MUSA Cookstown Thursday 26th January at 11:30.
There’s a strong Antrim presence on the St. Mary’s Magherafelt side who make their bid for Ulster glory in Cookstown on Thursday. Moneyglass’ Kate Higgins captains the Convent side and is joined by Leah Stewart, Aoife Kelly, Sarah O’Neill, Sally Scullion, Cara McKeefry, and Cara McCann.
This will be St. Mary’s third Ulster Final in two weeks. This time it is the turn of the Ladies Under-20 football team who will face Loreto College Omagh at the MUSA, Cookstown.
Captained by Kate Higgins, the girls are determined to go one step further this year after suffering defeat to Coláiste Oirial in last year’s final. Captain Higgins stated, “I think our defeat last year will drive us to success in 2023. Miss Hughes and Mr McCauley have worked hard with us at training and the team spirit is excellent. The Under 16 girls have really pushed the older girls on at training and everyone in school is looking forward to the final on Thursday.
The St. Mary’s girls got off to a flying start in their under 20 Ulster campaign with three wins from three in the group stages against St Pius X College Magherafelt, Holy Trinity College, Cookstown and St. Ciaran’s, Ballygawley. Throughout the group stage there was a common theme, teams found it difficult to deal with the ferocity of the SMG attack. With Aoife Kelly and Caoileann Quinn’s attacking runs were constantly rewarded by the excellent movement of Eva Small in the full forward line who proved a thorn in opposing teams’ defensive sides.
The St Mary’s girls accumulated substantial scores with sharp shooters, Sarah Devlin, Amy-Rose Mulligan and Niamh O’Donnell on target. With the help of Leah Stewart and Cara Mckeefery the girls racked up impressive score lines to cement their place in the quarter final.
Loreto Letterkenny were waiting in the quarter- final and on a cold, wet day in Owenbeg the SMG girls picked up where they left off from the group stages. Again, Small and O’Donnell caused problems in the full forward line and strong defensive performances from Sarah O’Neill and Seannagh McLarnon ensured that St Mary’s came out on top.
In the Semi-Final the SMG girls travelled to MUSA to face a determined Sacred Heart Newry team from Down who posed the girls biggest challenge to date. Little separated the girls in the first half and an early goal from Newry made it clear that the Magherafelt girls would not get everything their own way. Against a strong breeze in Cookstown, the girls managed to gain a two-point lead at half time. St Mary’s came out determined at the start of the second half, however, it wasn’t until that last 10 minutes where a fantastic team move ended with a Sarah O’Neill’s goal that cemented a place in the final for the second year in a row.
The journey for SMG to the Ulster Final has been down to a real team drive, a strong bench and the great work of the management team plus the passion to lift the Ulster title in 2023.
L to R Leah Stewart Moneyglass , Sally Scullion Cargin, Aoife Kelly Moneyglass , Sarah O’Neill Moneyglass , Cara McKeefry Moneyglass and Cara McCann Creggan