Cup glory for the Ladies 5ths
Sunday 7th of April had been marked in the diaries many weeks in advance. Despite being so close, we had been deprived league promotion. All minds were now focused on the cup final. Inspirational quotes, personal motivational song choices and even video clips of Al Pacino’s renowned “Inches” speech in ‘Any Given Sunday’ had all been circulated within the team.
Having watched the 2nds IJC victory in UCD, we made our way to Three Rock Rovers. Every single one of us defiant in the knowledge that we were not going to be the team that lost. Having spent the majority of the morning practicing short corners, excitement now waned and pressure mounted. The warm up, led by Coaches David Loughrey and David Molloy wasn’t just physical, it was mental as well. Our heads were firmly in the game. We were not leaving the grounds empty handed.
Muckross were a dynamic team and had topped their division. However they weren’t the only energetic and enthusiastic team on the pitch. It was going to be hard to call a winner. Both teams weren’t going down without a fight. It was end-to-end. Muckross were physically strong, pushing Pembroke off the ball. However our fantastic fitness and skills coach Stuart Garrett had trained us for matches like this with his “shoulders” drill. We knew what to do – we just pushed back!
Our first goal came from a short corner. A powerful straight shot on goal by Yvonne Bell unluckily rebounded off the post but fortunately came straight into the firing line of Captain Lydia Coleman, who neatly buried it into the goal.
Our second goal came from the combined efforts of Kate Duffy (Duffy Duffy) and the courageous Clodagh Rigby who had been under the weather before the final but powered through to perform some wonderful hockey. Clodagh having made a break from the half way line weaved her way around the Muckross defence (including the goalkeeper) and passed an absolute beauty of a ball to Kate who confidently deflected it in.
Come half time, despite being 2-nil up, we were exhausted. The first 35 minutes had felt like the full 70, everyone had put everything in. Nevertheless, our physical exertion was nothing in comparison to the adrenaline that kept us going.
Throughout the second half, our mid-field were relentless as ever. Making breaks and tracking back whenever possible. We were particularly wary at the back, we knew Muckross would come searching for their comeback. With our crunch tackles, close marking and plenty of communication, the least we were going to do was make their comeback difficult.
With 5 minutes to go and after four consecutive defensive short corners which were passionately and aggressively defended as if our lives depended on it, Muckross unfortunately managed to bang one in but it didn’t matter. The final whistle blew. We were Leinster Cup Champions.
Thanks to all family, friends and fellow club members who came out to support. Can’t wait to see you all again this time next year, because next year… we’re winning the double!
Claire Seymour (GK), Ava Cooper, Chloe Halpenny, Lauren Godfrey, Ciara Hughes, Roisin Corcoran, Yvonne Bell, Avril Burgess , Ellen Flahavan, Kate Duffy, Lydia Coleman, Clodagh Rigby, Alison Pigot, Rebecca Good. Coaches David Loughery & David Molloy
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