Sligo Under 14 Hope to Make History

On Friday the 1st of July all roads lead to Boyle for the All Ireland Under 14 C Championship final,  where Sligo take on local rivals Leitrim.  It has been a long time since Sligo Ladies underage football has sat at the top table of Ladies Football, their last time to reach a national final coming 7 years ago but the work of the current season is beginning to bear fruit.

28 players from 13 clubs throughout the county have trained intensely since last September.  For Sligo, it has been a tough competition from the start against strong teams from Galway and Mayo.  In many ways, Sligo were their own worst enemy at the early stage of the championship, with basic mistakes costing them in key moments of matches.  Having lost strong players to injury and concussion this left Sligo struggling to perform to their potential.

However the Sligo girls dug deep and improved their system of play  under the guidance of their Manager Fiona Lyons and her team Ann Cunanne, Nicola Mooney and Paul O’Brien.  The turning point came at the U14 All-Ireland blitz.  It was the first time in the season that the girls showed composure and creativity which resulted in strong wins against Louth and Down.

The momentum continued with players reaching the All-Ireland quarter-final against Derry, which saw the Sligo girls go from strength the strength, winning easily with a scoreline of 13-22 to 1-4.

Sligo travelled to Kinnegad to play Carlow in the All-Ireland semi-final.   With all girls match fit, the competition for starting places on the team was high.  A secure defensive performance limited Carlow’s scoring chances.  Tireless work from the midfield ensured seamless links between the backs and forwards.   Effective movement from the forwards provided a plethora of scoring chances.  The spine of the team in particular produced commanding displays of football, resulting in a strong win of 10-16 to 0-1.

All of the groundwork for the final has been laid over the last 10 months.  Sligo is fortunate to have a strong selection of equal strength girls  at all positions on the team.  Credit to the girls for the work, determination and  their strive for excellence over the season.  With Sligo’s discipline in defence, smarter inter-play throughout the field and pride in wearing the Sligo jersey the dream of winning an All-Ireland should become a reality with a win over Leitrim.

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