Killeen's extra-time strike brings cup back to Raheny
Raheny United 2 UCD Waves 1
A UCD student during the week, Siobhan Killeen became her college's conqueror yesterday by providing the extra-time winner for FAI Women's Cup holders Raheny United at Lansdowne Road.
The Irish international was tempted to join Eileen Gleeson's newly-formed forceful unit at UCD Waves during pre-season but her decision to stay put was firmly vindicated by the decisive role she played yesterday.
Killeen delivered the winner six minutes into extra-time by sprinting in from the left onto Rebecca Creagh's cushioned pass and finding the far corner, despite goalkeeper Monica McGuirk getting a hand to the shot.
It was a triumph to consolidate the Pandas' reputation as Ireland's top women's team, following up their league and cup doubles in the previous two seasons.
"This was one of the most important moments of my career," beamed Killeen.
"I hadn't scored a goal of that importance since the U-17 World Cup back in 2010.
"A lot has gone on this year and a lot of sacrifices have been made, so this makes it all worthwhile.
"I'm in third year now in college so I have a lot to be grateful to UCD for.
"I had to pick between UCD and Raheny, but I've played with Raheny all my life and my dad (Gerry) is involved, so I had to follow my heart.
"If I can get the balance right and we keep winning medals, I won't complain."
Katie McCabe brought this cracking final alive after just 14 minutes with a wondergoal of an opener for Raheny.
There seemed little danger when she won a free-kick 40 yards out, but the sister of Shamrock Rovers attacker Gary smashed the effort high into the top corner of McGuirk's net.
UCD's international regulars Julie-Ann Russell and Aine O'Gorman combined three minutes before the break to muster an equaliser. When Russell's shot rebounded off the crossbar, there was O'Gorman to swivel in an instant to finish from six yards.
Eileen Gleeson's southsiders edged the chance count in the second half, Dora Gorman's shot 14 minutes from the end that smacked the woodwork the closest they came to scoring.
Still, once Raheny regained the lead, they were calmness personified.
Noelle Murray might even have extended their winning margin in extra-time only to be twice denied by the crossbar.
"As expected, UCD started the stronger and put us under pressure," admitted victorious manager Casey McQuillan afterwards.
"It was no coincidence that we had to substitute both our full-backs because they had us under pressure.
"However, I knew once we weathered the storm, UCD would get tired and start to leave spaces.
"That certainly happened as the game wore on and I think we shaded the final in the end."
As for Gleeson, the manager of the newest entity in women's football is predicting better days ahead of her charges.
"It was a sickener of a goal to lose the final on but the girls will learn from this," she said.
"We're only four months going and they're still getting used to each other. In fairness to Raheny, they probably had the better chances but we were well in the final."
Raheny United - N Reid-Burke; K Keenan (S Newman 95), N Walsh, P Slattery, C Conlon (S O'Farrelly 63); R Creagh, L Dwyer, R Graham; S Killeen, N Murray, K McCabe.
UCD Waves - M McGuirk, C Grant, S McCarthy, K Duggan, R Carroll, D Gorman, C Thorpe, K Ryan (O Nolan 6), J Berill (E Cahill 77), A O'Gorman, JA Russell.
Ref - M O'Neill
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