CROSSING codes and counties, Crusaders Strikers FC have sponsored their player Amy McGivern – for the forthcoming All-Ireland Ladies Football Junior Championship Final.
Drumaness women McGivern spent four years on a soccer scholarship at the University of Tennessee Martin in the USA, having captained Northern Ireland U19s and represented the senior side, but she returned home in 2019.
Since then she has been impressing for her LFGA club Teconnaught, her county Down, and with Crusaders Strikers on the women's soccer scene.
When the committee of the Crues learned that Down were seeking sponsorship they decided to back Amy – not least because, as they stated, she's "still repping the Crues red and black."
Indeed, she is skippering the side in the absence of NI veteran Julie Nelson and will lead them out in the County Antrim Cup Final against arch-rivals Cliftonville Ladies.
Although she's a goalkeeper with Down, McGivern plays outfield for Crusaders, in central midfield – mostly. She had to fill in as emergency goalkeeper in the Irish Cup last week against Bloomfield.
In her regular soccer role she scored the third goal recently as the Crues inflicted a rare defeat on champions Cliftonville in the north Belfast derby, winning 3-1 at Seaview. Earlier in the season she scored twice in a 6-1 win away to Ballymena United Women. She has brought her tally of goals for the Strikers to 26 in 66 appearances.
Keeping goals out is her aim with Down, though, especially in the All-Ireland Junior Final against Limerick, which will take place in Croke Park on Saturday August 13.
The Mourne County Ladies have already defeated the Treaty Ladies in the group stages, along with Sligo and Kilkenny, then saw off Carlow in the semi-finals, with McGivern conceding just three goals over those four matches.
With the backing of her soccer side, she'll be aiming to bring the Junior trophy back to Down for the first time since the triumph in 2000 against Galway and keep it in Ulster after Antrim's win last year over Fermanagh.