Lavey boss savours ‘unbelievable’ triumph

By Niall Gartland

WHEN Lavey ladies fielded at adult level for the first time last year, they could scarcely have envisaged such a meteoric rise to the top.

Their young team claimed the Ulster Junior Championship title in dramatic fashion last Sunday with a 2-11 to 1-13 comeback victory over a gallant Dungloe side, a momentous achievement for all associated with ladies football in the club.

Speaking on Monday afternoon, the day after the night before, manager Brian Scullion described their provincial triumph as “literally unbelievable” and the entire club came together to acclaim their new heroes on Sunday evening.

“It is literally unbelievable, two years ago these girls were kicking a ball for the first time at senior level, so to get to this stage is something else. The progress they have made is fantastic.

“The club last night was packed to the rafters and we hadn’t seen that for a long time. The kids who were in attendance really enjoyed it, there was a lovely family feel to the celebrations and it was evident how much it meant to the entire community.

“The whole parish has been buzzing for the last few weeks, and for the team to be met with applause in a packed hall was unbelievable too.”

The Derry girls will now turn their attention to their upcoming All-Ireland semi-final clash away to Mayo’s Claremorris in a week’s time, a four-hour drive but it’s all part of the ongoing adventure.

Manager Scullion acknowledges that they rode their luck at times against Donegal side Dungloe – they trailed by five points at a stage in the second half, and their opponents’ radar was off in front of the posts at times – but you make your own luck and Lavey showed remarkable character in the closing stages to prevail by the narrowest of margins.

Scullion commented: “Dungloe were and are an excellent team. To be honest you could see that they’ve been playing longer than we have, their skill levels, even their tactics. It makes it even sweeter in a way that we managed to get the result against such a top side and I certainly wouldn’t look forward to playing them again.”

He continued: “They really hit the ground running and we could’ve been six or seven points down at half time, rather than going in level. Over the entire game we only hit two wides, so it could’ve turned out very differently for us.

“When they went five points up in the second half I thought it was going to be tight going to get back into the game, but we got a fortunate enough goal and that brought us back into it. In fairness we put a lot of pressure on and kept on working hard for each other, and we’re just delighted that we managed to get over the line.”

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