Ulster Ladies’ Under 16 football final
Wednesday 12pm in Owenbeg
St Killian’s Garron Tower v Coláiste Ailigh Letterkenny
A new name will be written on an Ulster Schools’ Ladies’ trophy after Wednesday’s Under 16 final in Owenbeg with both Coláiste Ailigh Letterkenny and St Killian’s Garron Tower making their debut in a final.
The Donegal Gaelscoil has participated in football for most of its 16 years in existence but this particular group has developed well through the course of the competition.
While they are drawn from five feeder clubs, the team dynamic comes from the St Eunan’s (winners of the Donegal under 16 Division 1 in 2016) and Termon (winners of Division 2).
Neighbours Mulroy College held them to a 2-12 to 3-9 draw in an early round, but they won their other games and then a 3-10 to 0-4 quarter-final win over a fancied Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon side flagged them up as a team to watch.
Last Monday, after a tight enough opening half, they hit goals early in the second half to open up a gap on Coláiste Feirste in the semi-final, eventually winning by 8-2 to 2-6.
There are plenty of experienced players in the team; Seanan Nic Lochlainn and Áine Ní Fhlannagáin were in the Donegal minor squad last year, while Sinéad Nic An tSaoir, Shannon Ní Chuinneagáin and Laoise Ní Riain have also represented their county at lower age-groups.
By contrast this is St Killian’s first foray into football. Already well established in camogie and netball, almost all the girls have represented their school in either of the other sports, while eight of the team that started last week’s 3-16 to 5-3 semi-final win over Loreto Cavan helped Con Magee’s Glenravel to a clean sweep of Antrim under 14 titles in 2014.
Glenravel is the only feeder club and indeed some of the girls have had their first experience of football with this school team.
They have had a pretty impressive journey through the competition running up high scores along the way and the semi-final last week was their first real test.
At half-time the scores were even at 2-4 to 3-1, but the Tower girls opted to go for points in the second half and that tactic helped them pull away from the opposition.
However the concession of five goals will be a worry to the team management as they head into the final against a team that have generally found goals easy to score.
Nevertheless St Killian’s will hope that Jaime Woulahan and Chloe McAuley hold that defence together while midfielders Clare Emerson and Niamh Donnelly carry enough ball through to the forwards.
The half-forward line carries the biggest scoring threat, accounting for 1-10 in the semi-final, but they probably will need to hit Colaiste Ailigh with a couple of goals at some stage if they hope to pick up the trophy.
St Killian’s panel : Orla Donnelly, Alishia McPeake, Jamie Woulahan, Hannah Magill, Chloe Mitchell, Chloe McAuley, Maria McKenna, Clare Emerson, Niamh Donnelly, Maeve Gillan, Hannah McCann, Niamh McKay, Cassie McQuillan, Shauna McDonnell, Gemma Black, Aoife Kelly, Caoimhe O’Hara, Caoimhe McKeown, Méabh McIlwaine, Aisling Kerr, Orla McKenna, Roisin Hardin, Catherine Robin, Callie McHugh, Emmi Falls, Caitlin O’Boyle, Orlaith Fyfe
Colaiste Ailigh panel : Cathaoiríon Ní Shibhleáin, Caoimhe Ní Dhochartaigh, Maolíosa Ní Thuathail, Courtney Nic Giolla Chomhaill, Soracha Ní Threartaigh, Gráinne Ní Earcáin, Sinéad Nic An tSaoir, Áine Ní Fhlannagáin, Séanan Nic Lochlainn capt, Jessica Nic An Bhreithiún-Ní Ghal, Shannon Ní Chuinnegáin, Annie Nic Giolla Iontóg, Laoise Ní Riain, Aoife Ní Chearáin, Shauna Ní Uiginn, Aoibhe Ní Bhraonáin, Niamh Ní Annagáin, Orla Ní Chearáin, Laura Ní Mhonghail, Kym Nic Craith, Casey Ní Bharéid, Aoife Ní Chonchúir, Saerlaith Ní Ghallchóir, Kayleigh Ní Ghallachóir-Ní Chionnaithe, Aoibhe Ní Bhraonáin, Aoibhinn Ní Ghallchóir