Sion Swifts……………….. 3 Crusaders…………………..1
SION Swifts Girls lifted their first ever Under-15 National League title with a comprehensive victory over Crusaders in Limavady last Friday night.
Having played twelve League games and despite having to travel for all those games the young Swifts showed what they were made of with their most complete performance of the season.
Going into Friday’s game with both teams locked on 28 points and with the National Cup under their belts the Swifts were confident, although wary having come out the wrong side of two closely fought games with the Belfast side earlier in the season.
It took just seven minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Chambers played a defence splitting pass for Doherty to run onto and slide under Harvey in the Crues goal- much to the delight of her teammates and the large vocal Swifts support.
On thirteen minutes it was 2-0 when Lynch went on one of her trademark runs leaving four Crues players in her wake before cooly slotting past the netminder.
The back 5 of Lawrence, McGinley, Laird, Duffy and Thompson were dealing comfortably with the opposition’s direct approach, ably assisted by the midfield trio of McBride, McGinley and Lynch. Further chances came and went with Chambers causing the Crues backline all sorts of problems with her intelligent running and trickery on the ball.
Injury was to strike a blow to the Swifts on 28 minutes. Doherty went down under a robust challenge which amazingly went in favour of the opposition player. Subsequently it emerged that Doherty’s injury was a double fracture of her collar bone.
The second half started similar to the first with Coyle showing her class with her link up play and Chambers a delight to watch. It was these two who went closest to adding to the Swifts tally forcing Harvey into some smart saves.
Not to be outdone Coyle got her just rewards picking up a loose ball 20yds from goal and rifling a right footed drive out of the reach of the Crues keeper and sending the Swifts support into raptures. Harte and McCauley entered the fray and played their part in helping the Swifts maintain their three goal advantage.
Crusaders pulled a goal back from the penalty spot eight minutes from time but there was no way this Sion team were going to allow them back into the game and some intelligent play from Lynch and Chambers saw them manage the game out to the final whistle.
Sion U15s Team: Lawrence, Thompson, McGinley, Duffy, C Laird, McBride, McGinley, Lynch, Coyle, Doherty, Chambers. Subs: McCauley, Quinn, S Laird, McCullagh, Harte
This brought the curtain down on an outstanding 2016/17 season for this group with the winning of a National League title the icing on the cake for a truly dedicated and talented bunch of footballers. Having already won the National Cup, Bangor Tournament, Armagh Tournament and being beaten finalists in the National Futsal Cup they can look back fondly on a season that will be very hard to repeat.