Premier League Cup Final

By · September 27, 2011 · Filed in Match Report
Mid Ulster capped off their season with an appearance in the Final of the Davisons Frudles Premier League Cup on Monday night at Solitude.  Their opponents Glentoran Belfast Utd already had the Premier League Trophy under their belts and having been unbeaten all season it was no surprise that they went into the game as clear favourites to pick up more silverware. The night nearly got off to a bad start for the Mid Ulster girls when Hayley O’Donnell got stuck in the turnstiles but thankfully she managed to extract herself to line out with the rest of her team mates. In the early exchanges there a few nervy moments for the Mid Ulster girls but Jacqueline Burns calmed things down showing great reactions to tip an early Glentoran shot over the bar and some good hands to tidy up a number of dangerous crosses into the box.   Good defensive work from Claire and Ruth Brown helped ease the pressure and as the half wore on Mid Ulster came more into the game.  Hayley O’Donnell in midfield was starting to break up the Glentoran attacks and was able to set Mid Ulster off on their way with a ball through to Stacey Lee who teed up Adele Gillespie who got her shot away and was unlucky to see it drift wide.  More good work from Hayley O’Donnell winning the ball in midfield for Mid Ulster and a flowing move including Claire Rooney, Mykylea Stewart and Lisa Richardson saw Mid Ulster win a corner.  The experienced Glentoran back line cleared the danger and went straight on the attack ending up with a shot just wide.   More Glentoran pressure saw Jacqueline Burns pull off another fine stop pushing the ball round the post for a corner to Glentoran.  Brooke Jordan didn’t look as silly as she feared when she blocked the inswinging corner and sent the Mid Ulster girls on the attack.  Once again Adele Gillespie got herself into a shooting position but the ball drifted wide and out of play.  Glentoran were threatening mainly down the right side of midfield and some good inter passing saw Glentoran burst into the box.  As the Mid Ulster fans held their breath Claire Rooney was on hand to execute a perfectly timed tackle to clear the danger.   The danger was not cleared and Jacqueline Burns again had to be on her toes to make a good save from a Cara Milligan shot.  A crunching tackle including Claire Rooney saw the first real break in the action but thankfully for Mid Ulster Claire was able to return to the fray after some treatment.    The match was played in good spirits and the nearest thing to argy bargy was when Lisa Richardsons opposite number decided she wanted a piggy back up the field.  A free kick was awarded to Mid Ulster which Lisa took and Adele Gillespies flick on released Stacey Lee for a shot which was just off target.  As the half drew to a close Glentoran were once again on the attack but Claire Rooney headed the ball back to her keeper to send both teams in at the break scoreless. Mid Ulster started the second half well maintaining possession and playing out from the back but the Glentoran back line remained disciplined and organised to soak up the early pressure.  Glentoran then pressed themselves winning a free kick just outside the box on the left handside.  A good delivery was well taken by Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal as she came through a busy penalty area to relieve the pressure on her defence.  The game was really beginning to open up and as play raced from end to end the Mid Ulster defence had to be on their toes.  Marshalled by the calm Claire Brown there were some great covering tackles notably by Mykylea Stewart and Claire Rooney to stop the Glentoran attack in its tracks.  A clash of heads between Hayley (Vampire) O’Donnell and her opposite number gave the spectators’ time to draw their breath before the action resumed with both players ok to continue.  The Glens no 1 Alice Harkness had to be on her toes as Adele Gillespie nearly latched onto a Simone Magill through ball whilst at the other end a Kelly Baillie Cross was headed just over by Catherine O’Hagan.  For the neutral the game was a spectacle, a great advertisement for womens football but for both benches it was tension all the way.  Simone Magill showed great tenacity to win a corner but the Mid Ulster girls couldn’t make anything of it and when the ball broke to the other end of the ground Jacqueline Burns was once again called on to tidy things up for the Mid Ulster girls.  As normal time drew to a close the Mid Ulster defence had to once again show its resolve as Glentoran tried to finish the game off in normal time.  Twin defensive work from the Browns and clearances from Mykylea Stewart and Claire Rooney thwarted Glentoran time and time again.  In perhaps the final move of the 90 Catherine O’Hagan must have thought she had made the breakthrough only to see Jacqueline Burns pull off another amazing save to end the game Mid Ulster 0  Glentoran Belfast Utd 0. 20 minutes of extra time followed and once again Mid Ulster started the first period brightly.  A great ball from Adele Gillespie gave Simone Magill a half chance on goal and as Simone pulled the trigger Alice Harkness in the Glentoran goal pulled off a great save to keep the game scoreless.   Before the supporters could draw their breath Glentoran went on the counter attack and a rare poor clearance from Mid Ulster left Jacqueline Burns stranded with two Glentoran players bearing down.  An unselfishly squared ball saw Gail Macklin through for a tap in to give Glentoran the advantage with 10 minutes to play.  Mid Ulster made a substitution with Chloe Barnes replacing Stacey Lee as coach Noel Mitchell introduced fresh legs to try to restore parity.  Glentoran had other ideas and at the start of the second period of extra time they effectively wrapped the game up.  A rasping shot was parried well by Jacqueline Burns but she could do nothing when Catherine O’Hagan was quickest to react to the rebound to head the ball goalwards and make the score 2-0.  Mid Ulster still didn’t give up and they pressed once again for a way back into the game.  The commitment from both sides was evident and a crunching tackle involving Chloe Barnes and her opposite number saw both players requiring treatment.  Thankfully both were able to continue and as time ran out Emma McFarland and Louise Murphy replaced Mykylea Stewart and Brooke Jordan respectively.  As the final whistle blew the crowd showed their appreciation to both teams for an enthralling game of football. The Mid Ulster girls whilst disappointed with the result could certainly hold their heads high having pushed Glentoran in their hardest game of the season thus far.  To soften the blow the Mid Ulster girls were delighted to see Claire “Eyes” Brown pick up the Player of the match award. Mid Ulster Team: J Burns, C Brown, C Rooney, R Brown, M Stewart ( E McFarland), H O’Donnell, L Richardson, B Jordan (L Murphy), S Lee (C Barnes), A Gillespie, S Magill. Subs not used:  J Overend, C Charles. The players and committee members of Mid Ulster would like to thank all our supporters who travelled to the game and those who couldnt make it on the night.  The good wishes, horn blowing, flag waving and wig wearing were all very much appreciated.