Football

Steelstown set sights on an even bigger prize

The all-conquering Steelstown side, Derry senior champs and now Ulster intermediate winners Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
The all-conquering Steelstown side, Derry senior champs and now Ulster intermediate winners Picture: Margaret McLaughlin The all-conquering Steelstown side, Derry senior champs and now Ulster intermediate winners Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

currentaccount.ie All-Ireland Club Ladies' IFC semi-final

Ballinamore (Leitrim) v Steelstown (Derry)

(Saturday, Ballinamore, 1.30pm)

Steelstown finally got their hands on the Ulster intermediate title after previous disappointments and now take the step in search of All-Ireland glory when they travel to Ballinamore this afternoon.

It is going to be a very special occasion for the Leitrim side, a first competitive match on the new pitch at Sean O’Heslin’s.

They had a hard-fought victory in the provincial final, coming from four points down to edge a thrilling encounter. Key to the win were Roisin McHugh and former Allstar Sarah McLoughlin. 

Like their opponents, Steelstown were possibly a little fortunate to come out on top in their provincial decider.

Glenavy brought an intensity to that game that they struggled with for long periods, but they had Orla McGeough (1-7) to thank for taking it into extra-time.

The Derry champions were much the better in extra-time, especially the first period, and McGeough will be central to their game today. 

The four-in-a-row county champions are a very experienced side and will relish the crack at an All-Ireland again following their previous taste in 2015 at junior level, when they lost in Cork to Bantry Blues.

Aoife McGough is one of the best defenders in the game and will anchor the defence. Emma Doherty is still at her best and along with the likes of Ciara McGurk, they have players to dig deep. While McGeough will be their main score-getter, they have Dara McKeever and Aoife Collins who are equally as dangerous and Leah McGonigle, who has returned from a long lay-off. 

A very interesting battle lies ahead. Home advantage obviously will be major for the Leitrim girls on their very historic day but Steelstown will know they have what it takes to book a place the Croke Park decider. That alone will be huge motivation for the Derry girls, especially as they aim to follow what their men did back in 2022.