The Stirling Ladies Gaelic Football team travelled to Edinburgh on Sunday 14th October for the Scottish League Division Two blitz tournament involving Strathclyde University and Heriot-Watt University. In spite of the terrible weather, the turnout was good.
Although traditionally a 15-a-side sport, the team adapted well to the 8-a-side games they participated in. Despite the torrential rain, Stirling came out on top of Strathclyde with a win of Stirling 6-3 to 0-0 Strathclyde. The first half started off rough with the rain pouring down so hard that puddles formed on the field making it hard for the girls to bounce the ball and limiting them to soloing the ball when they travelled up the pitch. It wasn’t too long before the first goal came into play, however, and after that the rest of the scores came easy for the two forwards Christina and Emma as well as the midfielders Louise and Janelle.
Although most of the scores came from play during the second half, a Strathclyde girl pulled Louise to the ground by her jersey winning her a free kick straight in front of the goals where she took the opportunity to take the first point of the game. The second point came when a side line ball from Christina gave Janelle a clear run onto the goals and a short kick over the bar, with Louise scoring the third point from play. The defenders did an excellent job at keeping the opponents scoreless for the duration of the full match. With a few close calls, the defenders Jenna, Gemma and Scarlet worked well to keep the ball away from the goals, leaving Susanna, the goalkeeper, with little work to do during the match. Overall there was an outstanding display from all of the girls on the field in the game from the start.
It was the second match that really took it out of the girls. With the rain still pouring down, it was clear they were exhausted and had used up most of their energy during the first match with little left for the second. With no substitutes, and only a five minute break in between matches, there was no doubt from the start that it was going to be a hard match to play. With the ball only coming up into the forwards twice during the first half – from the defence line via a side-line ball from Jenna – only one point was scored. Emma carried the ball on and with a short kick into the forward line onto Christina, where she quickly responded to Janelle running up behind her giving her the short hand pass over the defenders head and giving Janelle the time to take the ball up and score the only point of the game; all done before Heriot-Watt had time to react.
The first half of the match ended up 4-7 to 1 point. With a short half time, it was a switch in the set-up by moving Christina and Louise into defence with Jenna, Gemma up into midfield with Janelle and Emma and Scarlet in forwards that upped the girl’s second half. Although the girls never had the opportunity to score, the defence tightened and gave less opportunity to Heriot-Watt to put more scores on the board.
The switch seemed to sit well with the girls as the ball was in their defence less and played outfield more. The game ended up 5-15 to 0-1 and the girls left the pitch with good spirits, not taking the loss too hard and focusing more on their first win of the day and the first win in almost two seasons. Also congratulations to both Janelle McGurk and Susanna Hein who both won the Players of the Match award for their outstanding performance on the pitch.
Stirling Uni team: Christina Duffy (12), Louise Gilmour (14), Susanna Hein (1), Emma MacGillivray (3), Janelle McGurk (9), Scarlet Pigot (15), Jenna Smith (19) and captain Gemma O’Grady (12).