National League - Division 3A: Derry Ladies Secure Win Over Monaghan B

Derry 5-10 Monaghan B 1-3

The Derry ladies met Monaghan on Sunday at Celtic Park, a week ahead of their Ulster B final clash with Armagh. The
windy conditions did not help matters as Derry seemed a little under
pressure at times by Monaghan, but came away with a comfortable win
nonetheless.A different Derry team that may what have been expected lined
out as management experimented by lining Kathy Conway in half back, and
Donna Letters in goals, yet these two moves proved to be quite
Monaghan were first to score with a point from play, however Derry
were back on level terms moments later when Shauna Vallelly was fouled and
put the ball over the bar. A second foul by Monaghan, this time on Ciara
Moore led to Derry’s second score as Moore found Roisin O’Hagan and she
passed to Michelle McAteer who scored. Ursula Mullan set Ashleen Kealey up
for her first point of the game before Kealey grabbed her first goal of the
game, this time assisted by Tracey Kelly. Winning possession Ashleen Kealey
played a perfect ball into Roisin O’Hagan who set Michelle McAteer up for
her second point of the game.Shauna Vallelly recorded her second point from
a free before Tracey Kelly made a break from mid-field to score a point.
After a point from Ciara O’Kane, Monaghan tested the Derry defence for a
period, but due to wayward shooting and excellent blocks from keeper Donna
Letters and Kathy Conway playing in the half-back line, Derry escaped. A
foul on Paula Fleming in the heart of the defence began a series of swift
moves by Derry. From the free Fleming found Michelle McAteer who passed to
Shauna Vallelly, Vallelly then played the ball to Kathy Conway who passed to
an unmarked Ashleen Kealey who was on course for goal although her effort
went inches wide of the post. Tracey Kelly wrapped up the first half with a
point to leave the score Derry 1-8, Monaghan 0-1.
Ursula Mullan and Ciara O’Kane made way for Victoria Mallett and Dervla McMaster at the interval and
within a few minutes of the second half, both teams had exchanged wides.
Shauna Vallelly was then fouled and took the awarded free putting it between
the posts. Moments later, a pass from Ashleen Kealey saw Roisin O’Hagan
grabbing Derry’s second goal of the game. Monaghan responded well although
were unable to take a few chances but they did eventually find the back of
the goal net. The Derry defence worked the ball quickly back up the pitch,
Ciara Moore put the ball wide before good play between Ashleen Kealey and
Roisin O’Hagan led to Moore hitting the back of the Monaghan net. From the
resultant kick out, Derry won possession and Moore was left unmarked and
scored her second consecutive goal.
After Tracey Kelly had been substituted for Louise Taylor, came Derrys fifth goal. Victoria Mallett set up an
unmarked Michelle McAteer who had made a good run for a one-on-one
confrontation with the Monaghan keeper and McAteer calmly slipped the ball
beyond the keeper. Monaghan got back on the attack and were unlucky to hit
the post, and the rebound went wide. Monaghan did score a point, but it
wasn’t long before the ball was worked to the other end of the pitch with
Kathy Conway setting up Ashleen Kealey for a point. Kerri King came onto
replace Geraldine Young in corner back and after a foul in the Derry
defence, Monaghan pointed. Monaghan saw more chances go begging before Kathy
Conway, who had a fantastic game in half-back, had to retire from the game
due to injury. She was replaced by Claire McWilliams. With only a few minute
s left on the clock, both teams exchanged wides before the whistle blew for
full time to leave the final score Derry 5-10, Monaghan 1-3.
Although Derry overcame Monaghan, it was not without difficulty as they proved to be a very
fit and physical side, although they lacked accuracy and pace upfront. This
was Derry’s most difficult game to date, and although it was a comfortable
win in the end, Derry were not convincing throughout the game as they
appeared to panic at times, especially up front and tended not to shoot
first time.For her first game between the posts, Donna Letters, replacing
Breigeen Cassidy, was excellent and proved to have a very safe pair of hands
and a cool head. In defence, Paula Fleming had a strong game in the centre
of defence with Paula McGuigan having a superb game in half back, a true
rock in the defence. A natural full forward, Kathy Conway showed her
versatility in proving herself to be a natural half back also.
Conway had a brilliant game putting in vital blocks, driving forward and tracking back
she must certainly be a consideration for the position on Sunday.Despite
being substituted at half time, Ursula Mullan was having a good game in
midfield with Tracey Kelly and Victoria Mallett also putting in good
performances. The half forward trio of Ciara Moore, Ashleen Kealey and
Shauna Vallelly were decisive, if they weren’t scoring themselves
they were setting others up. In left corner forward Michelle McAteer put in
a creditable performance and again, another strong contender for the
position on Sunday.

Derry team and scorers – D.Letters, C.Devlin, P.Fleming,
G.Young, K.Conway, P.McGuigan, C.Lagan, U.Mullan, T.Kelly (0-2), C.Moore
(2-0), A.Kealey (1-2), S.Vallelly (0-3), C.O’Kane (0-1), R.O’Hagan (1-0) and
M.McAteer (1-2).
Subs – D.McMaster for C.OKane, V.Mallett for U.Mullan,
L.Taylor for T.Kelly, K.King for G.Young and C.McWilliams. S.Graham,
M.J.Walls, N.O’Hagan, M.Ryan, M.Cartin, L.Browne, P.Foley.

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