A late goal by striker Noelle Murray gave Raheny United a 2-1 win over rivals Peamount United in the Women’s FAI Cup final at Dalymount Park on Sunday.
Murray’s goal was the completion of a rousing comeback by the ladies in black and white after Mary Waldron made the game level following Sara Lawlor’s opener.
Peamount took the lead with six minutes played, having started the brighter side. Julie-Ann Russell fed the onrushing Lawlor from the left side and, powering into the box, she deftly shot past Raheny goalkeeper Emma Merrigan.
Raheny were by no means overrun in the first period but it the Peas created most of the chances. Lawlor was played in again with 20 minutes on the clock and should have made it 2-0, but after bursting through the middle she beat Merrigan and, to her frustration, the post too, seeing the ball go inches wide.
Merrigan’s goal was threatened again after half an hour, with Grace Murray rattling the bar with an audacious effort from distance, though the score stayed 1-0. Lawlor worked the Raheny stopper again with five minutes left in the half and would rue not putting some distance between the teams.
Raheny leveled just before the break with their first clear chance of the game, or three chances all at once. Peas goalkeeper Linda Meehan was forced into a double save only for the third rebound to be picked up by Mary Waldron who finally put the ball away to make it 1-1.
The second half started as the first began, with Raheny pushing but Peamount still looking most potent in the final third. A Julie-Ann Russell cross found Sara Lawlor just a few minutes into the half but her header was easily gathered by Merrigan.
The Peamount bar was then hit twice in the space of ten seconds after some sustained Raheny pressure. First, Noelle Murray had a great crack from 25 yards that bounced off the woodwork after beating Linda Meehan. Meehan then had to push Mary Waldron’s effort from the rebound onto the bar.
Winger Siobhan Killeen, exceptionally lively all day, nearly put Raheny ahead a moment later but pulled a shot from inside the box just wide.
As the teams tired, the chances dried up, but there was still time for the game to be decided within the regulation 90 minutes.
Noelle Murray had an opportunity in front of an open goal and delivered a finish, almost in disbelief at her luck after Linda Meehan in the Peamount goal fumbled a cross, giving the striker the chance.
The Peas bombarded the Raheny area in injury time but it wasn’t to be, and Mary Waldron lifted the cup for her side.
Raheny United: Emma Merrigan; Shauna Newman, Kate Flood, Seana Cooke, Megan Campbell; Rebecca Creagh, Ciara Grant, Rachel Graham, Siobhan Killeen; Mary Waldron, Noelle Murray
Subs not used: Catherine Cronin, Kate McKeever, Katie McCabe, Caroline Thorpe
Booked: Noelle Murray
Peamount United: Linda Meehan; Amy McLoghlin, Karen Duggan, Susan Byrne, Grace Murray; Melissa Haughton, Louise Quinn, Ruth Comerford, Julie-Ann Russell; Stephanie Roche, Sarah Lawlor
Subs not used: Emily Cahill, Clare Kinsella, Caroline Healy, Emma Donohoe, Solene Barbance, Louise Corrigan, Monica McGuirk
Referee: Adam Conroy
Attendance: 450 (estimate)
Extratime.ie player of match: Sara Lawlor