NI Women’s FA season comes to an unscheduled stop

NIWFA Cup semi-finalists, Ballymoney United
Ballymoney United after reaching the NIWFA Cup semi-finals.

The NI Women’s FA saw their season come to an unscheduled stop last Friday night, following the decision by Northern Ireland Public Health Authority to prohibit the playing of non elite sport.

Although no final decision by the league’s management committee has been reached as to any possibility of resuming play to conclude the season at the end of the four-week lockdown, for now the league sits in hiatus.

However, there were a few final games played last week before the suspension kicked in.

NIWFA Cup Quarter Finals

Ballymoney United were the last side into this season’s semis, causing an upset in defeating higher league side St Oliver Plunkett 6-5. Keri Halliday had given Ballymoney the lead but SOP hit back through Chelsey Edwards with Niamh McGonigle. Ballymoney refused to lie down and made it 2-2 through Cleo-Neece Taggart and then stormed into a two goal lead through two more strikes from Halliday which saw them lead 4-2 at the break. Taggart then added her second to make it 5-2 shortly after the restart but SOP pulled one back through Nia Carmichael. The goals continued to flow but when Ballymoney restored their three goal cushion to lead 6-3 through a hat-trick strike from Taggart it looked like game over. All credit through to SOP who made them sweat all the way to the final whistle pulling back not one, but two goals through Deborah Boyd and a Leah McGonigle.

Division 2a

A truly topsy-turvy tie at Crewe Road saw the hosts Crewe United leading 2-1 at half time against Belfast Celtic thanks to two goals from Megan McGarry, with Celtic’s response coming from Aoife McCann. Second half however the game changed completely with the Celts firing in six goals without reply to win 7-2, Teri Maguire and Leola McErlean with two apiece, Ciara Leinster and Nuala Rafferty one each,

Larne romped home 8-1 in a one sided game against Portadown at Shamrock Park, where the returning from injury Georgia Crawford hit four goals, which in turn were matched by another four goal-salvo from Elle Houston.

Division 2b

Carnmoney Athletic had a fine 4-2 win away to Ballymacash Young Ladies, with an Aimee Kerr
penalty giving them the lead, Ballymacash levelling two minutes later through Charlie Bell, only for Lauren McCann to restore the lead 6 second after. Second half saw the young Carnmoney side take the game by the scruff of the neck, increasing their lead to 4-1 through goals from an own-goal and a second from Kerr. Although the ‘cash pulled one back late on through Deborah McCarthy, there was to be no way back as Athletic held on to win 4-2.

Lisburn continued their unbeaten season easing home past Coleraine, including our-goal hauls from Ella Haughey and Ellie Tennyson, as well as an Eve Reilly treble.

Division 3a

Larne Olympic and Belfast Ravens took a point apiece from a tight 1-1 draw played behind closed
doors at The Cliff. Laura Noble had given the home side the lead, however an own-goal saw the Ravens draw level on 26 minutes.

Republic of Ireland WNT squad for crucial clash in Ukraine

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