High five from Mackin as Shanes storm to Ulster Final
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
SHANE O'NEILL'S 8-12 BROOKEBOROUGH 1-9
THERE were five goals from young sensation Aimee Mackin as seemingly unstoppable Shane O'Neill's emphatically marched into the Ulster Junior Club Championship final, writes Richard Bullick.
This time Mackin piled up an astonishing tally of 23 points with a personal score of 5-8 as it was Brookeborough's turn to be put to the sword by the swashbuckling Camlough club, who now face Tyrone's Aghyaran in Saturday's decider.
Shane's manager Peter Lynch praised the outfit from Fermanagh for contributing positively throughout and was at pains to point out that this was a more meaningful match than the scoreline suggests.
But teams don't win by 24 margins without deserving victory and Shane's predicted place in the final never really looked in doubt from relatively early on.
They will assuredly start favourites then too regardless of any attempts by management to offset the hype.
Inevitably there will be a feeding frenzy around Aimee Mackin after another incredible individual display but the tight turnaround means the Armagh Under 16 captain can limit her talking to the pitch until after the trophy has hopefully been lifted by Shane's skipper Louise Kenny.
Including the county final, Ulster preliminary round, quarter-final and semi, scoring machine Mackin has accumulated a mind-blowing aggregate of 75 points, including 13 goals, in her team's last four Championship matches.
Blessed with genuine pace and deceptive physical presence for someone so slight looking, the Northern Ireland Under 19 soccer star is a naturally lethal finisher, comfortable going low or high off either foot.
Younger sibling Blaithin chipped in with two goals and a point on an afternoon when the sisters scored all but six of their team's 36 points between them, Moya Feehan chipping in with two points, full forward Aoibheann Jones one and sub Ciara Jones hitting the net late on.
It was Feehan who opened the Shane's account and the same player's superb pass set up Aimee Mackin's second goal after Jones had created her first. The young centre half forward had kicked a free in between as the hosts went eight unanswered points up.
Brookeborough's opening point merely stung Shane's into a further scoring spree, Aimee Mackin converting a penalty along with scoring another goal and a point while Blaithin also registered her first score.
The visitors pulled one point back but Mackin cancelled that out and added three more points including a free and one from long range before Brookeborough had the last word of the half with their third point to leave 17 in it at the break.
Brave Brookeborough had the honour of opening the second half scoring and, although Aimee Mackin inevitably replied, the Fermanagh girls got another point before Shane's struck twice through a fantastic Feehan effort and Aoibheann Jones squeezing one over from an acute angle.
To their great credit, the visiting side never stopped pushing and their efforts were rewarded with a goal and two points only for the Mackin sisters to score two goals in two minutes.
Winning was undoubtedly beyond them but stubborn Brookeborough kicked the next two points though they then missed a penalty and Shane's duly finished in style. Aimee Mackin nailed her eighth point before sub Ciara Jones and Blaithin Mackin each got goals.
As on other occasions, there were relatively few Shane's scorers but the sensational stats achieved by Aimee Mackin in particular owe a lot to the hard work of others doing their jobs effectively and good team work will be needed next time out.
However with their tremendous dynamism, incisiveness and finishing power, the team managed by Lynch and Ryan McConville - who steered Linfield Ladies to Irish Cup success in soccer earlier this autumn - will start firm favourites and should deliver on the great expectations.
Ulster final opponents Aghyaran had 16 points to spare in their semi against Monaghan opposition and the Tyrone-Armagh rivalry will add to extra edge to what at least seems certain to be a closer contest than Shane's have been used to.
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