Mid Ulster entertained Lisburn on Monday night at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena with a slender 2-1 advantage in their play off to maintain their premier league status.
The squad was boosted with the return of Aoife Curran from injury although Lyn Sommerville, Sarah Connolly and Chloe Orr were all ruled out.
The Mid Ulster girls started well and with only three minutes on the clock they eased the nerves when Samantha Kelly scored from Chloe McCarron’s assist to make it 1-0.
As the half progressed Lisburn started to come into the game but Claire Rooney and Karen Donnell were dealing with the danger and allowing full backs Lisa Richardson and Rachael Rodgers to push forward at every opportunity.
With 23 minutes played Samantha Kelly broke through yet again but the Lisburn defence had the post to thank as the strike came back out and was cleared to safety. Samantha wasn’t to be deterred and three minutes later a super run made the score 2-0 as she slipped the ball past the advancing keeper.
Undeterred by the task ahead of them Lisburn went on the attack from the kick off and Jacqueline Burns turned the ball round the post for a Lisburn corner.
With 30 minutes played the result was effectively wrapped up as Hannah Turkington’s cross was met first time by Sharagh Muprhy to make it 3-0 to the home team.
More Mid Ulster pressure followed with Chloe McCarron and Sharagh Murphy both going close but as the half ended it was Samantha Kelly on target once again. With the last attack of the half Samantha showed quick feet to elude the defender and get her shot away for her hat trick and Mid Ulster’s fourth.
Lisburn were still giving it their all in the second half, but most of the efforts were confined to shots from distance. This persistence was to pay off as with 56 minutes on the clock Lisburn pulled a goal back with one such effort.
Perhaps a little annoyed at this lapse Mid Ulster pressed again and once again the Lisburn woodwork came to the rescue as Chloe McCarrron’s shot came back out to safety.
Lisburn had some good spells but once again it was Mid Ulster who added to the score line. Chloe McCarron again with a strike well saved but following up was Hannah Turkington to make it 5-1.
With 76 minutes played Chloe McCarron deservedly found the net with a great strike from distance to make it 6-1.
Lisburn did manage to score a consolation goal but it was too little too late and the Mid Ulster girls ran out convincing winners on the night and 8-3 on aggregate.
With Premier league status secured for next season the club had something more to celebrate on Saturday night. The NIWFA awards ceremony in the Hilton Hotel in Belfast saw U15 captain Rachael Rodgers pick up an award for U15 league player of the year.
Rachael has been outstanding representing N.Ireland in the U15 side, and captaining the Mid Ulster girls.
As well as this Rachael has featured in a number of senior league games in the Premier league and played and won the Mid Ulster League cup for the second year in a row.