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Monday 12 Feb 2018
Strabane team secure trophy with 1-0 win in decider

Strabane’s Holy Cross saw off Belfast school St Genevieve’s in the final of this year’s Danske Bank girls’ 11-a-side competition.

Six teams from five regional qualifying tournaments advanced to the 11-a-side finals at Allen Park in Antrim.

The teams played each other once with the top four advancing to the semi-final stage of the NISFA competition for Under-15 sides. 

St Genevieve’s, who qualified for the finals as best runners-up in the regional tournaments, won all five of their group games in Antrim with St Louise’s (four wins) in second. Holy Cross and St Joseph’s Belfast also advanced to the semis with three wins each.

The first semi-final saw St Genevieve’s beat St Joseph’s 2-0, with Holy Cross defeating St Louise’s following a penalty shootout.

The final was a very close encounter with a single Holy Cross goal enough to win the trophy for the Strabane school.

Richard Lapsley, manager of Danske Bank’s Antrim branch, said: “At Danske Bank our youth partnerships are very important to us and we are privileged to support the Northern Ireland Schools’ FA girls’ 11-a-side competition for the first time this year alongside other sponsorships with schools’ rugby and GAA.

“On behalf of Danske Bank I would like to commend all the teams who played in the competition, especially the six teams who made it through to the regional finals, and finally congratulations to this year’s winners, Holy Cross Strabane.” 

The five regional qualifying tournaments across Northern Ireland attracted 27 teams.

In the first of the regional heats, at Ulster University Coleraine, Lisneal College and St Mary’s College excelled with St Mary’s eventually running out group winners. 

Last year’s winners, Belfast’s St Louise’s College, booked their place in the finals after winning a very tight match against St Genevieve’s in the Belfast/Antrim heat. 

In the Tyrone and Fermanagh heat Holy Cross showed their strength in depth with their A team having to play their B team in the final.

In the Down heat St Joseph’s proved too strong for the other teams, while Clounagh Junior High won through to represent the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area at the regional finals.

Image: The victorious 11-a-side team from Holy Cross Strabane.