Royal fall short in McDowell decider
Thursday, 16 March 2017
ROYAL School Armagh fell at the final hurdle in the McDowell Cup final as they were defeated by a very talented Ballyclare High School at Lisnagarvey last Thursday afternoon.
RS ARMAGH 2ND XI ...0
BALLYCLARE HS 2ND XI ...3
The College Hill side had defeated some very talented sides such as Banbridge Academy and Victoria College en-route to the final, but they couldn't find a way past a strong Ballyclare side that included two Ulster U16 representatives.
Playing in their second final in 4 years, after a 35 year gap, the Armagh girls had a great build up to their big day and playing in front of a good crowd at Lisnagarvey during an exciting Ulster Schools' finals week, the girls were quickly put under pressure by the more experienced players from Ballyclare.
Armagh's defence worked very hard and minimised any threats quickly, and the midfield tried to use their pace to attack, but it was Ballyclare who scored first mid way through the half, through their Ulster player and Irish U16 trialist Molly Dougan, who broke into the circle and fired a shot past Ulster U17 development player Emma Whiteside in goals.
Armagh's heads dipped slightly and found themselves 2-0 down going into the second half after a well worked penalty corner.
Armagh picked themselves up after a good talking to at half time from coach Mrs Welshman, stepping up to lead coach after Mr G Thompson was forced to miss the past two matches due to Irish cricket duty.
This much needed pep talk did the trick for a good while, helping the girls to start forcing a few good runs, especially up the right from Amy Dunne and Yasmin Morrow, with Katie Hassard getting the confidence to push up in behind them too.
The girls won a couple of penalty corners in this half, but seemed to panic on the ball and Ballyclare cleared any danger quickly.
From one of these clearances, Ballyclare broke away and scored a great goal to effectively kill off the game for Armagh.
Armagh did battle hard right to the end, and have to be congratulated for their efforts, but it was Ballyclare's more experienced team that dominated for most of the game and take the title back home for the third year in a row.
The team wish to thank Mrs Welshman for coaching them to the final and to the large crowd from school and family and friends for all of their support on the big day. Also thanks to DA Architects for sponsoring the new tops!
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