Sligo girls help Ballina take fourth place in Italy
Ladies Soccer Last week claimed many firsts for Ballina Town Ladies F.C. It was the first time they competed in an international soccer tournament, first time many of the girls travelled abroad, first time the team took part in the UEFA shootout, but most significantly it was first time centre midfielder Patricia Coyle picked up Player of Tournament.The invite to take part in this tournament was one of many received by the team due to their outstanding success in claiming the unique quintuple of titles last season. But after much discussion and preparation the team led by Captain Jackie Mulligan and accompanied by Manager Harry Mc Cafferty, Coach Jonathan Heffernan and two outstanding helpers in Kathy Durkin and Eithne Mc
The tournament kicked off on Friday with two teams participating from Iceland, Italy and Ireland. The Town’s first opponents were Trottur Junior’s from Iceland, some great passages of play with exact passing helped Ballina secure there first win with goals coming from Patricia Coyle and Paula Barrett to give the girls a 2-1 victory.
Next up for Ballina was Fortitudo Senior’s representing Italy, a team distinctly known for their gritty performances and inevitably they put it up to Ballina. However, the girls held their own and held out for a 0-0 draw which resulted in a kick out to decide the winner, Ballina came through on this with great strikes from Patricia Coyle, Paula Barrett and Ailish Collins but it was keeper Noreen Rolston who proved the heroine of the hour pulling of great saves to ensure the girls earned their well deserved win.
Ballina took to the playing field once again on the following Saturday first game up was Fortitudo Junior’s with Ballina easily over coming these with a 3-0 win with strikes from Paula Barrett, Rachel Doody and Patricia Coyle. Ballina’s second opponents proved a handful in Re-United, an Irish Colleges representation. They went 2-0 up within the first half but the town came out all guns blazing pulling it back to 2-1 compliments of Midfielder Rachel Doody within the first ten minutes however despite all their efforts they failed to get equaliser.
Ballina’s last group game took place on Sunday, a win against Icelandic Senior side Trottur and the girls were into the 1st and 2nd place final, but this failed to materialise as they were caught twice on the hop in the opening ten minutes two great strikes by the Icelandic’s created an uphill battle which Ballina fought well to pull the final score line back to 2-1 after Rachel Doody headed a great cross to the back of the net.
This left Ballina in the 3rd and 4th place final with opponent in Italian side Fortitudo. Throughout the game Ballina created numerous chances but failed to capture any scores which would see them claim a win, a final score of 0-0 resulted in shoot out. This time Ballina didn’t get the luck they so much deserved and endured an agonising loss with only Aine McClean scoring for the Town.
All in all the girls can be very proud of their efforts and it was no surprise when the awards were being handed out that Ballina had contenders for Player of the Tournament. Centre Back Cara Cooke and Left Winger Jackie Mulligan received numerous nominations to leave them fourth and second runners up respectfully but it was Patricia Coyle who claimed the winner on the night as she picked up Player of the Tournament on the night.
Captain Jackie Mulligan was also on hand to accept the 4th place trophy on behalf of Ballina Town Ladies F.C. team which was duly deserved after fine displays by the afore mentioned Patricia Coyle, Jackie Mulligan, Cara Cooke, Nicola Leonard and Rachel Doody.
During their trip the team also got opportunities to experience the nearby city Verona and visit Lake Garda and some Water parks which were immensely enjoyed by all involved. Now the team is back home with some more silverware to add to the cabinet and preparations underway for the up coming Super League which kicks off next week.