Shelbourne Ladies ensured UCD Waves wait for a first piece of silverware will go on after the Red defeated the Waves 3-2 in a five goal thriller at Richmond Park on Sunday afternoon.
After a brace from both Noelle Murray and Aine O’Gorman saw the sides level at the break, Leanne Kiernan’s second-half strike ensured Shelbourne quest for a league and cup double remained on course ahead of their league showdown with Wexford Youths next weekend.
As Shelbourne looked to put an early dent on the Waves ambitions, Kiernan found herself through one-on-one with UCD keeper Monica McGuirk after the forward raced onto a through ball, but despite having plenty of time to pick her target the Ireland under 17 international could only shoot wide from the edge of the box.
Three minutes later, Shels broke the deadlock when Murray fired past McGuirk from 25 yards, the forward's curling effort sailing into the top corner.
Despite falling behind, UCD hit back moments later thanks to a close range finish from O’Gorman. A lovely cross from Jetta Berrill found the forward free inside the box and she made no mistake in tapping into an empty net from close range.
Shels had a chance to hit back straight away from the kick-off, a mazing run from Kiernan saw her fouled on the edge of the box, but Rebecca Creagh failed to find the target from the resulting free-kick.
Shelbourne regained their advantage in the 28th minute when UCD failed to clear possession before Kiernan found Murray, who turned and fired home from close range.
For the second time in the game, the Reds advantage lasted just four minutes after O’Gorman calmly slotted past the onrushing McQuillan after racing onto a defence splitting pass from Eleanor Ryan-Doyle.
As half-time approached, Shels had a chance to restore their lead when a long range free-kick from Murray was knocked down to Creagh, by Niamh Walsh before Creagh attempted an overhead kick from close range. However, her effort easily gathered by the Waves shot-stopper.
When the sides returned for the second-half UCD had two quick opportunities. First O’Gorman failed to trouble McQuillan with her headed effort before the shot-stopper was forced to race of her line to deny the Waves forward for the second time in quick succession.
Soon after, UCD were lucky not to be reduced to ten players when goalkeeper McGuirk fouled Kiernan, who appeared to be clear through on goal. However, referee Deirdre Nolan only produced a yellow card.
As the side’s continued to exchange chance, Kiernan would again test McGuirk after the forward turned and shot inside the box, but her effort was easily gathered by the keeper. Moments later, O’Gorman’s long range strike sailed into the arms of McQuillan.
Shelbourne had a chance to take the lead ten minutes into the second-half when Murray’s free-kick from the right touchline was allowed to bounce in the UCD box before Sophie Watters chested the ball towards goal from close range, but her effort was easily claimed by the goalkeeper.
Shels grabbed what proved to the winning goal in the 59th minute when Kiernan slotted low past the onrushing McGuirk after the forward raced onto a lovely low ball from Siobhan Killeen, who cut inside from the right wing and found the youngster who made no mistake from 18 yards.
Shelbourne had to double their advantage with eight minutes remaining when Killeen picked out Murray from a cross before Murray’s toe poke fell to Watters, who could not get any power behind her close range shot.
As injury time fast approached, UCD had a chance of their own. Julie Ann Russell found Karen Duggan with a lovely flighted free-kick, but the Waves midfielder could only head over from 15 yards.
Moments later, Waves had another excellent chance after O’Gorman rounded McQuillan outside the box, but her touch took her away from goal and her cross low cross was easily cleared by the Shels defence.
Despite Susan Hackett heading over in injury time, Shelbourne held on for an excellent victory against a strong Waves side. The Reds will now turn their attention to next Sunday’s league playoff at Tallaght Stadium against Wexford Youths.
Shelbourne Ladies: Amanda McQuillan; Keeva Keenan, Niamh Walsh, Pearl Slattery, Dearbhaile Beirne; Sophie Watters, Rebecca Creagh, Rachel Graham, Siobhan Killeen; Noelle Murray, Leanne Kiernan.
Subs Not Used: Niamh Reid-Burke, Annie Timoney, Niamh Barnes, Kim Turner, Megan Lynch.
Booked: Noelle Murray (90+2).
UCD Waves: Monica McGuirk; Jetta Berrill, Emily Cahill, Susan Hackett, Niamh Prior; Julie Ann Russell, Orlaigh Nolan, Karen Duggan, Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (Ciara Grant 69), Chloe Mustaki; Aine O’Gorman.
Subs Not Used: Ali Brien, Sarah Clune, Susan Byrne, Catherine Cronin.
Booked: Monica McGuirk (48), Emily Cahill (83).
Referee: Deirdre Nolan
Attendance: 275 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Noelle Murray (Shelbourne Ladies)