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Extra-time heart break for brave under 14 ladies

Under 14 ladies Division 1 Shield Final
15 August 2020
Aodh Ruadh 4-14
Ardara 6-9
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

For the second time in a week Aodh Ruadh came out on the wrong end of a one point scoreline after a titanic struggle. This time it was the under 14 ladies who came up short in their Division 1 Shield Final against Ardara on Saturday morning. Level at half-time, level at full time, and with just a point between them at the break in extra-time, it was only an Ardara point seconds from the final whistle which separated these sides after a phenomenal rollercoaster of game of football.

Played in energy sapping heat in Father Tierney Park, the Shamettes had the aid of the steady breeze in the first half.

They weren't long making use of it, Lauren Foy surging through to hit the net. With six minutes played the lively Hannah McGuinness was fouled and Jodie Meade converted the kick with a minimum of fuss. A minute later Meade added another free, but Ardara showed they were dangerous up the other end when only a superb reaction save from Cádhla Dolan prevented a goal for the visitors.

On nine minutes Jodie Meade was fouled in front of the posts and converted the dead ball herself. Points from the strong running Cara O'Loughlin and Pearl McHugh then gave Aodh Ruadh a 1-5 to no score lead by the 12th minute.

Ardara finally got off the mark 14 minutes in with a free, and they then hit the net a minute later to give themselves something to take into the first water break.

The second quarter was strongly dominated by Ardara, they hit a goal straight after the resumption, but that was quickly answered by a fine strike to the net from Hannah McGuinness. However the visitors added a further 1-1 before a Jodie Meade free broke their run of scores. Two minutes from the interval Ardara struck for their third goal and the sides turned around level, Aodh Ruadh 2-6 Ardara 3-3.

It looked like the impetus was with the girls in green and gold at this stage, and they underlined that thinking by hitting their fourth goal seconds after the throw in.

The Ernesiders really dug deep though, and showed all their character. A goal by Hannah McGuinness kept Aodh Ruadh in contact and then a goal from Cara O'Loughlin along with points from Jodie Meade, Pearl McHugh and Ava Doherty ensured that the sides remained deadlocked as Mark Brown signalled for full time. It Aodh Ruadh 4-12 Ardara 6-6 and now the girls had go at it again in the punishing humidity for another two ten minutes halves in a bid to decide a winner.

Again Aodh Ruadh made the early running and two Jodie Meade frees gave Ballyshannon the edge. However, Ardara managed to nick what was to prove a crucial point before the sides switched around. The game was all square three minutes into the second half of extra-time, and over what remained of the game both teams gave absolutely everything they had. Chances were passed up by both sides, but in the end, with time running out, it was Ardara who sent over the winner. It was a gutting blow for the Aodh Ruadh girls who tried their level best to bring the game back to parity, but the clock ran out and Ardara edged the verdict by the bare minimum.

A very tough defeat for the Aodh Ruadh team and management to take after such a strong and gutsy display. However, they can take real solace in the fact that they have marked themselves out as one of the top teams in Donegal at this grade, and this group of players certainly have bigger days ahead of them. The Aodh Ruadh girls wore their hearts on their sleeves and there were great displays right across the pitch, especially considering the conditions. Ciara Larkin was outstanding in the half back line, with Cara O'Loughlin similarly magnificent in midfield, while up front Hannah McGuinness posed constant problems for Ardara and Jodie Meade had a heavy impact on the score board. None of the Aodh Ruadh players deserved to be on the losing side and played this decider in a great spirit, but, sadly, sometimes that's the way football goes.

This brings the curtain down on the under 14 season and we thank Sandra Sheerin, Anton McGloin and Thomas O'Brien for all their dedicated work with this group of girls this year and having brought them on so much this season.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Cádhla Dolan; Emer McDevitt, Fódhla Sheerin, Orlaith Toland; Orlaith O'Neill, Ciara Larkin, Jessica O'Mahoney; Cara O'Loughlin, Lauren Foy; Dairín Sweeny, Jodie Meade, Andrea Moore; Ava Doherty, Hannah McGuinness, Pearl McHugh.
Subs: Ellie Brennan, Leah Caldwell, Roise Conlon, Ava Duncan, Abbie Gallagher, Ellie Hoey, Niamh McNulty, Aisling Patton, Aoife Travers.
Referee: Mark Dorrian (Saint Naul's).

Last modified: Sunday, 16 August 2020 at 2:17pm