DROGHEDA Girls kept the pressure on Metropolitan League U16 ‘A’ leaders Malahide United after they proved too strong for Larkview in Crumlin on Sunday.
The Boynesiders opened their account on eight minutes when Megan O’Connor collected possession 30 yards out and hit a screamer into the top corner, and only one minute later Romy McAvinia made it 2-0 after excellent play from Niamh O’Hart.
Abi Kierans-Fitzpatrick bagged her first goal on the 20-minute mark when a perfectly weighted pass from O’Connor found her clear and she finished clinically to make it 3-0.
Drogheda captain Amy Clarke was very dangerous in the opening quarter for the visitors, and she created a number of chances for Murray, McAvinia and O’Neill, while also being a positive voice throughout for her teammates.
Larkview had a good spell around the half-hour and would have broken through the visitors’ defensive line but for Lyndsey Horan who was able to clear a dangerous through-ball.
From the resulting corner kick Larkview pulled a goal back with a good header which left Drogheda keeper Jade Murphy with no chance.
Soon after Drogheda made it 4-1 when Aoife O’Neill combined impressively with Kierans-Fitzpatrick to score what looked like the goal of the game.
However, only a couple of minutes later Aoife’s twin sister Orla was found on the edge of the box by a perfect pass from Megan Murray. The young full-back took a great first touch and finished in the far bottom corner from 16 yards to make it 5-1 to the visitors.
Kierans-Fitzpatrick continued to look dangerous and she scored her second goal just before the break when she was found by O’Connor before dribbling past two defenders and rifling her shot into the back of the net.
Drogheda’s impressive first-half performance owed a lot to Niamh Leonard and Alisha Ajasafe, with both centre-backs helping their team to keep possession and constantly linking with O’Connor to switch play to find gaps.
Grace Martin moved back to her more familiar role of striker at the restart, and the number 10 got the rewards for all her hard work in the first half as she bagged a hat-trick, with her first coming from a quick one-touch move with Orla O’Neill, and the second a very impressive solo effort.
Martin’s hat-trick goal - her team’s ninth - came when she was found by O’Hart with a great pass and took a classy first touch, dribbled between the defenders and slotted home coolly to cap off a great team performance which brought compliments from both the opposing team and the referee.
Drogheda remain three points behind Malahide at the top of the league, with one game in hand, and their remaining two league games should prove entertaining at the very least.
Drogheda GIRLS: Jade Murphy, Orla O’Neill, Amy Clarke, Niamh Leonard, Alisha Ajasafe, Megan O’Connor, Niamh O’Hart, Megan Murray, Aoife O’Neill, Abi Kierans-Fitzpatrick, Romy McAvinia, Grace Martin, Lyndsey Horan, Zoey English.