WNL Cup Final Report: Peamount United 1 - 1 Shelbourne Ladies (Shels win 5-4 on penalties)

Sun, Sep 24 2017

Shels celebrate their Cup Final win. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick

One of the most dramatic games of football this season unfolded before a stunned Greenogue crowd last night as Shelbourne triumphed over Peamount United on penalties in an instant classic WNL Cup Final. 


Both sides scored inside the opening 15 minutes, with Leanne Kiernan giving Shels the early lead before Heather Payne fired back for the Peas. 


The two clubs became embroiled in a fantastic contest, with both sides going all-out for the win and a number of inspired performances on both sides keeping their sides in it. 


The titanic struggle ultimately came down to the cruel decider of penalties and, after an early miss from Peamount's Niamh Barnes, Rachel Graham found the net to clinch the cup 5-4 from the spot kicks. 


The opening chances fell Shels' way with Gloria Douglas smashing the crossbar after just four minutes of play and Roma McLoughlin going close off a corner, as the Shels front three of Douglas, Kiernan, and Siobhan Killeen took the game to Peamount early. 


And after just seven minutes they got their reward when an Alex Kavanagh free kick was pounced in by Kiernan who rattled off a half-volley into the top right hand corner to give the Reds the lead. 


Peamount almost immediately hit back but Heather Payne missed a glorious free header at the back post, but they did make amends in the 15th minute when a shot from Eleanor Ryan Doyle squirmed under Amanda McQuillan in the Shels goal and Payne tapped in. 


It was nearly 2-1 four minutes later but McQuillan did well to claw an Amber Barrett effort off the line in mid-air as an electric game began to be dominated by the de facto home side, with the girls in green having more of the ball and Barrett carving out chance after chance. 


McQuillan needed to be brave to sweep up from the Peas' captain's feet one-on-one in the 26th minute, while Payne went close once more with a free effort after a good run and setup in the right channel by Barrett. 


A clever corner routine bought McLoughlin a chance with two minutes to go in the half but her shot was straight at goalkeeper Naoise McAloon as the sides went in tied at the break. 


Shels were denies a strong penalty shout early in the second half after Moloney bundled over Douglas - but just moments before the Shels striker accidentally blocked a Kiernan shot on the line. 


Ryan Doyle had the ball in the net off a clever flick on from Barrett but it was ruled offside, and a crazy start to the second half continued when Kiernan had another chance down the other end straight away, but she blazed over the bar. 


The game became more open, which suited the Shels front three as Peamount tired out, but the powerful Barrett gave them an outlet on the break and had another good chance in the 65th minute which was wasted into the arms of McQuillan. 


A last ditch effort by Ryan Doyle right at the end of normal time signalled the end of a scintillating game, and the beginning of the dreaded extra-time, where an amazing game would take yet more twists. 


Niamh Prior went close off a fee kick for Shels early on before Sarah McKevitt was shown a straight red card for an out-of-control challenge on Seana Cooke, who required extensive treatment on the pitch. 


Cooke was applauded off as the first half of extra time came to a close, and it was clear both sides had given everything. 


A wounded Shels side battled on against a desperate but never giving up Peamount, typified by Barrett, nursing a clear muscular injury in her right leg, refusing to stop running after every ball. 


Barrett and Ryan Doyle both attempted audacious chips on McQuillan from way out but the game eventually ended with the sides still tied.


2-2 the score was on penalties when up stepped Barnes, but a good save by McQuillan would prove the difference maker. 


Centre-back Graham, yet to score this season, stepped up for the Reds fifth spot kick and calmly dispatched it, breaking Peamount hearts and sending elation through the Shels bench. 


It was an outstanding final, a credit to both sides for putting on a treat of a fast-paced, passionate game throughout, but it was Shelbourne's night in Newcastle. 


Peamount United: Naoise McAloon; Lauryn O'Callaghan (Emma Byrne 96), Lauren Kealy, Chloe Moloney, Niamh Barnes; Megan Lynch (Claire Kinsella 79), Lucy McCartan, Niamh Farrelly, Eleanor Ryan Doyle, Heather Payne (Sarah McKevitt 76); Amber Barrett.

Subs Not Used: Monica McGuirke, Margaret Doyle, Jane Reddy. 

Booked: Lynch (46), Moloney (47).

Sent off: McKevitt (105).


Shelbourne Ladies: Amanda McQuillan; Jamie Finn, Seana Cooke (Sophie Watters 105+8), Rachel Graham, Niamh Prior; Pearl Slattery, Alex Kavanagh (Kate Mooney 89), Roma McLoughlin; Siobhan Killeen, Gloria Douglas, Leanne Kiernan (Fiona Donnelly 68). 

Subs Not Used: Chloe McNamee, Lynn Craven, Courtney Higgins. 

Booked: McLoughlin (50), Slattery (83), Douglas (107).

Sent off: None. 


Referee: Alan Patchell

Attendance: 200 (estimate) 

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Amber Barrett (Peamount United)