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Railway are Irish Junior Cup champions

Railway are Irish Junior Cup champions

Paul O Brien12 May - 19:10
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Railway's Womens 2nd team capture the Irish Junior Cup in dramatic fashion at Belfield

Railway entered the final of the Irish Junior Cup against Loreto 2nds knowing that it was always likely to be a close encounter given the matches the two sides had played out in the Leinster League this season. And a close encounter was what transpired.

Railway started the game well, playing with pace and some fluency to dominate the first quarter. A barrage of attacking thrusts put the Loreto defence under pressure through the initial stages of the quarter. A Railway attack on the 6th minute saw a good driving run and neat pass through to Kate Lloyd in the circle, who turned smartly and fired a reverse stick shot past the Loreto goalkeeper to give Railway a deserved lead.

The rest of the first quarter and much of the second followed a similar pattern with Railway, at times, dominating possession and moving the ball smartly through midfield to feed the forward line. Unfortunately, we were unable to mirror the quality of build up play and possession with incisive combinations in the final third. Whilst Loreto had threatened occasionally with some breakaway surges, many of these were seen off by solid defending from Siuin Woods, Elena Quinn and Alex Gallagher, the score remained 1-0 at half time.

The second half saw Loreto continue to grow into the game and another breakaway from Sophie Maxwell saw her drive 40 yards through the left channel and score a neat goal past Jade Arundell in the Railway goal on the 46th minute. The scoreline as we went into the 4th quarter was 1-1.

Despite continued attacking runs from the Railway forwards, led by Mati Errico, Kate Lloyd and Ali O'Leary and the occasional driving run from Leah Warren and Grace Rooney up the right and good midfield pivot play from Charlotte Walsh, we couldn't force the ball past the Loreto goalkeeper in the 4th quarter. The final hooter sounded. One all and we were heading for the 1v1 penalty shoot out.

Kate Lloyd was first up for Railway and her effort was saved. But wait .... a technical error from the table in not starting the countdown timer meant Kate had a second chance opportunity. And she didn't let that slip as she converted to put Railway in the lead. Misses from Loreto and then Railway (Hannah Rooney) were followed by a goal from Isabelle Kealy to bring the score back to 1-1 in the shoot out.

Mati was up next and whilst her effort was saved, she was awarded a retake as the Loreto goalkeeper was penalised for a back stick infringement. Just like Lloydy, Mati did not let the second chance opportunity go a-begging and she scored to put Railway back into the lead.

Mollie Lennon then scored for Loreto to level things and a miss from Leah Warren followed by a goal from Ella Pasley for Loreto meant that Claudia Coyne had to score for Railway or else the trophy was going to Loreto. That she did, cooly shifting the ball onto her reverse stick and beating the keeper. We were heading to sudden death !

Loreto missed their first attempt and Claudia stepped forward once again. Whilst she managed to replicate the moves to score again, this time it was not allowed as the 8 second timer (now a hand help stopwatch as the countdown clock had again malfunctioned) had run out. Still 3-3.

Mollie Lennon scored again for Loreto and now the pressure was on Mati Errico to score to keep Railway's hopes alive. And she did. 4-4.

Ella Pasley repeated her scoring technique from earlier to score once again and the weight of expectation now rested on the shoulders of Kate Lloyd. Could she cope. Why of course, and she slotted confidently home to bring the score to 5-5.

Katie Dunne stepped forward for Loreto and whilst her effort was saved, the intervention of the technical team was once again the talk of the shoot out as the umpires ruled a retake, citing a backstick foul by Jade in the Railway goal. Jade was not to be thwarted though, as she saved the second effort by the Loreto player and now Railway had a chance for glory.

Up stepped Co-Captain Hannah Rooney and with a drift one way and then the other, she finished past the Loreto goalkeeper on the reverse stick and that was it. All over. Railway Union were Irish Junior Cup Champions for the sixth time, and the fourth time in the past 13 years.

Congratulations to all the squad and to the coaching team, led by Rob Devlin and supported by Tom O'Donoghue and to the team managers of Dervilla Niall, Roisin Carroll and Maura Rooney.

Cup Final Team: Jade Arundell (GK); Siúin Woods (C); Grace Rooney; Kate Lloyd; Hannah Rooney [C]; Claudia Coyne; Matilde Errico; Ali O’Leary; Aoife Sexton; Elena Quinn; Charlotte Walsh; Zara Delany; Alex Gallagher; Jessica McConn-Walsh; Gile Martin; Leah Warren; Sophie Kennedy; Ellen Hiles

And to the reserve players and those who contributed to the Irish Junior Cup success over this season: Sally Traynor; Maedhbh leRoux; Ailish Long; Jenny Long and Clodagh Ferry

Further reading