Portlaoise girls U-14 team travelled to Gainstown to take on Mullingar FC over the weekend. While most games were cancelled due to heavy rainfall, this game would be played on astro turf.
Portlaoise AFC 5
Mullingar FC 1
It was tight opening quarter of an hour as both teams struggled to hold possession but when the first opportunity came abegging, Portlaoise pounced on it. Some solid build-up work by Leah Byrne and Eva Cullane resulted in a beautifully weighted ball across the 12 yard area to Lateefat Ganiyu, who tucked away nicely inside the right-hand post.
The game opened up for Portlaoise a little more but lady luck was not with top goal scorer Esther Ubesie and Leah Byrne. Keeva O'Reilly came agonisingly close, gathering the with her ball back to goal, turning a midfielder with a fine show of individual skill and then shooting, only for the keeper to save. Remember the name!
Mullingar almost got level as the crossbar came to the rescue for the girls in green. Amy Donovan came on for Roisin Fitspatrick and Katie Galvin-Farrell filled in for Taylor Leavy at right back. It stayed 0-1 to Portlaoise up until half time.
In the second half, the game opened up as Mullingar pressed early to get back into the game but a swift counter saw Chloe Keenan thread a delightful through ball in Esther Ubesie who didn’t need a second invitation to score.
Two minutes later it was 0-3 to Portlaoise as Eva Cullnane crossed from the left into Keeva O'Reilly who finished from close range. Sandra Peters partnered Ubesie up front and instantly made an impact, dropping deep and making runs and it wasn’t long until she grabbed a goal of her own, collecting the ball unmarked outside the six yard box and finishing nicely to make it 0-4.
Despite a solid performance from center backs Leah Malone and Sophie Scully, there was nothing they could do about the Mullingar response, as a fine long range effort smashed into the top left corner making it 1-4.
Chloe Keenan was unlucky not to find the target from distance but the final say went to Ubesie who once again broke away from Mullingar defenders to find herself one-on-one, and shooting from distance she made it 1-5.
The young Mullingar side put in a very brave performance but once Portlaoise found their stride, they were difficult to stop. The performance was epitomised by Ellen Rowney who put in an amazing performance from center midfield. She closed down every ounce of space, was creative in possession and made it ever so difficult for the Mullingar players.
POM: Ellen Rowney.