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Mighty Mills helps Leckers to league title

Belnaleck 8-9
Enniskillen 6-8 (AET)

By Martin McBrien

Belnaleck hit 3-2 in the first half of extra time which effectively decided this epic Monday evening contest at a wet and windy Donagh.
Fittingly, two of the winners’ goals came from the game’s outstanding forward, Natnicha Mills, who proved a theat every time she won possession, finishing with a magnificent tally of 6-8.

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Enniskillen had made a flying start to the game with Lucy Gallagher’s looping shot hitting the back of the Belnaleck net after just 90 seconds’ of play.

The lead could have quickly been extended but for wasteful finishing, a trend which was to dog the Gaels’ scoring efforts throughout.
In contrast, Belnaleck were far more clinical. Mills raced through to open their scoring with a 5th minute point, then struck for a goal from the kickout.

The game’s top scorer, Belnaleck’s Natnicha Mills, eyes the ground ball in front of Enniskillen’s Livia Gallagher.

Mills shot a second goal in the 9th minute before notching 1-2 from frees, to leave it 3-3 to 1-0 by the 20th minute.
Enniskillen responded with goals from Megan Mullaly and Eve Hanley along with a brace of Kellie McAnespy points to trail by the minimum, 3-4 to 3-3, at half time.

The Gaels were again first to score on the restart, Zara McGourty levelling in the 34th minute before Mills and McAnespey swapped points. On the 40th minute Mills broke through for goal again.

That was cancelled five minutes later by Gaels’ sub, Aoibhinn Maguire who stabbed home in a goalmouth scramble.
The half ended in a welter of excitement with the sides swapping goals.

Belnaleck sub, Sam Martin, netted with her very first touch from a Mills pass but McAnespey powered through for the equaliser in added time to leave in 5-5 apiece, focing extra time.

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Enniskillen almost made a perfect start but the Belnaleck goalkeeper pulled off two superb blocks to deny McAnespey and McGourty.

Then, after Mills raced all of 80 metres to shoot and give her side the lead, Belnaleck really began to pile on the scores, after the Gaels ‘keeper, Caithlain Henderson, had saved well from Mills.

Two further Mills goals, bookending one by Orla Owens and a Kacey Gallagher point, left it 8-7 to 5-5 at the end of the first period.
A quick points by Mills on the retstart was answered by an Enniskillen 1-3. 

Dearbhla Clawson the goal scorer but the winners’ defence, with the oustanding full back Joanne Kelly held firm.

The irrepressible Mills fittingly had the final say with the last point.

Teams

Belnaleck
Emma McGahey; Mia Carron, Joanne Kelly, Eimear McGahey; Rebecca Martin, Meabh Owens, Anna Hyde; Tori Gallagher, Amy Palmer; Caitlin McAuley, Natnicha Mills (6-8, 1-3f), Eloise Boyd; Kacey Gallagher (0-1), Anna Barr, Orla Owens (1-0); Sub; Sam Shannon 55m (1-0).
Enniskillen
Caithlain Henderson; Niamh Maguire, Aoibhinn McVitty, Emily Stewart; Sky Halligan, Livia Gallagher, Leah Brewster; Kellie McAnespie (1-3,1f), Zara McGourty (0-1); Lillie Dorrian, Megan Mullaly (1-1f), Dearbhla Clawson (1-0); Lucy Gallagher (1-0), Eve Hanley (1-0), Maille Hennessy (0-1). Subs; Aoibhinn Maguire HT (1-1), Saoirse Devine HT, Emma Murphy 52m (0-1), Poppy Rogers HT, ET.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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