An exciting blitz for the Under-11 section helped to bring a successful first year for the Northern Ireland Southern Girls’ League to a close.
The league, which was formed last year with the backing of both the Irish Football Association and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council, has prompted a sharp rise in the number of girls playing regular football in the area.
NISGL has more than 30 teams competing across three age groups (Under-15s, U13s and U11s) and has attracted clubs from counties Armagh, Down and Tyrone.
The U11 blitz/tournament at the tail end of the festive season was attended by five teams on a frosty but mostly dry morning at Lurgan Arena.
A league format allowed all teams to play each other once with Craigavon City and Lurgan Town eliminated after playing their four games.
Banbridge Rangers topped the group with four wins while Banbridge Town and Annagh United were level and contested a play-off game for a place in the final. After a penalty shootout Banbridge Town progressed to set up a derby tie in the decider.
The only goal of the final arrived through Zara Barnes for Banbridge Rangers who beat the Town keeper with a well-struck rising shot after six minutes.
Zoe Knox, who had scored eight goals for Banbridge Rangers in the opening three matches, went close on a number of occasions but was thwarted by some very good goalkeeping and defending from Banbridge Town.
NISGL secretary Aaron Nelson from ABC Borough Council organised the blitz, which ran seamlessly, and the winner’s trophy was presented by NISGL vice chairperson Kelly Whitten.
It was a day to remember for the Banbridge Rangers club as their U15s also won the league cup at Lurgan Arena that day.
Image: The Banbridge Rangers side who won the NISGL Under-11 Blitz.