Ursuline College overcome Scoil Mhuire to lift First Year Cup



Monaghan treble sinks brave Mhuire

Bank of Ireland FAI Schools First Year Girls National Cup Final


Thursday, May 19, 2016


Ursuline College, Sligo 3-1 Scoil Mhuire SS, Buncrana

Johnny Craig
At Monaghan United FC, Gortakeegan


URSULINE COLLEGE, SLIGO are the Bank of Ireland FAI Schools First Year Girls Champions for 2016 as midfielder Helen Monaghan proved the match winner at Gortakeegan with an expertly taken hat-trick.


In a real end to end decider played in front of surely one of the most partisan atmospheres Monaghan United’s home ground has even witnesses it was the Donegal school who struck first through their match winner in the semi-final Grace McColgan on 11 minutes.


The Connacht Champions got back on terms on 18 minutes as Monaghan opened her account from the penalty spot but it was only with 10 minutes of the game remaining that they put the game to bed with two more from the stylish midfielder.


It was anyone’s game up to that point as both sides counter attacked effectively with the twin sister midfield partnership of Beth and Brianna Doherty playing some great balls up to lone striker Begona Pinero Quintana.


The Spanish midfielder had been the hero in the Ulster Final but a combination of last ditch defending and some neat saves from Megan Byrne in the Ursuline goal helped keep her at bay.


On the right side, the surging runs of Mariah McColgan were also a standout feature for the Buncrana girls and had Byrne not come off her line well to smother her shot early in the second half it could have been a different game.


Ursuline turned up the heat as the second half reached the midway point however as substitute Sophie McGoldrick proved a particular thorn in the Mhuire defence and she was centrally involved as they edged ahead.


Monaghan’s insurance goal on 50 minutes put some gloss on the win as she burst forward before firing a brilliant shot into the top left corner.


Amazing Grace


While Davy Hone’s girls were bitterly disappointed at the final whistle, they will never forget McColgan’s opening goal that sent the travelling support from Donegal wild.

Playing behind striker Quintana, the Mhuire midfield were picking her up in good areas from early on and, when Brianna Doherty released her in behind the Ursuline defence on 11 minutes, she placed her low drive from the edge of the box perfectly into the bottom right corner.


Their joy was short lived however as 7 minutes later a well weighted through ball from Sophie McDonagh released Cathy Harrison and, after she was brought down inside the area by Niamh Doherty, Monaghan made no mistake with a well-placed spot kick.


Both sides had their chances to seize the initiative before the break as Quintana and McColgan played a neat one two that released the Spanish striker but a good recovery tackle from Oda Carty stopped her shot on goal.


At the other end Aoife McLaughlin’s deep corner from the right broke for Cathy Harrison who just failed to get the crucial touch to guide home.


HALF TIME – Scoil Mhuire 1 Ursuline College 1


The next goal was always going to prove crucial and Scoil Mhuire created the first clear cut chance after the break when another great Brianna Doherty through ball sent Mariah McColgan racing clear but Byrne stood her ground bravely to smother her close range shot.


It looked anyone’s game as play swung from end  to end with Aoife McLaughlin shooting fine for Ursuline after a great run before good work from Mariah McColgan down the right side for Mhuire set up Quintana but Byrne raced off here line again to smother.


Turning Point


The key moment came at the 45 minute mark when McGoldrick bore down on goal and appeared to be fouled by Mhuire ‘keeper Niamh Doherty but the referee intelligently played advantage and when Ursuline recycled Monaghan finished emphatically for her second.


A world class save moments later from Niamh Doherty kept the Buncrana girls in the game as she turned a Laura Oates shot from the edge of the box around the post at full stretch.


Ursuline were finding gaps in the Mhuire defence with regularity now however and when Monaghan raced into the box and finished brilliantly to the top left corner with 10 minutes to go they had one hand on the cup.


Mhuire battled gamely to the end and came a whisker away from a consolation goal when Mariah McColgan’s dipping long range effort dropped inches over the bar.


Moments later the final whistle sparked a pitch invasion from the Sligo school as they celebrated their first National title in some style.


SCOIL MHUIRE: Niamh Doherty, Ava Rukers, Saoirse McEleney, Emma McCallion, Georgina Rudden, Beth Doherty, Mariah McColgan, Grace McColgan, Brianna Doherty (Captain), Ewelina Smolen, Begona Pinero Quintana

SUBS: Ciara Porter, Teigan Quinn, Donna Donaghey, Hollie Doherty, Leah McColgan, Lauren McDaid, Paige Ferguson

TEACHER: Davy Hone ASSISTANT: Andrea Kelly


URSULINE COLLEGE: Megan Byrne, Emma Corcoran, Allanah Gallagher, Shona Dalton, Oda Carty, Sophie McDonagh (Captain), Helen Monaghan, Aoife McLaughlin, Laura Oates, Cathy Harrison, Sarah Gillen

SUBS: Sophie McGoldrick for S Gillen (27 mins), Eden Rooney, Emma Shanley, Ingrid Shiels, Sandra Bladycz

TEACHER: Deirdre Cullinan ASSISTANTS: Darragh Healy & Laura McGinn


REFEREE: Frank McConnell (Cavan/Monaghan)