year’s league winners, it was a shock to all to see NUIG in a relegation battle
with UCD this week.
After a good win against Sligo IT last week, NUIG went into this game full of confidence on Tuesday evening. Two goals in the first five minutes for UCD left NUIG with a mountain to climb. Shauna Fox got a goal back for the tribeswomen with a header from a Lisa Casserly corner. Evvie Lowndes was unfortunate not to bring NUIG level with UCD as she saw her effort saved off the line. However, two questionable free kicks led to two goals for UCD, and another goal just before half time to rub salt in the wounds of the away team. The score line was 5-1 at half time.
The team re-grouped at half-time. They knew it was going to be a tough half, but with a slight breeze in their backs and belief from their management of John “Beano” Hynes and Padraic De Burca, they started the first half optimistically. If UCD can score five goals, why can’t NUIG? A credit to themselves, the girls had a “never say die” attitude and pressed the Dubs the entire half. UCD’s playmaker and scorer of two goals, Ciara Grant, was kept quiet in the second half. Louise Creaven was barely tested in the NUIG goal. The pressure eventually led to Chelsi Curran scoring a well taken volley. Next up was Casserly to make the deficit smaller, and Laura Carroll scoring with her weaker right foot from a tight angle to bring NUIG within one goal. With twenty minutes to go, NUIG had belief.
Now playing three at the back in Aoife Walsh, Fox and Ciara Lynagh, the Galway Girls were constantly pressing and had all the momentum. Curran and Marley Duncan on the wings kept UCD’s fullbacks busy. In the middle, Michelle Doherty and Alison McGonagle were creating many chances. McGonagle came agonisingly close to bring the score to 5-5; however the team watched as her ball somehow curled the wrong side of the post. Corners, 1-on-1s, free kicks and even an indirect free kick in the 6 yard box, NUIG were severely unlucky not to bring the game to extra time. With minutes on the clock and darkness falling fast, UCD sealed victory to send NUIG down. Final score: UCD 6-4 NUIG.
The team have many positives to take from a battling and valiant second half.
A special mention must be made to veterans Rachel Keyes and Maebh Coleman, who came to support their former teammates.
Team: Louise Creaven, Aoife Walsh, Laura Carroll, Shauna Fox, Ciara Lynagh, Michelle Doherty, Marley Duncan, Alison McGonagle, Chelsi Curran, Evvie Lowndes, Lisa Casserly, Mollie Farrell, Shauna Gallagher, Emma Horgan, Ashley Stappenbeck, Sarah Peters.