Third-placed Carnmoney needed to win the match, to have any chance of taking the top spot off Lurgan, so it was a game that both sides were very keen to win.
As a result, the match started off with Carnmoney getting stuck in from the start, and Lurgan being slightly tentative. The first chance on goal from either side came after 10 minutes, when Lurgan’s Amy McAllister got on to a loose ball at the edge of box and unleashed a shot, but it went just over the bar. A few minutes later, Carnmoney shot into the side netting, under pressure from captian Tracy Orr. In the 14th minute, Elisha won a free kick from about 30 yards out, which Tracy put into the top right corner of the net, for a 0-1 lead to the visitors. Lurgan were on the attack again a few minutes later, but Nicola Gray was caught off-side. It was end-to-end stuff, with Megan McCabe catching a high Carnmoney cross at one end, and Elisha putting a great ball into the Carnmoney box at the other end. Both sides were closing down quickly, and play was changing sides, so there weren’t too many chances on either goal. But then in the 36th minute, Amy won the ball on the left, and crossed all the way across goal to Leanne Domican who struck it beautifully into top right corner of the net to extend Lurgan’s lead to 0-2. Five minutes later, the ball was in the back of the Carnnmoney net again, but the offside flag had gone up. Carnmoney then had a free kick from just inside their half which was almost dipping into goal, but Megan tipped it over the bar. The final action in the first half was Nicola’s shot on target from an acute angle, which the keeper comfortably saved.
In the second half, Kerry Taggart was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after ending up on the ground after a good run into the box. Shortly afterwards, KT almost got her head onto a cross into the box from Elisha, but Carnmoney cleared it well. Carnmoney had their own cross into the box, but fortunately for Lurgan, their forward couldn’t get a head on it. Amy then had a shot from distance, but skied it well over the bar. 20 minutes into the second half, Rachel Davis came on, and just 3 minutes later, she headed in a great free kick from Tracy, to make it 3-0 to Lurgan.
Carnmoney still had chances though, and Megan was kept fairly busy, as a free kick from the edge of the box was on target, but well caught. Tracy also took a few more free kicks – one from long range was caught by the keeper, while another one from closer range was headed off the line by Carnmoney. In the 88th minute, Carnmoney’s corner was cleared out, but it was then hit back, and went in off the underside of the bar to earn a late consolation goal for Carnmoney. A last-ditch tackle by Claire Rooney in the dying minutes of the game ensured that the score finished at 1-3, and Lurgan won the NIWFA Championship League, with 12 wins from 12 (so far!)
Congratulations to referee’s POTM Claire Rooney, and thank you both to our match sponsors at Brownlow Radiators, and to Carnmoney Ladies for their post-match hospitality.
The Lurgan Town Ladies will be presented with the NIWFA Championship Cup after their final home match of the season against Downpatrick Ladies on Wednesday evening (7th). All support welcome!
League proudly supported by @ElectricIrelandNI #gamechangers
Team: M McCabe, D Douglas, D Brady, C Rooney, T Orr, L O’Neill, A McAllister, K Taggart, L Domican, E Donnelly, N Gray. Subs: R Bolger, R Davis, T Maguire (all used), M Stepien