Crusaders Strikers celebrate winning the inaugural Electric Ireland Women's Academy League (c) Stephen Hamilton / Presseye

STRIKERS ARE ELECTRIC IRELAND WOMEN'S ACADEMY LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

Crusaders Strikers were crowned the inaugural champions of the Electric Ireland Women’s Academy League at Seaview on Friday evening.

The Strikers’ Under-19 side defeated North Belfast rivals Cliftonville Corinthians 3-1 in their final game of the season. Mairead McCann opened the scoring on 16 minutes before Sasha Clare added another goal before the interval; Rachel McLaren put the game to bed and a landmark first Women’s Academy League title to the Strikers.

Anne Smyth, Sponsorship and PR, Electric Ireland said: “Huge congratulations to Crusaders Strikers on winning the first Electric Ireland Women’s Academy League tonight at Seaview”.

“The league is an important part of our wider Game Changers movement within the womens game and we’re delighted with how the first year has gone this year. We believe the initiatives we helped introduce are helping sow the seeds of future success and creating an environment in which female sporting achievements are nurtured and celebrated at every age throughout a player’s development.”

Steven Mills, Development Manager, NI Football League stated: “The Electric Ireland Women’s Academy League has been a welcome addition this season and is now a key part of our strategy in both youth football and the development of the Women’s Premiership clubs.”

“Congratulations to Crusaders Strikers on winning the Academy League and our thanks go to Electric Ireland for their sponsorship of the league and their ongoing support in development women’s football clubs in the NI Football League.”

The new six team Women’s Academy League kicked off in June this year to form a pathway for the best young female players to progress into their senior teams in the increasingly competitive Women’s Premiership.

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