St. Catherine's LFC claimed the 2011 FAI Umbro Women's Senior Challenge Cup title in Turners Cross today with a dramatic 3-1 victory over Cork's Wilton United.
Mary Waldron put St. Catherine's ahead in the 43rd minute before Irish international, Noelle Murray doubled the scores in the 77th minute with an astonishing volley. However, Wilton hit back in the closing moments of the game through another international striker, Denise O'Sullivan but their late comeback was short lived as Murray ended the contest with another impressive strike in the 89th minute.
In a frantic opening to the game, St. Catherine's threatened first inside the opening 30 seconds when Melissa Haughton skipped past her marker on the right wing and her dangerous cross was hit agonisingly wide my Noelle Murray from three yards.
The strong start from St. Catherine's was ominous for the home support from Wilton United as the Dublin side dominated for the entirety of the first half.
St. Catherine's striker, Mary Waldron almost opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a clever effort from 20 yards but her right footed shot went inches over the post, much to the relief of Amanda Budden in goal.
Murray and Waldron were proving to be a real handful for the Wilton United defence to cope with and Murray once again came close in the 33rd minute when she latched onto a half clearance inside the box but her powerful volley from 15 yards was just off target.
St. Catherine's finally took the lead just before half-time with a brave effort from Mary Waldron. Left winger, Amy McLoughlin swung in an inviting cross to the front post and Waldron threw her head towards the ball, beating her marker, Deirdre Callanan as she guided the ball underneath keeper, Amanda Budden.
After a dominating display from St. Catherine's in the opening 45 minutes, the half-time break was a welcome period for Wilton United and their resurgent players emerged after the break with a new found confidence as they chased an elusive equaliser.
Wilton had their very first effort on goal in the 49th minute as Laura Lynch powered her free-kick over the bar.
Irish international striker, Noelle Murray was in sensational form for St. Catherine's and she had a great opportunity to double the advantage in the 53rd minute when Caroline Thopre played a sublime through ball to Murray inside the box but Irish U19 goalkeeper, Amanda Budden was quick off her line and bravely dived at the feet of Murray to clear the danger.
In a period of sustained pressure from the Cork side, they had a number of chances to claw back an equaliser, notably when Ericka O'Sullivan swung in a dangerous corner-kick from the left but St. Catherine's keeper, Grace McAuley was on-hand to scramble the ball off the line.
St. Catherine's doubled their advantage in the 77th minute through a moment of sheer genius from Noelle Murray. The prolific striker unleashed an unstoppable volley at the edge of the box which looped over keeper Amanda Budden, giving her no chance.
However, Wilton were given a lifeline with just two minutes remaining with a goal from Denise O'Sullivan. A clever Amanda Parkes through-ball put another international, Denise O'Sullivan through on goal and she was on-hand to flick the ball past the advancing Grace McAuley as the ball nestled into the back of the net.
Wilton's comeback was dealt a deadly blow one minute later through another astonishing goal from Noelle Murray. The St. Catherine's striker weaved past a number of Wilton defender as the edge of the box and she coolly slotted the ball past Amanda Budden into the bottom corner of the net from twenty yards to seal the win for the Dublin club.
Wilton United: Amanda Budden, Lauren Murphy, Susan Kelleher, Deirdre Callanan, Sinead Forde (C), Barbara O' Connell, Susan Edmunds, Laura Lynch, Catherine Cooke, Denise O'Sullivan, Ericka O'Sullivan.
Substitutes: Stacey Higgins, Amanda Parkes, Ciara O'Connell, Niamh O'Regan, Jessica Geasley, RoisÃn O'Connell
St. Catherine's LFC: Grace McAuley, Louise Corrigan, Hannah Tyrrell, Niamh Connolly (C), Wendy McGrath, Karina Kelly, Amy McLoughlin, Caroline Thorpe, Mary Waldron, Noelle Murray, Melissa Haughton.
Substitutes: Ealish Murray, Emma Kelly, Dionne Lyons, Susan McCauley, Karen Stirling, Kim Flood.
Referee: Marie Ward
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