It was an early start for the Stirling University Ladies Gaelic footballers on Saturday 27th October. Meeting up at 9am to help set up the pitches for the Northern BUGAA 7’s blitz, where we hosted club and university teams from Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle. The day consisted of two groups where each team had three matches 10 minutes a side and the first two teams from each group (by results) went on to the Division One finals and then the second two teams went on to the Division Two finals.
It was a rocky start for the girls, losing their first match 6-4 to 0-0 to Dunedin Connolly’s - the club team from Edinburgh. With our goalie back home in Germany, Katie S stepped up to the plate and volunteered to go in goals for the first game. The girls played well and did their best to keep up with the club team who were a far more experienced team to us.
The second match against Glasgow Uni saw an improvement in the girls' performance from the earlier match. For this game it was Jenna who stepped up to go in goals, where she threw herself in full throttle and saved many potential goals. With the change in backs, the defence tightened up by marking each of their players and not letting them stray too far away. From this the midfielders were able to handle the ball more and bring it up to the forward line and after a few attempts Julie managed to score one point from 20 metres out. With only two minutes left Katie N was substituted on for Christina, where she distracted her markers attention away from play and allowed Louise to come straight down the middle of the field and score Stirling’s second point and the last score of the game, where it ended Glasgow Uni 1-10 and 0-2 Stirling.
The third and final game in the group stages was the closest of them all. After Jenna’s success in goals, she decided to stay in there for the remaining matches. We were slow to start this game giving away a few frees in front of the goals leaving it easy for the opposition to score. Both Katie and Julie charged at their markers and landed flat on their asses, but Julie stylishly kicked the ball from the ground over her markers head and into Louise’s hands where she carried it through to the forwards. It was then that Gemma needed a quick rest after getting cramp in her leg so Christina went on in her place, forgetting that she hadn’t the correct glasses on.
While this was going on Emma noticed that the opposition’s goalie had left her position and as soon as she got the ball from the other team, she headed straight to the goals and scored the first goal of the game. With a quick kick out from the opposition Emma was ready on the offensive; getting the ball and following through by adding a point to the scoreboard. With only one minute left in the game, Christina was substituted back on the field for Katie N, this time with the correct glasses. Where, with a few touches of the ball, Louise noticed she was free and passed the ball to Christina where she got the second goal, and last score of the game. This game ended up Northumbria Uni 3-7 to 2-1 Stirling Uni.
After these games the girls had a forty-five minute break where they then preceded to the Division Two semi-finals, where they lost their match against QMU 7-12 to 0-1 Stirling. This was a tough game for Stirling as Christina was punched in the face as she was going for the ball and her glasses fell to the ground in the first half. Then in the second half, when Louise contested for a ball at the same time as her opponent, she was knocked to the ground in the very last minute of the game. It was then that Christina took the free for Louise and scored a point for the team.
It was a long day for the girls and both the club president and captain are grateful for the fantastic turnout for these matches over the mid-semester break. It was a fun day overall, in spite of the losses.
Stirling: 12. Christina Duffy, 3. Emma MacGillivray, 18. Iida Friman, 19. Smith, 21. Julie Dickson, 25. Katie Nicol, 10. Katie Sharp, 14. Louise Gilmour, 7. Gemma O’Grady (Captain)