Stella Maris 2
Salthill Devon 3
Salthill Devon u-16 girls advanced to yet an another All-Ireland semi-final for the club with a stunning victory over competition favourites Stella Maris in Dublin on Sunday.
Stella, with five current u-17 internationals in their squad, were fancied to go all the way this year, having lost narrowly to Salthill Devon in last year’s final.
And the Dublin girls got the ideal start when a defensive mix-up let Rosie Maguire in behind the back four and she coolly lifted the ball over the advancing Salthill keeper Caoimhe McBrien to open the scoring after only four minutes of play.
Stella continued to dominate, and only for the heroics of McBrien and central defenders Jenny Heggerty and Becky Walsh, they could easily have added to their tally.
As the half approached Salthill got more into the game. Moving Dora Gorman to attack and Shauna Jackson, who was magnificent throughout, to the right wing caused Stella Maris problems. With just five minutes remaining before half time Salthill were awarded a free kick some 30 yards out, and Becky Walsh struck an unstoppable piledriver which gave the Dublin keeper no chance.
Within minutes Salthill’s Tessa Mullins won another free kick in almost the same position and up stepped Walsh again. This time the keeper got a hand to the ball, but Tara Lawless was on hand to bury the ball in the back of the net, leaving Salthill 2-1 up at half time and Stella stunned.
The second half started as the first half finished with Salthill well on top. Full backs Emma Carter and Ciara Holland pushed forward at every opportunity, while young Laura Parker and Laura Carroll played above themselves. Gorman and Jackson were a constant threat and had Stella on the back foot.
The third goal was a piece of skill from Tara Lawless. She got the ball to her feet inside the box and with superb skill and dexterity she left three defenders floundering before rifling the ball into the bottom corner.
However Salthill were dealt two tough blows. Dora Gorman was injured and had to leave the pitch and within minutes Stella got their second from the impressive Kirsty Keogh.
Salthill still had 20 minutes to hang for victory as Aoife Molloy came on for Gorman and Stephanie Wynne came on for Parker. However the Salthill girls remained focused to hold out for a well merited victory.
Salthill Devon u-16 girls: Caoimhe McBrien,Ciara Holland, Emma Carter, Jenny Heggerty, Becky Walsh (capt ), Laura Parker, Laura Carroll, Tessa Mullins, Shaunagh Jackson, Dora Gorman, Tara Lawless, Stephanie Wynne, Aoife Molloy.