A lethal performance from a youthful Mid Ulster Ladies side seen them put 7 past a completely outclassed Loughgall Lakers team in the Danske Bank sponsored Mid Ulster FA Cup final.
Mid Ulster who left U17 NI captain Sarah Connolly and U19 International Aoife Curran on the bench due to injuries, dominated from the outset, with midfielder Chloe McCarron once again running procedures in the centre of the park and dictating most of the play, and left midfielder Samantha Kelly looking particularly dangerous when played down the wing.
This combination between McCarron and Kelly nearly produced a chance on three occasions in the first 10 minutes, each time requiring a covering slide tackle from Lakers centre back Lynne Irvine to clear the ball to safety.
She was unable to do anything on 15 minutes though, when Kelly picked up the ball in midfield, cut inside, beat two central players using step overs, trickery and pace before dispatching a very well struck dipping shot that left keeper Megan McCabe well beaten as it went into the top corner to open the scoring.
The Lakers responded quite well to this early setback, and were able to string a few passes together and they did create a chance on 20 minutes, when they managed to get a shot away, but it was blocked by Mid Ulster captain Clare Rooney and then caught by keeper Jacqueline Burns.
Mid Ulster stepped up through the gears at this point, and got their second on 28 minutes, when forward Lyn Somerville got the ball on the right hand side, and played a square pass to her advancing strike partner Cathy Rees, who found herself in acres of space in the box and made no mistake to finish high into the top corner to double Mid Ulster advantage.
Mid Ulster didn't stop there though, and the next chance produced what was arguably the goal of the night, when right midfielder Hannah Turkington beat a player out by the sideline, cut back inside, and played a brilliant cross right across the box that Kelly raced onto and finished delicately across the keeper from a tight angle.
In the next 10 minutes Loughgall managed to play a few long balls over the top to their attackers, but each time the passes are slightly overhit, allowing Burns to race out and collect.
There were further chances for Mid Ulster to increase their lead through McCarron and Rees, who scuffed an effort when clean through and 6 yards out with an open net to aim for. The 4th goal did come 5 minutes before the break, when McCarron jinked around a player and dispatched a shot past McCabe from 22 yards to make the half time score 4-0 to Mid Ulster.
Mid Ulster were clinical in attack in the first half, and they scored as many chances as they missed, though they missed one or two pretty good ones. They showed their class, and the Lakers were struggling to match them, especially in the midfield areas, where Mid Ulster have some very promising young talent.
The started the second half as the first finished, and quickly got on the score sheet again, when Kelly again cut in from the right, ran through three defenders and dispatched a cool finish to complete her hat-trick.
The Lakers managed another shot on 54 minutes that yet again failed to trouble Burns as it fell into her arms, and she kicked the ball up the pitch to begin yet another Mid Ulster attack, which led to a shot being blocked and going out for a corner.
This corner ended up in the 6th goal, as the ball was crossed in, and McCabe couldn't hold it, and it fell to the feet no 12 Karen Dowell, who had the simplest finish with the keeper on the ground.
The night was summed up for the Lakers when their left back Sabrina Campbell mis-hit a free kick that trickled along the ground and out for a Mid Ulster throw. The next time they touched the ball was when keeper McCabe was taking a goal kick after Mid Ulster got a shot away.
A substitution for Mid Ulster on 70 minutes seen the introduction of 14 year old right back Rachel Rodgers, a promising product of the youth system coming on to make her first senior appearance for the club.
It was a positive change, and she will have something to remember as she immediately made an impact, playing a through ball that evaded two of the Lakers defenders and fell to Somerville, who took a good touch and blasted the ball past McCabe to score the 7th of the evening.
Somerville almost added another one when a good turn and shot smashed off the post on 85 minutes, but then a rare lapse in concentration from the Mid ulster defence allowed the Lakers a consolation goal with the last kick of the game when forward Rachel Kerr was taken down in the box, and stepped up to dispatch the penalty past Burns, who couldn't keep it out.
This was a fitting end to a solid season for a young Mid Ulster side, who will hope that another years experience and another trophy will stand them in good stead for the what promises to be the most competitive premiership ever next year.
Report & Photos : Ben Hanna
Claire Rooney (Captain Mid Ulster Ladies) receiving the Mid Ulster Womens FA cup from Christine Scott (Danske Bank). Included in picture are office bearers and representatives from Mid Ulster FA
The Mid Ulster Football Association would like to sincerely thank Danske Bank for sponsoring the final and Newell’s Stores Dungannon for providing refreshments for both teams.