players trailing in her wake before driving the ball past goalkeeper Sophie Lacey to provide her side with a tonic start.
To their credit, Kilcoole hit back with a goal and a point inside four minutes, Kate Wilson raising the green flag and Julia Norman also getting on the scoresheet, but that was as good as it got for the coastal outfit in the opening half.
And with pacey and skilful centre-forward Deirbhile Gavigan proving a constant threat with her individual sorties and willingness to unselfishly offload the ball, the Kilcoole defence was subjected to regular pressure despite the fact that their wing-back Maeve Butler was often seen to telling effect.
On nine minutes, Gavigan set up full-forward Aoife Dunning for a goal, and midway through the half he set up corner-forward Isabella Fitzgerald for the Arklow side’s third goal, and almost immediately Gavigan underlined her own finishing powers when helping goalkeeper Lacey helpless.
This was followed by Dunning and Killoran adding a point apiece to leave the South County side very much in the driving seat, holding a 4-2 to 1-1 lead at the half-time break.
On the restart, Kilcoole’s ability to strengthen their challenge was helped by the introduction of sub Ruby Parker. Though on the diminutive side, the replacement impressed with her ability to win possession, and it was suprising that she didn’t feature in the starting line-up.
But she failed to receive adequate support, and though Kilcoole added 2-1 to their first half tally, the goals coming from Dowd, from a free and from play, there was never any doubt but that the silverware was heading to the side jointly managed by Jess Hurley and Emer Kelly.
Just three minutes into the second half, sub Niamh Kavanagh shot AGB’s fifth goal, and Gavigan, from a penalty, and Dunning followed with similar strikes on 45 and 57 minutes.
Afterwards, Hurley said: ‘It’s always been very close between ourselves and Kilcoole, and we were expecting another very tough match today.
‘Myself and Emer just took over the team at the start of the year, and the girls have come on a huge amount since then and we were really delighted with their performance today.
“We got off to a good start with the goal so early on, and we were happy position at half-time when we were 10 points up.
‘At half-time, we got to work on a few parts of our play which we hadn’t been happy with in the first half, and just like the first half we got a goal very early on in the second half.
‘But even though we had a good lead in the second half, we know we could never afford to relax as we always felt that Kilcoole could possibly make things very difficult for us. But thankfully that not prove to be the case on this occasion.
‘Winning the title is additionally sweet as all the team are still under-13, so they’ll all be eligible for the under-14 grade once again next year.’
Scorers – AGB: Aoife Dunning 2-1, Deirbhile Gilligan 2-0 (1-0 pen), Isabella Fitzgerald 1-2 (1f), Doireann Killoran 1-1, Niamh Kavanagh 1-0, Cliona Driver, Eva Walker, Farren Wolohan 0-1 each.
Kilcoole: Sophie Dowd 2-1 (1-0 f, 0-1 pen), Kate Wilson 1-0, Julia Norman 0-1.
AGB celebrate their ‘C’ championship victory over Kilcoole in Bray last weekend.
AGB’s Doireann Killoran is presented with the cup by Terry Canavan.