Saturday, January 6 2018 (Derryleigh Park)
Scorers: Abbie Lenihan & Ava Shinners
A cold, slightly breezy but blue skied morning was the setting for this Saturday’s much anticipated derby fixture between the Newport and Birdhill U15 girls.
Derby matches are always emotionally charged and this fixture was to be no different. The Newport squad had their work cut out for them facing this experienced Birdhill side.
The first half was an intense, even affair with Newport facing into the sun and still managing to put together some good football. The midfield and forwards in Ava Shinners, Skye Sheehy, Roisin Power, Abbie Lenihan, Sarah Finn and Kaitlyn Bradshaw worked hard from the start and showed great energy. They created a number of opportunities, but could not breach the strong defence of Birdhill. The backs with Rachel Carey, Eimear Carey, Kate Harvey, Amber Deegan and Keeper Emma Moloney kept a clean sheet in the first half with a very strong defensive effort of their own. HT 0-0.
The 2nd half started with the same intensity as the first, and by now the subs started to show their value. Carragh Flynn and Leah Moran worked hard up front, showing their strength with some great runs. About 10 minutes into the half, Abbie Lenihan broke through the Birdhill defence and made no mistakes in putting the ball in the back of the net. With their tails up after the goal, the Newport girls changed up a gear. Numerous attacks led to a few close calls with Roisin Power and Claire Kennedy being denied by the uprights. The backs bolstered by subs Leona Burke and Sarah Kelly ensured that very little passed the halfway line. The continuous pressure from Newport eventually saw some great inter play between Skye and Kaitlyn who supplied a beautiful through ball to Ava who buried it in the top corner. The defence held strong throughout the half and kept a clean sheet. FT Newport 2 – Birdhill 0.
A call out to Leah Guerin who turned out although she was injured and a speedy recovery to Rosie Quirke who could not make the match due to illness.
Squad: Ava Shinners, Skye Sheehy, Roisin Power, Abbie Lenihan (C), Sarah Finn, Kaitlyn Bradshaw, Rachel Carey, Eimear Carey, Kate Harvey, Amber Deegan, Emma Moloney, Carragh Flynn, Leah Moran, Claire Kennedy, Leona Burke, Sarah Kelly and Leah Guerin.
Report by Gaylord Harvey.