Connaught Victory – U15
The St. Nathy’s College U15 team followed on from the success of the first year squad in a truly unbelievable game against a steadfast Colaiste Einde side from Salthill, Galway.
The game kicked off with the breeze but uphill for St. Nathy’s as Colaiste Einde applied consistent pressure in every area of the pitch for the first ten minutes. The central defence of Rebecca Doherty and Serena Hanley withstood the pressure alongside Siofra Haran and Eilidh Woods and ensured that it didn’t threaten the goal of Meabh Lavin. After those first few minutes the central midfield of Ava McGreal, Ellen Mitchell and Grace McDermott began to get more involved and thread passes through as they threatened the Einde defensive line. Mila Clancy, Tori Duffy and Leilah O’ Toole began to get more supply up front and in the 16th minute a certain shot was saved in the nick of time by the Einde goalkeeper, as Mila Clancy threatened the top right corner.
The first half was extremely tight between both sides and even with chances for both teams it concluded at 0-0. The halftime team talk was carefully co-ordinated by coaches Mr. Nealon and Mr. Creaton with more directive passing, communication and consistent pressure the main points addressed. The first half substitute of Shola Cuddy however proved vital in withstanding the early pressures of the Einde side in the second half. A second half shot from Tori Duffy was also saved and gave the Nathy’s side even more impetus to move on. Those movements forward were well marshalled by the Einde side and resulted in a break of play which ended with a corner in the 41st minute. After the ball was whipped in, the thorn of the Nathy’s defence, the Einde No. 9 slotted away a well taken headed into the left side of goal. This lead however did not last for long as within two minutes of conceding a breaking ball dropped for Mila Clancy who smashed it into the bottom left hand corner. The intense work rate of the entire team brought Nathy’s back into it quickly, however Tori Duffy’s never-say-die attitude in every second of play must be commended! The second half, like the first, was well balanced and fuelled with chances for either side and ended at a score line of 1-1.
The team talk at the culmination of normal time was fuelled by the players as much as management as all members of the squad made it abundantly clear that they wanted it more and knew it was within every one of them. After losing the toss Nathy’s absorbed a remarkable amount of pressure from the slightly downhill slope of the pitch, but due to the tireless work of the defensive line, especially that of Eilidh Woods who’s remarkable work effort earned her the player of the match award, the Nathy’s side ended the first half of extra time level. However, in the second, with the re-introduction of Tori Duffy and Mila Clancy Nathy’s applied endless pressure again with, in the 5th minute, a Clancy looping shot from the right drifting all the way into the top left corner. The determination of the squad to see it out ended the game with victory for the Nathy’s side and the Connacht Perpetual Division 3 title.
Mr. Nealon and Mr. Creaton are immensely proud of this squad for their perseverance all season. Special thanks must also be given to Willowbrook Glamping for their full sponsorship of the U15 squad