Football: Mid Ulster Ladies beaten by late Sion strikes

The Mid Ulster Ladies team
The Mid Ulster Ladies team

Sions Swifts 2-1 Mid Ulster

Mid Ulster Ladies travelled to Strabane for the fourth game in the NIWFA Premiership hoping to avenge defeat by Sion last year in the cup.

However it was the home team that had the best of the early chances with former international Kendra McMullan putting in some dangerous crosses from the left side.

Great kicking from Mid Ulster keeper Jacqueline Burns nearly provided the first opportunity for the Mid Ulster girls as Mykylea Stewart picked up on the right and her cross was fielded well by Niamh Barr in the Sion goal just ahead of Samantha Kelly.

The first corner of the game went to the home side after 13 minutes but once again Jacqueline Burns gathered well to relieve the pressure.

In the next attack Lauren Brennan for Sion beat the offside trap but couldn’t keep her attempt on target.

Mid Ulster then enjoyed a few chances of their own. Cathy Rees had a shot from distance but nothing to trouble Niamh Barr.

A poor clearance from the Sion goalkeeper had the home support nervous as Samantha Kelly picked up but quick closing from Sion forced her to shoot off target.

Sion picked up the tempo again and once more Mid Ulster had Jacqueline Burns to thank for thwarting a Lauren Brennan chance and then once more commanding her area from a corner.

Moments later a glorious strike broke the deadlock as Chloe McCarron for Mid Ulster picked up the ball on the right wing and unleashed a fierce shot from 30 yards that nestled in the top left hand corner.

Sion tried to respond immediately and the Mid Ulster back line had to be on its toes as Tasmin McCarter was well closed by Mid Ulster captain Claire Rooney.

The half concluded with another Sion corner but it eluded everyone and the half time whistle sounded with the visitors ahead by the single goal.

Mid Ulster began the second half on the attack and an early shot from Chloe McCarron was pushed away for a corner.

End to end stuff now and Samantha Kelly showed great footwork to skip into the Sion penalty area where she was upended by the Sion goalkeeper.

The referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty and a yellow card to Niamh Barr for the clumsy challenge.

Chloe McCarron stepped up to hit the penalty but her effort went over the bar. This let off seems to lift the Sion spirits and they enjoyed a spell of possession.

The Mid Ulster defence was standing strong but a Claragh Connor shot from 25 yards made it through and Mid Ulster had the crossbar to thank for stopping this one.

Jacqueline Burns again showed her international pedigree with some great takes from corners, a save low to her left and fantastic distribution.

Substitutions followed for both sides as the physical nature of the game took its toll with Alice Smith replacing Hannah Turkington for Mid Ulster.

A Chloe McCarron free kick from 40 yards went just wide for Mid Ulster but in the main it was Sion that were finishing the game the stronger.

With 38 minutes on the clock Lauren Brennan finally eluded the Mid Ulster defence and she calmly placed the ball past Jacqueline Burns to even the scores.

With their tails up Sion pressed for a winner. It came through a Zoe McGlynn shot that looked to have been comfortable for Jacqueline Burns.

Alas for the visitors the ball hit a divot in the goal mouth and trickled over the line. With this piece of bad luck the final score was decided and the Mid Ulster girls were disappointed to finish on the losing side of a 2-1 result.

Mid Ulster: J Burns, L Richardson, C Rooney, K Donnell, E McFarland, A Curran, C McCarron, C Rees, H Turkington (A Smith), M Stewart, S Kelly. Subs not used R Rodgers.