Bob Doherty U-15 International Cup: Girls in green Scot a chance
Hosts stand between Ireland and Bob Docherty Cup glory in Glasgow
IRELAND'S Under-15 Girls international schools side go into today's final-day clash with hosts Scotland in contention for Bob Docherty Cup glory.
Lorraine Counihan's side are attempting to go one better than last year's second-placed finish to the then hosts England.
Another home team stands in the way of the Schoolgirls in Green and international glory, but three positive results - and performances - in Glasgow this week has Counihan confident.
Last night's clash between Scotland and Northern Ireland - with the hosts expected to win comfortably - determines what Ireland need to do today to claim the trophy.
Following the costly defeat to England last year and a narrow warm-up game loss to the old enemy in Dublin a fortnight ago, the Irish girls overcame one major obstacle on the opening day by drawing with the holders.
It actually looked bleak at half-time on Monday as England led 2-0 in the opener, but captain Tara Manning led by example, firing home two second-half goals to seal a point that felt like a victory.
Tuesday morning saw Ireland race into a two-goal lead at half-time, against Wales, with Coláiste Mhuire, Salthill starlet Heather Payne bagging a brace. The talented right winger is elligible to play in this tournament again next year, meaning even a late Wales consolation wasn't going to take any of the gloss off this victory.
Northern Ireland were up next in game two of the week's toughest day and an impressive display by Counihan's side was capped off with a Michelle O'Driscoll first-half winner.
Speaking after the game, the manager was particuarly happy with the style of football played by a side led from midfield by Deele College starlet Tyler Toland.
"We had focused on bridging the gap with England, following last year's defeat, all year and the first day's result was a huge boost to us," said Counihan. "The manner of the result - to come from two goals down - felt like a victory and the girls have just kicked on from there.
"Every girl has played in and started at least one of the three games so far in what is a essentially a development tournament, so to get the results we have is great.
"In particular, I am incredibly pleased with the style of football we have grown into playing - especially on Tuesday and the mood is great ahead of a big game against a physical Scotland side."
Attacking full-back Aoife Lynah of Dominican College in Salthill is another youngster who is really catching the eye for Ireland in Glasgow. The Schoolgirls in Green have not won the competition since 2010 and will be hoping a positive finish to the week today will be rewarded with glory.
IRELAND UNDER-15 GIRLS: Niamh Coombes (Caritas College, Ballyfermot), Rachel Baynes (Sacred Heart School), Katie Ann Bolger Burdis (Colaiste na hInse), Amy Boyle Carr (St Columba's Comp), Bethany Carroll (Abbey CC), Tara Mary Cully (St Paul's SS, Greenhills), Sadbh Doyle (Jesus & Mary SS), Meghen Hengerer (Dominican College), Courtney Histon (St Peter's CS), Aoife Lynagh (Dominican College), Ciara Maher (Colaiste de hIde, Tallaght), Tara Mannix (Limerick), Louise Ann Masterson (Holy Family CS, Rathcoole), Michelle O'Driscoll (St Angela's College), Heather Payne (Colaiste Mhuire), Erica Turner (Rockford Manor SS), Danielle McDevit (St Columba's Comp), Tyler Toland (Deele College).