Loughinisland crowned Junior League champions

A FIVE-STAR performance by Loughinisland saw them clinch the Down Ladies Junior League in style after overcoming neighbours Teconnaught at Macartan Park last Tuesday night.

Jim Carvill’s outfit, who won all 12 league games, stormed out of the blocks — scoring a blistering 3-7 and only conceding a single point in the first 16 minutes.

Megan Jennings set the Blues on their way with a superb exhibition of outfield scoring, bagging a point in the first minute and a further 1-4 in the first quarter alone.

Emma Gordon gave a strong captain’s performance, putting her side on their way with a point from range a minute later.

Alana McCaffrey was on fire — setting up Bethan Carvill to score a great team goal in the 10th minute — before hitting the back of the net within 60 seconds and adding a further point five minutes later.

Amy McGivern, back from the playing soccer in the US, fought back for the visitors. She scored a point in the eighth minute and was denied a fantastic goal in the 15th minute by Island stopper Helen Rice.

McGivern added a second point at the start of the second quarter, but Eimear Murray and Megan Jennings replied for home side with a point each.

Teconnaught seemed to wake up at this stage. Helen Rice denied Maria Ryan before the visitors hit 1-3 in three minutes — Amy McGivern netting a goal and point from a free while Claire Greene and Ryan grabbed a point apiece.

Brenda Torney and Alana McCaffrey put the ball over the black spot for the home side just before the break.

Teconnaught came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second half. Helen Rice, magnificent between the posts with three superb stops, again saved against battling McGivern in the 37th minute.

Then a free-flowing move involving Aine Madine, Claire Greene, Maria Ryan and substitute Anna Ralph, from Seamus Madine’s side, was halted by full-back Ellie McConville two minutes later before McGivern added her fourth point of the contest.

Brenda Torney and Teconnaught’s Ralph exchanged points before Blues hotshot Jennings bagged the score of the game. Rice hit a fine kick-out which made its way to Emma Gordon. She found herself in space and after a 30-metre run, found the full forward who smashed the ball into the back of the net.

Jennings and McCaffrey netted a point each before McGivern replied with a score over the bar for Teconnaught.

As the game entered the final quarter Loughinisland half-forwards Maeve McCaffrey and Eimear Murray were finding plenty of space, surging into the visitors’ defence almost at will.

Alana McCaffrey slammed a loose ball around the box into the net before Bethan Carvill limped off injured in the 53rd minute.

Teconnaught got a second wind and rattled off four points without reply — one from Siofra Bradley and three from the impressive Ralph closed the gap slightly for the visitors.

McGivern was unlucky when her 21-metre free rattled the woodwork as Teconnaught battled to the final whistle.

In the dying minutes, McGivern replied to points from Eimear Murray and Megan Jennings as the home side clinched the league in style with a commanding 14-point victory.

Loughinisland: Helen Rice; Maria Gilchrist, Ellie McConville, Lauren Rice; Maeve McCaffrey, Bronagh Murray, Eimear Murray (0-2); Emma Gordon (0-1), Maria Nixon; Alana McCaffrey (2-3), Caroline O’Hare, Megan Jennings (2-8); Brenda Torney (0-2), Bethan Carvill (1-0), Orlaith Cassidy. Subs: Mia Carvill, Eadaoin Fay, Michaela Flynn, Rachel Murphy, Orla Mason.

Teconnaught: Tina Madine; Kyla Kelly, Aine Madine, Tara Madine; Kate Bell, Brooklyn Flannagan, Jennifer Green; Caitlin Mulholland, Siofa Bradley (0-1); Claire Greene (0-1), Amy McGivern (1-7), Laura Madine; Brogan Madine, Maria Ryan (0-1), Laura Carville. Subs: Katrina Killen, Hannah Moore, Anna Ralph (0-4).