Larne Girls Youth Round-up: 9th February

Feb 9, 2024 | Womens, Youth & Academy

SBYL U16/17 Divisional Cup Final

Larne 1-2 Rosario

The Inver Girls fell to a narrow defeat at the Blanchflower Stadium in their cup final this past weekend. Rosario started the faster of the two teams, dominating the opening minutes of play. Once Larne managed to settle in to the game, they played the better football for the remainder of the first half and restricted their opponents to long range efforts and half chances.

Larne took the lead following some brilliant play by Zara who managed to keep the ball in play down the line and feed it forwards to create a chance for Dee who slotted home to ensure her team went into the break 1-0 up.

Rosario replied to going 1-0 down immediately at the start of the second half, running through the heart of the pitch from kick-off and finding the back of the net to make the score 1-1. Five minutes later, Rosario took the lead with a well-timed counter attack which caught out Larne’s high defensive line.

With the game now turned on its head, Larne transitioned to a back four which uncharacteristically benefitted the Inver Reds. The tactical change saw the game open up more and Larne began to regain control of the play, creating numerous chances as the search for an equaliser continued.

Despite continually knocking on the door, Rosario’s defence and goalkeeper kept knocking the Larne attacks back and in the end did enough to secure a 2-1 victory for their team. An admirable effort from both teams who had worked so hard to get to the final, which will no doubt stand the players in good stead for the future.

SBYL U16/U17

Larne 2-1 Rosario

It was a case of same opposition, same time and same place (almost) one day on from Larne U16/17s cup final defeat as the girls returned to Belfast on Sunday to face Rosario for the second time in the same weekend.

With both teams making a small number of changes, the game was played in what felt like hurricane force winds – with Larne having the elements in their favour in the first half. The Inver Reds used this to their advantage and almost took the lead via a long range effort from Mia, which the opposition goalkeeper saved right on the goal line.

It was roles reversed compared to Saturday’s cup final, as Rosario then took a first half lead with an 18-yard strike that bent and dipped with the headwind to sneak in at the near post. Larne, determined to get revenge from their cup final defeat the day prior, turned it up a gear and sent wave after wave of attack towards the Rosario defence.

Larne’s pressure paid dividends when a well-placed cross found Alix inside the box, who buried the ball into the back of the net to grab a goal on her return from a spell out of action. The Inver Reds then took the lead before half-time, a corner kick from Sophia was met in the air by Dee who looped her header over the keeper to make the score 2-1.

Facing the intense second half wind, Larne changed their shape in an  attempt to see the game out. Despite a gruelling 35 minutes in these conditions, the girls still managed to create some chances. The team saw their lead out thanks to some frantic defending and excellent saves which ensured victory for the Inver Reds.


Larne 3-1 Berlin Swifts

The Inver Reds faced adversity from the start against Berlin Swifts at the weekend due to a number of players being unavailable for selection and strong winds and rain at Mallusk Playing Fields making it difficult for the game to be played. Despite this, Larne played the game in good spirits, working non-stop and ran their opponents into the ground.

Both sides spent the start of the game trying to adjust to the weather conditions as the ball moved wayward in the strong winds. A well worked corner kick saw Larne took the lead just before half-time, an area of the game which the squad had been practising over the last few weeks and have scored from in every game so far this year.

The goal came has Erica came to take the ball short and fired a shot into the far corner, which was well saved by the Berlin goalkeeper. As the save was made, Anna Grace moved quickest to follow up on the second ball and slot home from close range.

Larne started the second half on the attack and Anna Grace bagged her brace through sheer determination as she battled through the opposition defence, shrugging off tackles and firing into the bottom corner. Berlin then pulled a goal back through a corner kick, before Anna Grace turned her brace into a hat-trick with eight minutes to go via another close range finish.


Larne 5-0 Rosario

The Inver Girls’ 2012 squad played out a comfortable victory at the weekend, despite missing some of the fluidity in their play which the coaches have accustomed to in recent months. The main positive from the game came in their team’s clinical finishing, which saw five goals scored and had been something that coaches have been demanding in recent weeks.

Despite playing in blustery conditions on a bobbly pitch, the girls were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Avannah and Gracie, who both got on the end of crosses from the right hand side to finish smartly.

The second half saw a lift in performance from the girls, but still not playing at the peak levels they have shown to be capable of in previous games. Further good finishes across the keeper from Avannah, Sofia and India rounded off a clinical day at the office for the Inver Reds, with Mia making a smart save late on to maintain a clean sheet.

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