Lucan on brink of MGL glory

by Karl Graham

LUCAN United FC girls could tonight be crowned MGL Under-16 Premier champions for the first time as they wait for the outcome of the game between Enniskerry and Shelbourne FC.
A 4-1 win over Enniskerry last Sunday left Lucan three points clear at the top of the table after playing all their games, with Shelbourne three points behind in second. However, Shelbourne will play their final game of the season away to Enniskerry on Thursday, June 1.
Anything other than three points will see Lucan victorious but a Shelbourne win will take the destination of the title down to a playoff between the two sides.
The league campaign got off to the worst possible start for Lucan as they lost their first game 6-1 at home to Shelbourne. However, they showed great resolve to recover from that disappointment and won 10 of their remaining 11 games, while drawing the other away to Shelbourne.
“We lost our first league game to Shelbourne back in September but have gone unbeaten in the league since then so the girls really picked themselves up,” Lucan manager Ian Cassells told GazetteSport. “We played a lot of very, very good teams so for Lucan to be sitting on top of that pile at the moment is an amazing story.”
“The girls have put in a huge effort this year in terms of their work rate. We brought a structure in where we have an excellent coach in place and he is backed up by a number of people.”
The victory over Enniskerry was all the more impressive as the girls had suffered cup final heartbreak to the same team less than a week prior.
“Football is a funny game. We played Enniskerry in the big cup final on the Tuesday before and they beat us 5-0 so it was a remarkable turnaround. Sometimes one team will turn up and play to the best of their ability, and the other team doesn’t. But after any knockbacks the girls have received throughout the year, they’ve come out fighting.
“They’ve shown true grit and character to turn an extremely negative result into a positive result the next time out.”
Some Lucan players were also recognised elsewhere for their performances this year, with five of them in the MGL Under-16 academy squad, two in the Under-15 squad, and three representing Ireland at Under-16 level.
It remains to be seen whether Lucan will be crowned champions this year but one thing we do know is that this team will be competing at Under-18 level next year.
“The plan is we will take the core group to Under-18 level because all the team are eligible, but we are looking to add three or four players to strengthen the squad for next year,” Cassells concluded.

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