Sacred Heart, Newry beat Assumption, Ballynahinch to win Ulster U20 championship crown

Newry students trailed by six points at half-time but take title with nine-point success

The Sacred Heart squad that beat Assumption Ballynahinch to win the Ulster U20B title

Ulster U20B Ladies’ Football Championship final

Sacred Heart GS, Newry 5-6 Assumption GS, Ballynahinch 1-9

A SALVO of well-worked, clinically-taken goals meant Sacred Heart, Newry recovered from trailing by six points at half-time to beat their county Down rivals by nine points and win their first Ulster title since 2003.

Playing with the wind at their backs at the St Patrick’s College grounds in Banbridge, Assumption took an early lead before Sacred Heart hit back with 1-1. But despite the efforts of a battling defence that included Sophie Keane, Emma O’Kane, Siofra Doherty, Maia Murdock, Blathnaid McCarthy, Anna McParland, and Molly Tumilty, the Ballynahinch students led by half-a-dozen points at the break.

Sacred Heart GS captain Niamh Rice accepts the cup on behalf of her school

But the Newry girls – managed by Shane McComb, Jake Magill and Ceri Magone - took control of the game in the second half in which Niamh McGinley, Lily Magee, Niamh Rice, Caoimhe Ward, Brenna McAloon and Niamh McGrath were all outstanding.

The pick of the goals was scored by Magee who rifled an effort into the top right corner and was named Player of the Match.

Sacred Heart go on to meet the Munster champions at the All-Ireland semi-final stage and joint-manager McComb says the team is looking forward to that challenge.

“We’re immensely proud of the grit and determination shown by our team,” he said.

Sacred Heart students celebrate after their nine-point success in Banbridge

“Their hard work and team spirit have been the cornerstone of our success. We’re confident and excited about the challenges ahead and we’re ready to give our best against the Munster champions.”

Jake Magill added: “Watching these young athletes grow and excel both on and off the pitch has been a remarkable journey.

“As we prepare for the All-Ireland semi-final our focus is on maintaining this high level of performance. It’s an exciting opportunity for the team to show what they are capable of.”

Sacred Heart squad: Lily Magee, Blathnaid McCarty, Emma O’Kane, Maia Murdock, Caoimhe Ward, Katie Owens Meehan, Francesca Hall, Anna McDonagh, Aoife McNally, Kate O’Hare, Sophie Fegan, Siofra Doherty, Niamh McGinley, Catherine Brown, Molly Brito, Grace Clancy, Brenna McAloon, Niamh McGrath, Aoibheann Mynes, Amy Murney, Niamh Rice (captain), Eimear Cassidy, Eimear McEvoy, Sinead O’Neill, Anna McParland, Molly Tumilty (vice-captain), Enya Hughes, Sophie Keane, Christina Rice