Leaders Carnmoney ladies took on 4th placed Killyleagh at home last night knowing victory would hand them the Concentrix division 2 title. As such they could be forgiven for playing a defensive, edgy game, but nothing could be further from the truth, as they scored after only 40 seconds with the first shot of the game, the ball reaching striker Hollie Johnston who calmly finished across goalkeeper Colleen Hutchinson. This settled any nerves any of the Carnmoney players might have had, and they were able to get the ball down, and dominate the game. They almost had there second after only 3 minutes, when the ball was played into Johnstons feet, and she got the shot away from the same position she scored from 2 minutes previously, but this time the keeper was able to save with her legs.
Killyleagh, who were struggling to cope with the pace and power of the Carnmoney midfield and attack, took 9 minutes to get their first shot on target, Cassie Halliday shooting from 25 yards into the arms of keeper Trish Neill. Carnmoney kept up the pressure, with tricky left winger Cathy Dunn seeing alot of the ball, and causing problems for the Killyleagh defense. This pressure paid off after 17 minutes, when midfielde Kathleen Barnes received the ball off Dunn, and played a great ball through to Johnston, who ran through and made no mistake, side footing into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
Barnes herself nearly made it 3-0 one minute later, but she could only help the ball over the bar from 2 yards out after a brilliant low cross from Dunn. Johnstons pace and powerful runs were causing all sorts of problems for killyleagh, and she nearly scored again, when she ran though, but could only drag her shot wide.
The third goal did come after 25 minutes, when Dunn ran down the line, turned, and laid the ball off to leftback Emma McGuiness, who cut inside and hit a curling, dipping shot from 25 yards, that sailed over the keepers head into the top corner with the help of a little deflection. Johnston completed a 30 min hatrick 5 minutes later, when the ball was again played clean through, and she smashed it past the keeper for 4-0.
Killyleagh managed string together a few passes, and won a free kick on 38 minutes. It was hit into the box and Clare McQuarnie hit a shot with the keeper well beaten, however it was cleared off the line due to some top defensive positioning work from the Carnmoney defence.
Carnmoney weren't phased by this, and after 44 minutes, Dunn received the ball, ran up the wing, cut inside and hit a rasping shot across the keeper that rebounded off the far post straight to the feet of Barnes, who made no mistake this time to calmly finsh to make it 5-0 at the break.
It took Carnmoney a while to get their attack going in the second half, but after 59 minutes fullback McGuiness notched an assist to go with her goal when she played a lofted throughball into the path of Johnston, who again found the net with a sure finish.
After 68 minutes it was Johnstons turn to turn provider, when she beat a player and fired a cross into the far post that two players were waiting to tap in, but it was Dunn who got there to register her first goal of the night.
On 72 minutes Carnmoney midfielder Lauren Moore, who was now playing a slightly more advanced position picked up the ball, and ran through only to put her shot just over the bar. However she got another chance 2 minutes later and made no mistake, hitting a low shot right into the bottom corner to make it 8-0.
Dunns second came quickly after, when Barnes crossed for her to smash in a great left footed volley to make it 9-0, and Moore added the 10th follwing a great cutback from right winger Cathy-Ann Lynn. At this point Carnmoney gave senior debuts to two of their U15 players, Goalkeeper Kirsten Morrison replacing Trish Neill, and U15 captain Deea Neeson coming on in midfield. It was Neeson who finished the route, scoring her first ever senior goal with 3 minutes to go, hitting a brilliant dipping shot from 25 yards, giving Hutchinson no chance in the Killyleagh net.
The celebrations began in earnest at the final whistle as the team were presented with the Division 2 trophy. This emphatic victory and the division 2 title is the sign of a healthy team beginning to see the benefits of a very good youth set up.There are six youth teams, beginning at U7's, and two senior teams, including a team n the new FIFA sponsored U17 league. In total there are around 90 players at the club of which 35 are eligible to play for one of the senior teams, and they are looked after by 10 committed coaches.
At the end of the match tonight, there were 5 Carnmoney players on the pitch that have progressed through the youth teams, and there are a further three very talented youth team players that will be eligible for next season, which points to very exciting times for this vibrant and expanding club.
report and photographs by Ben Hanna