Brave Mid Ulster Ladies lose out to champions

Glentoran Belfast United 3

Mid Ulster Ladies 1

MID ULSTER travelled to the Billy Neill Playing fields on Tuesday past to play Glentoran Belfast Utd in a league fixture.

Having captured the Premier League title last season Glentoran B. Utd posed a formidable challenge to the newly promoted girls from Mid Ulster.

Coach Noel Mitchell fielded his strongest team of the season so far but even then most of the support feared this could be an exercise in damage limitation.

However Mid Ulster were not daunted and indeed it was Glentoran that were finding life difficult in the first half.

Playing up front on her own Laura Burton was causing Glentoran plenty of problems and although Glentoran had plenty of possession it was mainly confined to their own half.

Good support play from the Mid Ulster midfield saw the visitors win a corner. The inswinger was partially cleared but centre half Karen Stirrup was at the edge of the box to send in a half volley that the Glentoran Keeper could only watch fly into the net.

The visiting fans were ecstatic and Glentoran were left wondering how they had been caught out. Mid Ulster continued to harry and work hard all over the pitch and indeed they were unfortunate not to double their lead a short time later.

Michelle Derby made a great run down the right wing and sent a perfect cross into the box which Lisa Richardson headed down into the net.

Unfortunately for Mid Ulster the referee had already blown for an earlier push on one of the Glentoran defenders and the result was a free kick to the home team. The half finished with the visitors in the lead 1-0.

Glentoran started the second half strongly but once again the Brown sisters and Karen Stirrup held firm ably assisted by their mid field players.

Mykylea Stewart was having an exceptional match keeping Republic of Ireland international Shaka Hislop out of the game.

Mid-way through the second half Glentoran decided to ring the changes and a substitution and positional change saw the experienced Maggie Tolan enter the front line.

Mid Ulster didn’t adjust quickly enough to this new threat and from the next corner Tolan stole in at the front post to level the scores.

Mid Ulster continued to battle and it looked like it could be another valuable away point secured. However Glentoran had other ideas and with five minutes to go international midfielder Kelly Baille picked up the ball and swept in a spectacular strike which dipped just under Tracy Bell’s crossbar.

Mid Ulster were deflated but continued to work and Hayley O’Donnell entered the game for Judith Kerr. However with minutes to go Shaka Hislop gained a couple of yards and unleashed a shot that Tracy Bell could only get hands to but not enough to keep it out of the net.

The game ended 3-1 to the home side and the visitors will have left feeling they deserved much more out of this game.

Team: T Bell, C Brown, R Brown, M Stewart, K Stirrup, M Derby, L Richardson, A Gillespe, J Kerr (H O’Donnell), C Mendes, L Burton. Subs not used: C Charles N Lopes, L Cunningham.

Congratulations to Simone Magill and Hayley O’Donnell who competed for Northern Belles at the City of Manchester Stadium on 18 May in the finals of the Tesco Cup.

The Northern Belles won the tournament with Simone Magill winning player of the tournament.

Congratulations to Senior squad member Karen Stirrup who scored on and off the pitch this week. Karen celebrated her wedding to Andy Donnell on Sat 18 May. Best wishes for the future to them both.

Next game is Tuesday 20 May at home to Fermanagh Mallards in the League.

Junior training continues 6.30 – 7.30pm at the Sports Arena on Monday nights.