Derry were winners over Fermanagh in the U16 final in Lisnaskea.
A balanced team performance and three goals from Ballerin's Aine McAlister powered Derry to Ulster glory against Fermanagh on Saturday afternoon.
ULSTER LADIES U16 BRONZE FINAL
From goalkeeper Kate McGillian to number 15 Sarah Casey – who played as a sweeper – Derry won all their individual battles and ran out deserving winners. They were comfortable on the ball, worked for each other and always took the correct option in possession.
Pivotal to their win was a strong third quarter, led by Jeanette Slevin, that saw Derry score 2-3 during the 10-minute spell when they were down to 14 players after Eabha Mullan's yellow card saw her in the sin-bin.
Derry played with the breeze at their backs and had much of the early play. Natalie McKenna and Niamh O'Donnell were dropping back to forage for the ball. An early piece of defending by Caoimhe Dillon laid down a marker that Derry weren't going to be broken down easily.
With Casey tucked back in defence, the Derry attacking game was directed at Jeanette Slevin, Carla Collins and goal-machine Aine McAlister.
Derry registered four wides early on and threatened twice for goal. On one occasion Cara Donnelly's cross was fisted to the net by McAllister, but it was ruled out for square ball. Carla Collins had a shot brilliantly saved by Ella Jackson after Niamh O'Donnell's playmaking skills opened up the Fermanagh defence.
When Derry got the first score of the game, Aine McAlister's goal chance was blocked over the bar. After taking a pass from captain Cara Donnelly, McAlister had another shot turned onto the underside of the bar by Jackson, but the ball was cleared.
Fermanagh, who didn't score a point from play, replied with a Caitlin Duffy free and at the first water break, the sides were level.
Tori Donnelly had a shot come back of the crossbar for a dominant Derry, but when Collins kicked over to give Derry the lead again they never looked back.
Eabha Mullan and Tori Donnelly kicked Derry into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead before the game's first goal. With three minutes to the break, goalkeeper McGilligan found Eabha Mullan with her kick-out and when she kicked forward McAlister bravely fisted over the advancing 'keeper, helping Derry to a 1-5 to 0-3 lead.
McAllister opened the second-half scoring, but when Eabha Mullan was yellow-carded Derry needed to up their game. And they did.
Niamh O'Donnell and Jeanette Slevin made it hard for Fermanagh to secure the ball from their kick-outs. A free from Caoimhe Hamilton was Fermanagh's last free of the game and from the kick-out, McGilligan found Cara Donnelly and seconds later Natalie McKenna passed to Slevin for a point.
After winning another Fermanagh kick-out, Carla Collins curled over a fine score to open a 1-8 to 0-4 lead.
Slevin's run made the second goal for McAllister after 43 minutes, with Cara Donnelly passed for McAlister's third goal seconds later.
Derry substitute Erin McLaughlin added Derry's final score of the game, before Fermanagh graved a consolation goal late on, when Caitlin Duffy flicked a Hamilton deliver to the net.
Derry captain Cara Donnelly with the cup.
DERRY: Kate McGilligan; Niamh McGlinchey, Caoimhe Dillon, Erin Rose McGuigan; Sarah Casey; Rhianna Doherty, Eva Ferguson, Tori Donnelly (0-1); Eabha Mullan (0-1), Cara Donnelly; Jeanette Slevin (0-3, 1f), Niamh O'Donnell, Natalie McKenna; Aine McAlister (3-3), Carla Collins (0-2)
SUBS: Caoimhe Mullan, Sarah Heron, Grace Loughran, Erin McLaughlin, Anna Donnelly, Kaci Deery, Tara Burns, Teagan McAdams, Meave Boylan, Kate Connery, Rebecca McGrath, Dearbhla Quinn, Caitlin Conway, Molly McGuinness, Emer McGonigle.
FERMANAGH: Ella Jackson; Niamh Mulligan, Amy Clarke, Grainne McGovern; Orla Leonard, Niamh Smyth, Katie Shannon; Caoimhe Hamilton (0-2f), Alannah Maguire; Rion McKenna, Caitlin Moss, Caoimhe Conlon (0-1f); Shauna Elliott, Caithlin Duffy (1-1, 1f), Blaithin Manley
SUBS: Ella O'Flanagan, Chloe Johnston, Lucy Johnston, Eva O'Donnell, Molly O'Donnell, Maeve Mulligan, Cerian Rooney, Eimear Ingram, Anne Marie McDermott, Jasmine Smyth, Cassie Loughran, Orlaith Rice, Aoife Maguire Rachel Nolan, Paula McCool
REF: Yvonne Duffy (Cavan)
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