Monday 26 September 2016

Stephanie Roche: Shootout controversy was a terrible way for Cup final to end

Published 10/11/2015 | 08:15

8 November 2015; Wexford Youths WAFC players celebrate after victory in the penalty shoot out. Continental Tyres FAI Women's Senior Cup Final, Wexford Youths WAFC v Shelbourne Ladies FC. Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
8 November 2015; Wexford Youths WAFC players celebrate after victory in the penalty shoot out. Continental Tyres FAI Women's Senior Cup Final, Wexford Youths WAFC v Shelbourne Ladies FC. Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

What is supposed to be the showpiece of women's club soccer in Ireland ended in controversy on Sunday.

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After a dramatic game with late goals in normal time and extra time the game went to the dreaded penalty shootout.

Wexford Youths prevailed to claim their first ever FAI cup final. That's when things took a turn for the worst.

The debacle shouldn't detract from the game, as I believe the girls deserve credit for their involvement in a decent contest.

As Shelbourne and Wexford were setting up for the pressure cooker that is the shootout, some people were outraged to see that Cork City were starting their warm up in the other half.

Yes, it was a mark of disrespect but are Cork to blame? There was an agreement that in the event of the game going to penalties both Dundalk and Cork would share the other half of the pitch for their warm up.

Surely, there could have been a better scenario that would see the women's final finish before the men's teams took to the pitch?

There are warm up areas in both the changing rooms, so could they not have begun their warm ups inside or even better have had a later kick off time?

It was a terrible way to see the game end.

These girls sacrificed so much to get to the final and deserved to have the the pitch to themselves for the spot-kicks but Wexford should also have been able to enjoy their celebrations without feeling they were being rushed off the pitch.

The FAI and RTE have worked very hard the last few seasons to make the women's final a better occasion but I do think someone slipped up with the organisation on Sunday.

This can't be repeated again but I fear that it could mean that the women's final is not the curtain-raiser next season and the double-bill is scrapped.

Would this be such a bad thing? If the women are going to play on the same day, they should be given sufficient time to finish the game, if that isn't forthcoming, then money needs to be put into having the women's game held on a separate day. To see the game end like this was disappointing but both Shels and Wexford deserve to be lauded for the part they played in the game and a special congratulations to the winners.

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