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The Junior Girls Gaelic team, which has won through to the Final of the Erne Shield competition - View Full Size Image
The Junior Girls Gaelic team, which has won through to the Final of the Erne Shield competition

The Loreto College Girls’ Gaelic team entered unknown territory on Wednesday 16th May as they faced St Mary’s HS Downpatrick in the school’s first ever junior ladies’ football competition, the Erne Shield.  The unknown however does not appear to faze this talented group of girls as they take each challenge in their stride and become stronger after each game. 

From the throw in, Loreto had their best start to a game in the competition in terms of possession, work rate and end result.  Within 10 minutes Loreto were 4 goals up, with Megan Coyle and Clodagh Moore both firing in a brace each.  Downpatrick’s two goal attempts shortly after were thwarted by the fantastic Jesse McGilligan who not only saved the efforts, but managed to clear them to safety under serious pressure.  Mary Doran and Clodagh Moore then retorted by chipping over two neat points, Mary Doran floating her point over from an acute angle.  The scoring was not finished though, Eimear Maguire blasted a goal into the roof of the net after some excellent work by Erin McKeever just before half time.

Half time Score:  Loreto 5.2 - 0.2 St Mary’s Downpatrick   

The second half differed very much from the first as Loreto had to adopt a more defensive mentality as they played into a very stiff wind.  Nonetheless, the Loreto girls still had the majority of possession and score attempts.  Eimear Maguire fired over a point at the beginning of the half and then a neat goal after some hard work at the end of the half to ensure Loreto would progress to the Erne shield final where the unknown awaits.

Final score:  Loreto 6.3  -  0.3  St Mary’s HS Downpatrick

How they played: A reccurring theme in this competition is that it is extremely difficult to pick a player of the match, from not only the starting players, but the substitutes as well.  Jesse McGilligan stopped at least three certain goals during this particular game.  Jesse truly is cool and calmness personified.  The full back line of Emma Turner, Jodie Canning and Caitlin Kearney defended the goal brilliantly, making the St Mary’s forwards work really hard. Limiting them to only 3 scores is a result from this work rate.  The half back line of Brona McGonigle, Grace McIntyre and team captain Lucy O’Kane worked tirelessly back and forward making countless unselfish runs.  The midfield duo of Cara McLaughlin and Niamh McGarry dominated with their athletic ability and high fielding skills.  Half forwards Erin McKeever, Caitlin Rose Cassidy and Eimear Maguire caused countless problems for the St Mary’s defence.  Their movement and link up play was fantastic.  The guile of full forwards Clodagh Moore, Megan Coyle and Mary Doran created chaos for the St Mary’s backline in that first 15-minute period of the game.  They chased every lost cause and hounded every attempted clearance.  Substitutes Kara Kealey, Ciara McAlary, Colleen Heaney, Cara Mullan, Clodagh Calvert and Cara Kearney all made an instant impact when coming on, contributing to this solid win.

 Loreto Team:
 Jesse McGilligan , Megan Coyle, Niamh McGarry, Mary Doran, Jodie Canning, Caitlin Kearney, Grace McIntyre, Clodagh Calvert, Ciara McAlary, Emma Turner,  Eimear Maguire, Brona McGonigle, Caitlin Rose Cassidy, Lucy O’Kane (Captain), Cara Mullan, Cara McLaughlin, Clodagh Moore, Eabh McIlvenny, Cara Kearney, Erin McLaughlin, Colleen Heaney, Erin McKeever, Kara Kealey.                     

The team members and their coach, Mr Eddie McCloskey, were congratulated on this wonderful success by Mr Michael James, Principal of Loreto College, and wished well for the final of the competition.