LGFA U14 Football Championship. Division 8 – Play off. Simonstown Gaels 2-05 Skryne 6-03

Skryne power into semi-final 

Simonstown Gaels 2-05 Skryne 6-03

LGFA U14 Football Championship. Division 8 – Playoff

With all three teams in Group B finishing on the same points after the group stages, a three way playoff was needed to decide who goes through to the semi-finals of the Division 8 championship. Skryne had been victorious over Navan O’Mahonys in Round 1, while Navan O’Mahonys beat Simonstown Gaels in Round 2. Round 3 saw Simonstown Gaels edge out Skryne by a point in Skryne and so the playoff beckoned. The winners of today’s game would earn a semi-final place, while the losers would go on to a second playoff game against Navan O’Mahonys. 
Skryne had been disappointed with their performance last time out against Simonstown and were eager to put things right in today’s rematch. Things got off to a bad start though as Simonstown worked the ball down the field immediately from the throw in. The Simonstown forward got three bites of the cherry as her first effort was blocked away by the Skryne defence as was her second. However it was third time lucky for her as she managed to slide the ball into the bottom right corner for a goal with less than a minute on the clock. After this early scare, Skryne bossed the remainder of the opening quarter and got a hat-trick of goals in a three minute spell from the sixth to the ninth minute. The first came from Skryne pressure on the Simonstown goalkeeper. The keeper had done well to deny Skryne a goal and had cleared the ball out of the penalty area. Liz Fitzpatrick picked up the clearance and blasted the ball to the net from 20 yards out. The keeper did manage to get a hand to the ball but the power of the shot carried the ball past her. Grace Hollywood was next to find the net when she managed to find space behind the full-back and she slid the ball past the advancing keeper. It was Grace again for number three when Liz Fitzpatrick hit another shot which came off the crossbar and landed in front of Grace who finished to the net. Skryne lead by 3-00 to 1-00 at the first waterbreak.
Simonstown had the better of the play in the third quarter but were finding the Skryne defensive unit of Hannah Clarke, Isabella Meharg, Isabella Reuter, Roisín Reeves, Ailbhe Lynch and Claire Cassidy very hard to break down as attack after attack was snuffed out. The Simonstown forwards hit  two point in a row with less than five minutes left in the half, but a Rachel O’Dowd free for Skryne ensured the North Navan team were kept at arms length as the half-time whistle sounded. Half-time score: Simonstown Gaels 1-02, Skryne 3-01

Skryne stretched their lead inside the opening minute of the second half, when Ellie Kate McDonnell took a free which found Rachel O’Dowd on the right hand side of the Simonstown penalty area. Rachel hit a lovely shot into the far corner of the Simonstown net for Skryne’s fourth goal. A minute later Skryne won a line ball on the right hand side. Lauren Meharg stepped up to take the line ball and spotted Rachel O’Dowd making another run into space. She sent the ball into Rachel’s hands and she fired over the bar from a narrow angle close to the endline. Simonstown hit back four minutes later with a goal of their own. They added a point a minute later to further reduce the deficit. Any hopes of a comeback were put to bed when Liz Fitzpatrick found Lauren Meharg in the Simonstown penalty area. Lauren’s shot was saved by the keeper, but Rachel O’Dowd was on hand to bag her second goal of the game. Skryne stretched their lead to nine points before the final water break with another point from Rachel O’Dowd. 

The work rate from the Skryne girls was immense, with captain Ellie Kate McDonnell leading the charge and while some of the forwards didn’t get on the scoresheet today, their contribution to this win cannot be underestimated as they hunted the ball all throughout the game and won possession that was vital in ensuring Skryne got the scores they needed to secure victory. Simonstown got no easy ball in this game.

Simonstown to their credit never gave up and they pushed forward in the last quarter in search of scores. They added two more points to their tally, but Rachel O’Dowd struck her third goal in injury time, when she ran from midfield and sent a fine shot to the left of the keeper to put the icing on the cake for Skryne.

Skryne now move on to a semi-final spot and on this form, will be a tough proposition for any opponent.

Team: Meabh Lynch, Ellie Kate McDonnell(C), Cara Mahon, Ellen Hogan, Emma Dardis, Isabella Meharg, Grace Hollywood(2-00), Rachel O’Dowd(3-03, 1f), Hannah Clarke, Ailbhe Lynch, Roísín Reeves, Claire Cassidy, Isabella Reuter, Harriet Hayes, Lauren Meharg, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick(1-00), Megan O’Brien



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