Dundalk City cup joy
Dundalk City ... 3St. James Gate ... 2(after extra time)Dundalk took possession of the Premier Cup following a fine win over St. James Gate in the Dublin Womens Soccer League Premier Cup Final at Bluebell United Park, Dublin on Sunday last.In what was a very exciting and entertaining game, Dundalk opened the scoring after five minutes when Claire Mulholland wa
Dundalk City ... 3
St. James’ Gate ... 2
(after extra time)
Dundalk took possession of the Premier Cup following a fine win over St. James’ Gate in the Dublin Womens Soccer League Premier Cup Final at Bluebell United Park, Dublin on Sunday last.
In what was a very exciting and entertaining game, Dundalk opened the scoring after five minutes when Claire Mulholland was fouled just outside the penalty box. From Laura McCartney’s delivery into the box, Claire Mulholland turned the ball past the St. James’ ‘keeper from the edge of the six yard area for a deserving lead.
St. James’ Gate responded with efforts from Linda Keogh on the ninth and tenth minute. Her efforts from the right wing just off target. A neat passing movement involving Katie Taylor, Coleen Bushe and Linda Keogh was broken up by Dundalk’s left back Jenny Mulligan to avert danger.
Dundalk answered with some neat passing of their own when following an exchange between Claire Riordan and Clodagh Mulholland the ball was slipped through to Aoife Kelly who was just denied by the advancing St. James’ ‘keeper Bonnie Smith. St. James’ moved upfield and Laura McCartney was penalised for a foul on Mary Waldron and the resultant free was fired over the Dundalk crossbar.
Dundalk Laura McCartney received a yellow card on 26 minutes for showing dissent which seemed a harsh decision compared to some of the crunching tackles put in by their Dublin opponents with Katie Taylor from St. James’ Gate escaping unpunished for an elbow to Sharon Drumgooole’s head minutes earlier.
Dundalk’s Bronagh Malone made a magnificent tackle to disposses Wendy McGlone on 28 minutes as she raced through the centre of the Dundalk defence.
The local side came close to grabbing a second goal on the half half hour following a free kick from Laura McCartney which was only partly cleared by St. James’ defence and was pounced on by Aoife Kelly who shot just over.
St. James’ were beginning to show the form which gained them promotion to the Premiership for next season and only stout defending by Dundalk’s back four denied them an equaliser.
Stacey McGlone was put through by a neat pass and had a clear run on goal, but was again denied by ‘keeper Janine Pepper at the expense of a corner. Dundalk failed to deal with the resultant corner decisively and the ball fell to Irish Under 19 international Susan Byrne who scored with a low shot to the corner of the net five minutes before the break.
St. James’ piled on the pressure before half time putting Dundalk under all sorts of pressure, with the goal somehow surviving when a back pass fell short and Janine Pepper’s attempted clearance rebounded off an inrushing attacker and wide of the post.
Just before the break St. James’ striker Wendy McGlone had a stinging shot from the edge of the area saved by Janine Pepper.
Dundalk remained pinned in their own half as the second half commenced but Claire Riordan lifted the siege with sharp play on the left wing which set up a couple of attacks for the Dundalk forwards who were struggling against a physical defence.
Pepper again saved Dundalk’s blushes on the hour when McGlone was put clean through but the Dundalk ‘keeper spread herself well to deny St. James’ the lead.
Susie Mackin replaced the injured Lynette Dullaghan for Dundalk who were under sustained pressure for the remainder of the half although the defence stood firm.
On the 83rd minute St. James’ Katie Taylor was fortunate only to receive a yellow card after a two footed tackled on Jenny Mulligan.
After being under extreme pressure for most of the second half Dundalk finished strongly with efforts from Claire Riordan and Sharon Drumgoole cleared. With five minutes remaining Ashley Duffy came into the Dundalk attack for the tiring Clodagh Mulholland and her introduction had immediate effect when a passing move on the right wing involving Claire Riordan and Claire Mulholland found her on the edge of the penalty area with her shot well saved by the Dublin ‘keeper.
Both sides had chances in the first period of extra time but neither could get the required breakthrough, however Dundalk finally regain the lead when Mairead Nixon timed her run perfectly to head a Laura McCartney corner powerfully to the net from eight yards.
That goal came just five minutes from time, but St. James’ respond immediately as Mary Waldron smashed a free kick from 25 yards into the roof of the net.
Buoyed by their second equaliser St. James’ pushed on for the winner leaving their defence exposed and long ball from the Dundalk defence broke to Claire Riordan who lobbed the stranded ‘keeper from forty yards to the delight of the large support who travelled for the match.
This was a sweet victory for Dundalk who were without flu victim Paula Coyle and Leone Carroll who is attending college in France.
There was a number of candidates for player of the match but this accolade must rest with Dundalk City and Ireland U-19 international ‘keeper Janine Pepper. She took off a succession of excellent saves throughout the game to keep Dundalk in contention. She has benefitted from the coaching skills of former ‘keeper and team coach Tommy Tasker to establish herself as first choice Ireland U-19 ‘keeper and will have hugely impressed Ireland U-19 manager, Sue Rowan who was watching.
At the conclusion of the game the Pat Breheny Memorial Cup was presented to Dundalk City captain, Laura McCartney by Irish U-19 Manager, Sue Rowan.
This is the first time that the Cup has travelled outside of Dublin with Shamrock Rovers winning the trophy every year since 1998. The Dundalk City management team of Niall Gallagher and Tommy Tasker should be well pleased with their team’s performance over the season. They have retained their Premier League status for next season as well as winning the Premier Cup for the first time.
Dundalk City; Janine Pepper, Mairead Nixon, Jenny Mulligan, Laura McCartney (Captain), Bronagh Malone, Lynette Dullaghan, Claire Riordan, Aoife Kelly, Sharon Drumgoole, Claire Mulholland, Clodagh Mulholland. Subs, Ashley Duffy, Susie Mackin, Sandra McAleavey, Eva Mackin, Grace Murray.