BRÍD MCGINTY CAN STILL recall the 2012 WFAI Under-14 final against Shelbourne at Frank Cooke Park.
A first-half brace by Courtney Higgins helped Shelbourne to a 3-0 win.
McGinty’s Lagan have come on a long way since then.
Many of the players who hunkered with heads in hands after that defeated four years ago will line out at McSharry Park in Sligo this Sunday when Lagan face Castlebar Celtic in the WFAI Under-18 Cup final.
The memories of 2012 show how much Lagan have evolved.
McGinty can recall midfielder Ciana Brogan ‘just being a bag of nerves’ and ‘having to calm her down’ for that game against Shelbourne.
Brogan since been capped by the Republic of Ireland and is Lagan’s captain for Sunday’s final.
“I’m playing for Lagan since I was seven. I just love it,” Brogan says.
“We’re very excited for the final. It’s a good build up.”
Brogan, Caoimhe Walsh and Zoe Green have all worn the Irish green with Rathmullan native Green a regular in the international set-up.
“You look now at Ciana as the captain and the leader of the team – the players and the squad have really grown and matured over the last four years,” says McGinty.
“Those players bring so much experience now. They bring an awful lot, especially on days like Sunday. They know when and how to talk and can give those extra wee bits of motivation and encouragement to the players.
“They’re better able to deal with the pressure now and that definitely helps the whole dressing room.”
The likes of Zoe McGlynn, Lianne Boyce and Erin Coll have moved on from the class of 2012, but Walsh, Aoife Page, Chantel Kelly and Amanda Callaghan were added in 2013.
Lagan have a full-strength panel for Sunday’s game, one McGinty expects to be a stern test of their credentials. With Castlebar boasting Sarah Baines, Rachel Baines, Lucy Chambers and Saoirse Ludden who play for the seniors in the Women’s National League.
McGinty says: “Castlebar are coming strong, but we’re going into the game in good form.
“We were excellent against Castlebar Town in the quarter-final. We were slow to start against Douglas Hall in Dublin in the semi-final. We were 2-1 down at half-time, but I knew we were still in the game.
“It was up to us to just go and win it in the second half. We bombarded them.
“Castlebar Celtic will be a different story now. We’ll need to be on top from the start.”
Lagan’s squad trains at Boals Goals alongside their senior team these days.
“Intense with no let up,” is how McGinty describes it. Aided by Gabriel Crawford and Gerard McGarrigle, the trio take care of the players in all age groups.
“We have a lot of young girls in the club, from around six years of age. You have young girls going home now and saying to their mothers: ‘I saw Zoe Green’ at training. The young ones are all looking up to these girls
“That’s making them want to come out and train. It would be absolutely brilliant to win it.”
LAGAN HARPS SQUAD: Neve Scanlon, Alisha Lawrence, Aine Deasley, Orla Friel, Aoife Page, Zoe Green, Chantel Kelly, Danielle McDevitt, Ciana Brogan, Ciara Duffy, Amanda Callaghan, Courtney Coyle, Amy Boyd, Caoimhe Walsh, Bronagh Gallagher.Tags: