Another week of mixed fortunes for the girls

By · August 25, 2013 · Filed in Match Report
Another busy week for the Mid Ulster girls began with a Coca Cola cup Semi Final against Crusaders Strikers at Moyola Park on Monday night.  The Mid Ulster girls went into the game full of confidence after last weeks good performance against league champions Glentoran.  Crusaders however were aiming to make up for relinquishing their league title and the early exchanges saw a number of chances created by the Belfast side.  Jessica Doran had an early shot just off target and shortly afterwards Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal had to get down well at the right post to stop Clare Carsons effort from opening the scoring.  A slight reprieve from the pressure came for  Mid Ulster when good persistence from Sarah Connolly won the first corner of the game.  The effort came to nothing and Crusaders broke and drew another fine save from Jacqueline Burns this time to her left.  The game was now end to end with Mid Ulster pressing well through Sarah Connolly and Claire Brown but moments later Crusaders were back on the attack winning a free on the edge of the box.  The Mid Ulster wall stood firm and Jacqueline Burns once again gathered the second shot confidently.  Having survived this early pressure Mid Ulster started to get into the game and Adele Gillespies through ball for Sarah Connolly was just over hit.  Another attack from the front pairing saw Adele Gillespie win a corner at the near post after Connollys cross.  All the time Crusaders were a threat and Lisa Richardson had to use all her experience to tidy up the counter from this attack.  In the midfield area Hayley O’Donnell linked up well with Claire Brown to win another Mid Ulster corner and from the clearance Chloe McCarrons shot had Angela Platt in the Crusaders goal scrambling to gather.  Claire Brown was having a lot of joy down the right wing but unfortunately for Mid Ulster they just couldn’t seem to find the final ball.  Crusaders were always a threat in possession and Jacqueline Burns had to be off her line smartly on two occasions to keep the game goal less.  Aoife Curran and Emma McFarland were being kept busy and a fair but physical encounter saw neither team giving an inch.  Perhaps Mid Ulsters best chance of the half came after a Crusaders corner was picked up by Claire Rooney who delivered a great through ball to the tireless Sarah Connolly.  With a defender bearing down on her and the keeper rushing out Sarah placed the ball inches wide and still the stalemate remained until the half time whistle.
Don't cry over it!

Don't cry over it!

The second half saw a spirited start from Mid Ulster and an early free kick 30 yards out was on target but didn’t trouble the Crusaders no 1.  Lisa Richardson and Samantha Kelly were linking up well on the left wing but still the finishing touch was evading the Mid Ulster girls.  Crusaders upped their game once again and stout defensive work was required with Captain Claire Rooney leading by example and even left winger Samantha Kelly showing how to make a tackle.  A number of Crusaders chances came and went with Danielle McDowell and Lindsay Patterson seeing efforts go wide.  On 73minutes Mid Ulster made a double substitution with Ruth Bell replacing Claire Brown and Stacey Lee on for Samantha Kelly.  Ruth Bell got involved from the off winning a free kick but once again no clear opportunity came about.  As normal time came to a close Crusaders looked to sneak a late winner but Jacqueline Burns maintained her fine form right to the full time whistle with yet another fine clearance. So with the teams even after 90 the game went into extra time.  Crusaders made a change and the first period got under way.  After a great run by Chloe McCarron Crusaders retained possession and went on the break.  Crusaders  substitute  Amy Burden had a super strike tipped onto the bar by Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal but  quickest to the rebound was her team mate to open the scoring. As the sides changed ends Mid Ulster made their final substitution bringing on Hannah Turkington for Emma McFarland as they went all out to get back into the game.  With only 3 at the back Claire Rooney was called on to clear as the Mid Ulster girls tried to use Hannah Turkingtons pace to create an opportunity.  Crusaders held firm and took advantage of the space being left with Amy Burden breaking and finishing well from a tight angle to all but wrap the game up for Crusaders.  Mid Ulster battled bravely to the final whistle but it was yet another semi final disappointment for the Mid Ulster girls. Team: J Burns, E McFarland (H Turkington), C Rooney, A Curran, L Richardson, C Brown (R Bell), S Kelly (S Lee), H O’Donnell, C McCarron, S Connolly, A Gillespie.  Subs not used L Sommerville, C Bowden, K Donnell. One consolation was that Jacqueline Burns was deservedly awarded player of the match.
Jacqueline Burns receiving her player of the match award from Roy Cathcart IFA

Jacqueline Burns receiving her player of the match award from Roy Cathcart IFA

It was back to league action on Wednesday night at the Mid Ulster sports arena as Mid Ulster hosted Newbridge Predators.  Although technically neither team had anything to play for there was always the opportunity for Mid Ulster to enhance their final league position.  Predators started the better of the two teams with Jacqueline Burns having to clear an early corner before the Mid Ulster girls settled into their stride.  Hayley O’Donnell started the ball rolling with a great through ball to Samantha Kelly who was narrowly given offside.  This was the catalyst for some Mid Ulster pressure with Lisa Richardson playing in Sarah Connolly whose shot was well blocked by the Predators back line.  Hayley O’Donnell then provided opportunities for Lisa Richardson and Samantha Kelly but good goalkeeping and defensive play kept the game goalless.  Even with all the Mid Ulster pressure Predators were still a threat on the break and Jacqueline Burns had to make a good save from a Predators strike on 11minutes.  Sarah Connolly was working hard up front and great persistence saw her nearly sneak a goal from a ball that really should have been dealt with by the Preds number 1.  On 19 minutes Samantha Kelly hit the bar and minutes later she did exactly the same thing again.  Thankfully this time the ball dropped to Sarah Connolly who turned well and opened the scoring with 21 minutes on the clock.  This gave Mid Ulster a boost and further pressure followed with Ruth Bell getting involved and Adele Gillespie just being beaten to the ball by the Predators keeper.  Sarah Connolly was chasing everything and once again her persistence was rewarded on 26 minutes when she charged down a clearance straight into the Predators goal doubling her tally for the night.  Predators responded well with an opportunity of their own as Megan Wetherall again drew a decent save from Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal.  After this scare Sarah Connolly began to terrorise the Predators back line once more and a good delivery from a Lisa Richardson free saw Sarah spin into the space and finish well to make it 3-0 with 31 played. Yet another hat trick for the prolific Miss Connolly.   Mid Ulster were rampant with Chloe McCarrons free going just wide and Samantha Kelly showing great strength and winning a number of frees on the left wing.  As the half drew to a close Preds hit back with a great shot from distance from Shannon Gratton sneaking under the bar leaving the half time score Mid Ulster 3 Predators 1. Mid Ulster stated the second half well with Sarah Connolly going close once more after good work from Adele Gillespie.  Next up it was Chloe McCarron provider and Adele Gillespie had the chance but once again there was no finishing touch.  With Predators living dangerously Mid Ulster made their first substitution as Chloe Bowden replaced Ruth Bell.  Having weathered the early storm Predators had a snap shot of their own and Jaqueline Burns showed good hands to gather.  A further substitution saw Samantha Kelly replaced after a sore challenge and Stacy Lee took over the left wing position.  With changes made Mid Ulster went on the attack again, Emma McFarland the provider this time with a good run and ball to Chloe McCarron who finished well to make it 4-1.   The final Mid Ulster substitution saw Hannah Turkington replace Aoife Curran and the action resumed once more.  With 50 minutes played Mid Ulster extended their lead once more as Adele Gillespie followed up Sarah Connollys saved shot to make the score 5-1.  Predators were not deterred and on a rare foray forward Shannon Gratten struck again to reduce the deficit and make the score 5-2.  Mid Ulster responded well and once again Sarah Connollys persistence saw her grab her fourth goal to make it 6-2 to the home team.  Once again however Predators responded and another super strike from distance saw Billie Simpson make the score 6-3.  Chloe Bowden was getting stuck into her defensive role and was having a great tussle with her opposite number.  With 83 minutes on the clock Stacey Lee got on the scoresheet with Sarah Connolly the provider this time.  As the clock ran down Mid Ulster weren’t finished and Hayley O’Donnell played Sarah Connolly through but the Predators substitute keeper pulled off a great save.  Next up was Hannah Turkington with a super run down the right wing and shot across goals to make the score 8-3.  Finishing as she had started Sarah Connolly was on target once again and with 90 minutes on the clock she made the final score Mid Ulster 9 Predators 3. Team: J Burns, C Rooney, A Curran (H Turkington), E McFarland, L Richardson, R Brown (C Bowden), S Kelly (S Lee), H O’Donnell, C McCarron, A Gillespie, S Connolly. Subs not used L Sommerville As the season draws to a close the club would like to wish Hayley O’Donnell all the best as she heads back to university in England after a great season with the Mid Ulster girls. Good wishes also to Goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns and centre half Aoife Curran as they head to Malta with the N.Ireland U19 squad this Tuesday.