Under 12 Girls Cup Final: Listowel Celtic 3-0 Killarney Athletic.

Cup finals are often decided by inches and while it is not possible to say that if Christine Cooper had scored following a brilliant effort Athletic would have won it certainly would have put them in pole position.

The crucial incident came early in the second half when Cooper, who was excellent all day, picked up the ball inside her own penalty area, began running at opponents, skipped past at least four Listowel Celtic tacklers and let fly from just inside the opponent’s box. Just as the big Athletic crowd got ready to cheer the ball cannoned off the bottom of the post and went across the goal to safety.

It would have been one of the best goals seen at Celtic Park, where the Cup final was played, but by it staying out it gave Listowel Celtic the fright they needed and they went on to outstay Athletic and score three times in the last 20 minutes.

Athletic started the game with five across the back and with Cooper in goal,  with the intention of keeping Listowel Celtic at bay and it worked perfectly for the first half. The back five were superbly marshalled by Player of the Game Amber Seery.

And they certainly had their hands full with Jackie Horgan, Aoife Behan and Leah Henry all looking threatening.

 Cooper did well to save from Behan early on and from the corner Katie Stack did well to clear. Athletic had Ciara Randles playing in the very tough role of lone striker and she was well marked by Kennelly and Foley.

Leah Henry was now beginning to get space and firstly had a shot from distance just wide and then brought two good saves from the Athletic keeper. Indeed she was nearly in again a few minutes later but Cooper won the race to the ball as Lorraine Nolan’s through ball almost split the Athletic defence.

The game’s first half finished scoreless but Athletics management knew that they would have to attack at some stage and made the decision to bring Cooper out of goal and Jessica Galvin went between the sticks.

This did energise Athletic and the likes of Laura O’Sullivan, Elanna Galvin and Rachael McCarthy all began to get some possession.

However the tide turned after Cooper hit the post and Listowel Celtic finally broke the deadlock when Jackie Horgan got on the end of an Aideen Spillane pass and slotted the ball past Galvin.

One became two quickly afterwards and again it was Horgan on the end of the move. It was one way traffic now and Jessica Galvin did very well to keep out a Saoirse Kennedy effort.

But there was nothing she could do a few minutes later when Aoife Behan’s expertly measured shot went right into the corner despite Galvin’s great effort which saw her injure her hand and being replaced by Seery.

And so it ended in a 3-0 victory by Listowel Celtic but Killarney Athletic will take great heart and pride from the performance of their young side, who were without three first teamers.

Listowel Celtic: Rachael Mulvihill, Collette Foley, Maru Kennelly, Meadbh McEvoy, Dearbhla Canty, Aideen Spillane, Lorraine Nolan, Saoirse Kennedy, Leah Henry, Aoife Behan, Jackie Horgan. Subs Kiely Walsh, Margret Walsh, Noele Costello, Evelyn O’Hanlon, Eileen O’Connell and Aisling Tuite.

Killarney Athletic: Aisling Teehan, Christine Cooper, Jessica Galvin, Katie Stack, Ciara Randles, Rachael McCarthy, Laura O’Sullivan, Rebecca O’Shea, Elaina Galvin, Rachael Campbell, Amber Seer. Subs Laura Mulcahy, Fiona Galvin, Aine O’Connor, Chloe Bartlett.