The Mayo Under 15 girls will play Longford in the SFAI Shield semi-finals.

Mayo's Under 12 and Under 15 teams reach Interleague semis

THE Mayo Schoolboys/Girls had two of its girls’ sides in action at Solar 21 Park on Saturday. Both sides were playing in SFAI Interleague Shield quarterfinal and South Tipperary provided the opposition in both games.

First up were the Edel Mullin/Rebecca Holmes Under 12s who immediately took the game to their southern opponents, attacking at every opportunity. Mayo led 2-0 at the break with the goals coming from Mollie Sheridan and Saoirse Reynolds. South Tipp rallied briefly at the start of the second half, pulling a goal back, but Mayo soon re-established their dominance with further goals from Bonnie Walsh and two more from Reynolds, completing her hat trick, to see Mayo run out impressive 5-1 winners.

In an excellent all round squad performance, Rihanna Hoban was outstanding. Mayo now have a home semi-final with Longford.

The Mayo Under 12 girls who reached the Interleague shield semi-finals after beating South Tipperary.
Mayo's Mary Ann Ward with match ball following her hat-trick in the Under 15s Interleague game

Next up was the Michael Collins/Emma Gibbons managed Under 15s, where the Mayo girls were at it from the opening minute. They were on their second corner awarded as early as the third minute when Sadbh O’Donnell reacted quickest to it and fired home. O’Donnell was just wide with an effort sandwiched between two Ursula Shaughnessy shots that went close. Ursula worked the busy visiting ‘keeper again on 10 minutes, and she brought off another good save from Aoife Collins, while O’Donnell saw her well hit effort just clear the crossbar.

Mary Ann Ward then doubled Mayo’s lead on 26 minutes with an excellent finish across the ‘keeper and she added her second three minutes from half-time with another smart finish. Such was Mayo’s near total dominance in the first half that captain on the day, Aoife Meaney, was a virtual bystander in goal.

Despite leading 3-0 at the break, the Mayo girls continued in the second half as they had in the first, playing with good pace and desire. Mary Ann was denied her hat trick by the post before she raced away from the retreating defence to finish with aplomb on 41 minutes to earn the match day ball. She then turned provider, teeing up Shaugnessy for a well taken goal which was richly deserved for the way that she led the line.

Alana Kelly and Emma Higgins both went close before Kate Byrne was denied after a great run up the inside left channel. South Tipp got a consolation goal five minutes from time to leave the score exactly the same as the earlier match, a 5-1 victory for Mayo, who now face Donegal in the semi-final.

Pearse Concannon refereed both games on Saturday. After the second concluded, Mayo League Emerging Talent head coach John Flanagan congratulated both sides on not just the results but on the quality of football that they played. John noted that the Under 15s’ showing reflected the quality running through the squad. Three girls have left for the National League and two others are currently out injured, but the opportunities opening up for other girls are being accepted big time.

He also remarked that Michael and Emma were putting in a second shift on the day having already done a session with the Gaynor Cup squad earlier in the morning. “That dedication from coaches of this quality should never, ever be underestimated,” he said.

Tom Mullin and Patrick Lambe from the Schoolboys/Girls League were there with some food for the teams afterwards, something the Mayo squads certainly appreciated.