LAGAN HARPS won the FAI Under-12 Challenge Cup on Saturday in Dublin.
It was Lagan’s fifth FAI National Cup final and the class of 2019 followed in the footsteps of the club’s victorious Senior Squad of 2010 who win the FAI Intermediate Cup, the Senior Squad squad of 2014 who win the FAI Junior Cup, the U14 Squad of 2012 who were beaten finalist in FAI U14 Challenge Cup, and finally the U18 Squad of 2016 who were beaten finalist in the FAI U18 Challenge Cup.
It was a fifth title of a highly-successful 2019 for this Lagan side, adding the Challenge Cup to the
Donegal Women’s League, the Highland Bakery Cup, the Willie McLaughlin Ulster Cup and the FAI North West Region Challenge Cup.
Lagan have had their injury woes with as many as six players breaking bones during the season, but others stepped up to the plate.
Lagan knew they were in a very tough group going into the competition. All games were a tight affair with Lagan drawing their first game 0-0 against Cork’s Wilton Utd, with chances to score a minimum.
Rock Celtic from Louth was next up, with Lagan dominating the game, the Rock Celtic keeper was having and amazing game pulling off at least eight saves, Ashling Mugan, Ellie McNeill hit with crossbar, and with time running out Niamh Ryan’s through ball to Orlaith Doherty saw Lagan come out winners by the single goal.
Next up in the final group game was Dublin Champions, Cherry Orchard who had win their two previous games, Lagan had to win to progress.
Amy Doherty pulled off a top corner save to keep Lagan in the game, Cherry were dangerous in attack however solid defending by Sorcha and Scarlet Kees and Aileen Sweeney kept them out. With two minutes into the second half Cherry scored from a corner.
Not to lay down, Lagan remained composed, as they have done all season, kept working hard Sophie Canning set up Orlaith Doherty to level the game.
With two minutes remaining Ashling Mugan pressed the ball to the keeper, got their first and slotted the ball into net.
The semi final saw Lagan take on the Wexford Champions Curraloe in another tight game, which ended 0-0 and to go to the dreaded penalties. Amy Doherty saved two penalties and Lagan won the game 3-2.
The final was against Cork Champions Lakewood Utd.
Lagan controlled the game with Rosie O’Donnell causing problems on right with her pace, slotted the ball to Orlaith Doherty who rounded the keeper to take an early lead.
Sine Harris Ryan could have extended the lead but she shot hit the post.
Sophie Canning and Ashling Mugan controlled midfield and were very disciplined holding, shielding and intercepting vital passes forward.
Niamh Ryan made a good tackle late in the second half to keep the clean sheet and crown All Ireland Champions.
Lagan’s Orlaith Doherty was selected Player of the Match.
Lagan Harps squad: Amy Doherty, Sorcha Kees, Scarlet Kees, Aileen Sweeney, Niamh Ryan, Ashling Mugan, Sophie Canning, Rosie O’Donnell, Ellie McNeill, Sine Harris Ryan, Orlaith Doherty, Kelsey Gallagher, Jessica McGinley, Ruth Cassidy, Amy Moore, Lisa Wilson, Tammy Gallagher (Coaches John Canning, Benny Doherty, Brid McGintyTags: