Home-town star Shine finds winning spark to end City's Cup drought
Cork City 1 UCD Waves 0
Clare Shine had tasted FAI Cup glory before but clinching the trophy for her native Cork City yesterday represented the highpoint of her burgeoning career.
The Ireland international striker notched the only goal of the final at Lansdowne Road against favourites UCD Waves to bring the trophy to Leeside for the first time.
Still only 22, Shine has been on the radar of women's football followers since she entered her teens and made the brave decision almost a year ago to quit a full-time career abroad.
While Shine was banging in goals for Glasgow City, including in a Scottish Cup final, life off the pitch was a struggle.
Many of her peers such as Denise O'Sullivan and Katie McCabe are globetrotting in pursuit of their ambitions but, right now, Cork is the epicentre of Shine's footballing world.
She may be deemed an amateur and relies on babysitting duties for her income yet contentment is her priority. Shine even believes she can work her way back into the Ireland squad without having to emigrate for a second time.
"I needed to come home for various reasons," Shine explained after her 34th-minute poacher's goal proved the difference against UCD Waves.
"It probably wouldn't have happened only for the belief I had in this Cork City team and the management.
"I had won this trophy before with Raheny United but this is special. I've grown up with these girls and so the scenes at full-time were very emotional after a tough year.
"I'm very content at the moment so I won't rush into any decision about my future without discussing it with my family.
"I've spoken to Ireland manager Colin Bell about my situation and know there's a lot of work involved. For now, though, I just want to celebrate this trophy."
Shine and her team-mates had every reason to get the party started on an epic day for the Rebel County. They'd failed to score a goal or earn a point off UCD in their three league meetings this season but were rewarded yesterday for a blistering start.
Dribble A hint of what was to follow emerged on 28 minutes when Shine got behind the Students' defence only to float her shot over the crossbar.
She wouldn't be denied, however, six minutes later. Katie McCarthy's through-ball wasn't dealt with by Emily Cahill, providing Shine with the space to dribble past goalkeeper Brooke Dunne and cut the ball into the far corner from a tight angle.
Cork's defence remained solid after the break, their only blip arriving 22 minutes from the end when goalkeeper Amanda Budden's misdirected clearance presented Catherine Cronin with an open goal. The winger couldn't keep her lob on target, much to Budden's relief.
CORK CITY WFC - A Budden; D Burke, C McNamara M Duncliffe, N O'Toole; K O'Donovan (C Dring 64), K McCarthy; S Ronan (L Kelly 83), M Bourque, D Sheehy; C Shine.
UCD WAVES - B Dunne; A Dunbar (S Gaynor 90), C Walsh, E Cahill, R Carroll; C Mustaki, K Duggan; C Cronin, D Beirne (T O'Gorman 83), A Dunbar; K Letmon (N Chemaou 64).
REF - P Brady (Dublin)