All Saints battle for FAI Umbro Women’s FAI Senior Cup prize
Holders St. Francis will face their toughest challenge of the season tonight in the FAI Umbro Women’s FAI Senior Cup final against St. Catherine’s at Richmond Park (7pm), according to their manager Pat Heffernan.
Undefeated so far this season in all competitions, Francis are firm favourites to retain their crown but Heffernan is urging caution.
"There is fierce rivalry between the teams as we both originate from the Liberties area of Dublin city and derby matches are usually close," said Heffernan.
"That said, we’ve kept the vast majority of the squad who beat Peamount last year to win the first-ever senior cup for the club and they’re as eager to win it again second time around."
St. Francis’ prize for winning the trophy last year was qualification for the UEFA Champions League and they jet out to Cyprus on Monday to begin their European crusade against Rossiyanka (Russia), Maccabi Holon (Israel) and Apollon Limassol (Cyprus).
St. Catherine’s manager Br. Bernard Twomey is optimistic that his side can acquit themselves well.
"We’re the underdogs but we’ve no problem with that," he says. "St. Francis know us well because we come from the same part of Inner-city Dublin but we’re the last team to beat them which was a year ago."
Experienced duo Mary Waldron and Sandra Mulhall will lead the attack for the holders but their youthful defence, marshalled by 16-year old Rebecca Dowling, has been equally impressive this term.
St. Catherine’s, meanwhile, won’t have the services of their star striker Katie Taylor, missing due to boxing commitments, but Pearl Slattery will be involved and aiming to maintain her record of netting in every round of the competition.
The Cats saw off quality opposition along the way to reach the showpiece, knocking out Galway, Lifford and Cork.