Sports

St Louis ladies aim for Ulster glory

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

ST LOUIS Ladies Gaelic Footballers are attempting to add another title to that fine honours list as they compete in the Ulster Colleges Under 20 Ladies Gaelic Football 'C' final, at the Tyrone Centre of Excellence (Garvaghy) this Thursday at 1pm.

Ladies football at the Kilkeel grammar school has excelled in recent years, reflecting the great interest and work being done at local club level. The St Louis squad can call on players from Ballymartin Ladies (Mourne clubs), Castlewellan, Bryansford, Dundrum, Rostrevor, Burren and Warrenpoint, GAA clubs.

Managed by Aisling McGivern and coached by Steven McVeigh (both from Warrenpoint), St Louis have not had an easy route into this final. In the group stages, St Louis accounted for their neighbours in an all-Down group. St Malachy's Castlewellan, Aquinas Grammar School and Our Lady's and St Patrick's Knock, all had to be overcome before the knock-out stages commenced.

The quarter-final pitched the St Louis girls against a school from the proverbial hotbed of Ulster ladies Gaelic Football, Ballybay Community College, Monaghan. Going into the game as underdogs, the Kilkeel girls rallied to carve out a 3-08 to 2-09 victory in Silverbridge.

The semi-final pitted the St Louis girls against a team with a proven track record in this competition, St Clare's of Ballyjamesduff, Cavan. Undaunted by this record, the St Louis girls dug deep to edge out a tense affair with a 6-03 to 3-10 result emphasising the threat they pose in front of the goals.

St Louis now face another powerhouse of Ulster Ladies Gaelic Football St Columba's of Glenties (Donegal) in the final on Thursday.

Although they once again carry the tag of underdogs in this game, St. Louis have certainly improved and excelled with each game and should be confident of putting in a title winning performance.

They can call on the Ulster Final experience as several of the players already have Ulster medals in Camogie in recent years under the guidance of Rosemary Colgan. A number of players in the squad also have gained valuable experience of Ulster competition with the Down Development Squads.

However, St. Louis were given a major boost with Sorcha McCartan's All-Star Award in Ladies Gaelic Football, a first for St. Louis in this sport. In fact, Sorcha followed this up with an All-Star in Camogie, offering further encouragement to the squad as they approach this final.

Social media has been full of messages wishing the girls well in this game as former St. Louis players (male and female) have posted up 'good luck' messages from as far away as America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Once again the 'green and gold' army of Mourne support will strive for Ulster glory as the St. Louis girls prepare for one last effort to secure a first Ulster title in Ladies Gaelic football for this proud Down school.

The St. Louis squad: Meabh O'Hare (Captain), Sinead O'Rourke, Niamh McDonald, Aine Fearon, Aislinn Fitzpatrick, Ellen Boden, Aoife Murphy, Ciara Keenan, Kerri Grant, Claire Young, Maria Gribben, Niamh McKibben, Naomi Rooney, Niamh McDowell, Trainor, McVeigh, Russell, McMahon, O'Boyle, Fitzpatrick, Cunningham, McCartan, McAlea, Boden and Grant.

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