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SFAI Subway  U12 Girls  National  Inter – League Shield Final at Charleville AFC’s Grounds at Tim Fitzgerald Park

ABBY AND NATALIA TO THE FORE AS CARLOW CLAIM SFAI UNDER 12 SHIELD SUCCESS

CARLOW JUVENILE LEAGUE………1 INISHOWEN LEAGUE…………………0 (aet)

Report by Bob Howson.

Carlow & District Juveniles League contested their third National Final, in as many weeks, having won one and lost one and our youngest Academy were hoping that they could improve on their U14 Girls performance in the Gaynor Cup and come away with yet another win against their opponents –  Innishowen, in what was likely to prove a huge task.

The game kicked off on a cold, breezy day, with squally showers that turned into persistent rain and all the players were affected by the inclement weather – which certainly wasn’t expected at the end of June, but both sets of girls, set about their task and didn’t shirk their duty.

Innishowen were the first to show when Shannon Price  latched on to a through ball, but she was pulled up for offside and then Carlow’s Eimear Bolger got on to a good through ball, but was crowded out and the attack came to nothing.

Some good interplay between Luana Whelan and Ciara Milton set  Ciara free and on goal, but she shot wide and the chance had gone abegging.

Innishowen’s Amber Loughrey made a good run, but she was stopped, in her tracks by some strong Carlow defending.

Another good run and cross by Ciara Milton was blocked by the Innishowen defence and then they won a succession of throw – ins, as they gradually worked their way down the touchline, but again they came to nothing.

A good tackle by Carlow’s Ella Doyle dispossessed Ellen McLoughlin as she bore down on the Carlow goal and it was very tight as both teams tried to break the deadlock.

Innishowen won a couple of corners in succession, but good defending by Carlow kept them out and then Carlow’s Ciara Milton put in a good cross that was well saved by Abbie McNamee and the Referee blew the half-time whistle, with both sides in a 0 – 0 stalemate, with every thing to play for in the second half.

The second half opened with a a good through ball to Ciara Milton by Luana Whelan, but she was well marshalled by the Innishowen defenders and then Innishowen won a succession of free-kicks, but they were all well defended by Carlow and even at this early part of the game, chances had been few and far between.

Innishowen’s  Adah Gill was proving to be quite prominent, with some driving runs through the Carlow defence, but some strong defending by the duo of Sophia McLoughlin and Ellie McDaid were ensuring that she didn’t make any headway and they were ably assisted by Keelie Doyle, who also backed up her forwards, with some strong runs into the Innishowen left side.

CARLOW CHAMPIONS: Abby Keppel (goalkeeper) and Ciara Milton (captain)

The diminutive Laura Malone who had been introduced by Carlow, as a substitute was starting to show her dribbling skills  and was showing her full range of capabilities and the Innishowen defenders were having a hard time in containing her, as she became more prominent.

Carlow put a lot of pressure on Innishowen with Ciara Milton, Laura Malone, Natalia Deka and Una McFarland all prominent and Innishowen were struggling to contain them at this juncture, but Innishowen were resilient and defending manfully.

Then as the final whistle was about to be blown, Carlow’s keeper Abby Keppel was brought into play, as Adah Gill made a break through the centre of Carlow’s defence and outstripped the Carlow defenders, as she bore down on goal, but Abby was quickly out of her goal to take the ball off her toes and grab it at the second attempt and ensure that the game would go to five minutes each way extra time.

The final whistle blew and this enthralling game went to extra time.

Carlow won a corner that was taken by Ciara Milton and Abbie McNamee could only palm the ball out and it went straight to Natalia Deka, who promptly ‘popped’ the ball into the corner of the net from point blank range to give Carlow that vital lead.

Innishowen threw everything at Carlow in the second period of extra time, but Carlow defending desparately and manfully and saw out the second period and the final whistle came and Carlow had done it and it was scene of unbridled joy, as the Girls celebrated their victory, whilst it was a different story for Innishowen, as they were completely crestfallen.

Best for Innishowen were Sophia McLaughlin, Ellie McDaid, Adah Gill and Carly McCorgan, whilst standing out for Carlow were Natalia Deka, Ciara Milton, Una McParland and Luana Whelan.

The Girls were presented with their trophy and the celebrations went on for a while and Carlow are now showing themselves to be a force to be reckoned with nationally.

The Girls Coaches – who comprised Alan Smith, John Whelan, Stephen  Kinsella and Armour  McFarland all deserve fulsome praise for their efforts and the CDJL Management Committee for the backing that they have all their Academy teams.

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