Moville Celtic’s U12 girls head to Sligo this Sunday to take part in the regional finals of the national cup.

The Glencrow girls, managed by Donal Skelly, will fly the flag for Inishowen along with Buncrana Hearts.

It’s been an amazing season for the Moville squad, who broke the mould this year by becoming the first underage team to win the league title since girls football resumed at the club ten years ago.

Proud Skelly told the Inish Times: “It was tight between them and Buncrana as both sides beat each other, but our girls won all their other games and Buncrana drew one of theirs.

“So we knew that if we beat Cockhill in our last match we would have the title, and I was delighted when they got the victory they needed.

"They were over the moon, and for them it’s like winning the world cup.”

Skelly is a passionate advocate of the girls game, and along with coaching colleagues Orla Laird, Seamus McElhinney and Billy Doherty, he has striven to encourage young players to reach their full potential. Winning the league over a formidable Buncrana side shows just how much things have developed at Glencrow, but modest Skelly insists winning trophies is only a small part of what they’re trying to achieve.

“It’s not really about the winning,” he said, “though obviously that part is nice as well. But for us, it’s all about giving girls football and encouraging them to play.

“You see these girls coming in at nine, ten years of age and a lot of them are very shy, but the more they play and learn, the more you see their confidence build up and that is probably the most pleasing aspect of it for me.”

And he praised the commitment his players have shown throughout the season: “There were girls didn’t go on holidays with their parents because they didn’t want to miss matches,” he said, “and overall the dedication they have shown has been brilliant.

“The regionals in Sligo will be good for them because it will expose them to another level of football and show what’s ahead of them.

“There’s a lot more opportunities in the women’s game these days and it would be nice to see a few more from here following in Roma McLaughlin’s footsteps.”

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