KILLALA AFC 0 STELLA MARIS 3
KILLALA’S heroic cup run finally came to an end in Castlebar on Sunday but unfortunately there was no jubilation at the finish. The young Killala girls had made themselves a force to be reckoned with right from the start of the competition.
They had come through numerous battles, scoring great goals and beating high profile teams such as St Francis, Dublin and Wilton United, Cork but their final pairing with Stella Maris FC was a bridge too far. The Dublin team were deserving winners, they passed the ball better and were more clinical in front of goal.
Stella Maris were given a platform on which to build when scoring after just two minutes and hard as they tried, Killala just could not recover. A corner-kick was swung in dangerously by Rosanne Maguire and broke to the edge of the box where Stella’s Lisa Murphy was waiting to crash the ball to the net. It was a super strike and gave Killala goalkeeper Emma Varley no chance.
Stella Maris applied some further early pressure, especially down the left wing, but Killala were defending extremely well and clearing their lines without much difficulty, despite a few half chances falling to Rosanne Maguire and Deidre Mulligan.
Killala did look dangerous on the break but the Stella Maris defence was superb all day, and did exceptionally well to deal with the pace and trickery of duo Aileen Gilroy and Aoileen Collins. The pair fashioned a couple of half chances as the half developed but nothing that troubled Ashling Dyer in the Stella goal.
Killala were well in the game midway through the first half, they were tackling hard in the centre and the diligence of their two wingers Alanna Naughton and, in particular, Elaine Lowther to their defensive duties was admirable. Stella’s second goal arrived on 30 minutes however, and was pretty much unstoppable, an absolutely stunning piece of play that originated at left back in a sweeping move up the pitch.
Left back Dayna McDonald started the move, played a neat one two and added a back heel to the mix before the ball was crossed excellently by Lisa Murphy and headed in by the centre forward Nadine Hughes. It was a move that would have graced any venue and it put Stella Maris in a great position as they held a two goal lead at half-time.
Killala, to their credit, didn’t give up and pushed hard after half-time in search of something that would get them back into contention, but again the Stella Maris defence held firm and denied them any clear cut chances, breaking at speed whenever the ball broke down.
Killala had battlers all over the field with Martina Walker at the back doing particularly well to stop a lot of Stella Maris attacks. Elaine Lowther and Aileen Gilroy were doing their very best in the attacking third and got a few shots away but their industry was not enough to break the Stella guard, as the Dubliners looked technically superior and a lot more comfortable on the ball in all areas of the park.
Killala kept surging forward but they still couldn’t penetrate the Stella box. Corners and free-kicks always looked promising but there was no bounce that favoured them on the day.
With five minutes remaining on the clock, Stella Maris bagged their third goal whish settled the tie once and for all. This time it was player of the match Niamh Kearney who got on the score sheet. Killala were caught with numbers forward when eventually the ball ended up with Stella’s Sarah Miley on the right wing. She flashed a pass across the goal low and hard towards the back post where it was mishit by two Stella players before Kearney provided the decisive finish.
It was a very disappointing end for Killala, but they can take pride in the fact that they put up a very gutsy performance and were only defeated by an extremely skilful Stella Maris side.
KILLALA: Emma Varley, Siobhan Kearney, Martina Walker, Ailish Healy, Sarah Farrell, Elaine Lowther, Sorcha McGee, Niamh Collins, Alanna Naughton, Aileen Gilroy, Aoileen Collins. Subs. Rachel Healy and Aoife Munnelly (for A Collins and Kearney).
STELLA MARIS: Ashling Dyer, Dayna McDonald, Olivia Smart, Nadine Hughes, Rosanne Maguire, Deidre Mulligan, Sarah Miley, Eve O Farrelly, Lisa Murphy, Sinead Farrelly, Niamh Kearney. Subs: Kirsty Hogan (for Deirdre Mulligan).
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