Mayo Under 16s book cup semi-final spot
AFTER a bad start to the day, the Mayo Under 16 girls bounced back in fine style to book their place in the cup semi-final at the Gaynor Cup tournament in UL today. The county's Under 14s have progressed to the shield semi-final.
This evening, the Under 16s beat Cork 3-0 to top their group and they will now meet Galway in the semi-final tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at 3 p.m.
Mayo were quick out of the blocks and Kate O'Dowd almost had them ahead on 40 seconds, bringing off a super save from the Cork 'keeper.
Abbiegayle Ronayne tipped a fierce Cork free over the bar shortly after, and then Kate set up Alva Munnelly to fire Mayo ahead.
Ava Keane almost doubled the lead immediately after and then Alva was just off target with a well struck shot. On 15 minutes, Kate hounded a defender into a mistake and Alva scored again.
Mayo went in two clear at the break, Ronayne having to race out of her box to clear just two minutes before half-time.
Mayo secured the tie midway through the second half when Louise Dowling headed home an O'Dowd free kick. Louise almost had another when Alva played her in, firing just over the bar.
Mayo saw out the game and gained revenge for their semi-final loss to Cork at Under 14 level two years ago.
It was a sweet win and the girls showed great character to bounce back from a bad start to the day when they lost 3-0 to South Tipperary.
The girls never got into the pace of the match and didn't match their opponents' fight and tenacity. One-nil down at half-time, it meant they had to chase the game. Mayo did have their chances. Kate O'Dowd played Ava Keane in and she scored but the assistant referee ruled it out for what looked a hard offside call. A minute later Tipperary got the benefit of an equally tight call to double their lead.
A minute from time the gods didn't favour Mayo again when a foul on the 'keeper went unpunished - and it was game over.
With all four teams in Group D on three points going into the final games, it was all to play for, and the Mayo girls really produced the goods to progress to the cup semi-final.
The Mayo Under 14s defeated Inishowen 1-0 in their last group match this afternoon. The only goal arrived in the first half when Alison Long played Bria McLoughlin through, and she finished emphatically. Mayo hit the bar and post but couldn't add to their tally.
Final standings saw Carlow win the group on goal difference from Mayo.
The Mayo girls are next out early tomorrow morning when they play in the shield semi-final.