TU Shannon-Midlands and NUIG victorious in CUFL finals

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TU Shannon-Midlands and NUIG victorious in CUFL finals

It was a gala Women’s Day in the spring sunshine at Athlone Town Stadium on the third and final day of the Colleges and Universities League Festival of finals.
3rd Mar 2022

The two women’s titles were down for decision and NUI Galway took the Premier Division honours defeating the holders Ulster University 5-4 on penalties, after the game ended 1-1.

Local side TU Shannon-Midlands were crowned Division One champions with an impressive 5-1 victory over the UCC ‘B’ squad before an enthusiastic home support.
 
Women’s Premier Division
NUI Galway 1 Ulster University 1 (aet)
NUI Galway won 5-4 on pens
NUIG Goal: Ciara McManus
Ulster University Goal: Leah Robinson
 
The Women’s Colleges and Universities Premier Division Final went all the way to penalties before NUI Galway took the title, coming through in the shootout 5-4 after the sides were tied at 1-1 following 20 minutes of extra-time at the Athlone Town Stadium.
 
After each side had converted their first four spot kicks, Galway ‘keeper Abbeygayle Roynane then proved to be the hero with a brilliant save from Rachel McClaren’s fifth penalty. This gave Aoife Lynagh the opportunity to win the game for Galway and she kept her cool to beat Lexi Perry to take the title from the 2020 holders.  
 
The game itself proved to be a hard fought affair between two evenly matched sides. Galway looked the more likely side to come out on top when they got off to a perfect start, going ahead in the opening minutes. A McCall Bennion corner on the right broke nicely for Ciara McManus and she beat goalkeeper Lexi Perry from close in an early goal.
 
Galway had a couple of other chances to extend their lead in the first half but fine defending by Leah McGonagle and Rachel McClaren kept out Chloe Singleton and McManus. Mia Fitzsimons had a chance for Ulster University but her effort flew well over the crossbar.   
 
The second half had a similar pattern. There was plenty of effort but few chances were created by either side. Perry under pressure from Laney Green did well to push a high ball out for a corner and later Elle Rose O’Flaherty pulled a good effort wide. Alana Roddy might have scored from close range but Perry stopped the point-blank effort.

In the few Ulster attacks Emma McManus saw her long range shot go wide and Roynane had to dive low to gather from Leah Robinson. Ulster finally made the breakthrough in the final minutes when Emma McMaster's shot was blocked and it came out to Robinson to fire low past Roynane.
 
That goal sent the game into 20 minutes of extra-time with neither side looking likely to grasp the initiative and so it came down to the penalty shootout.
 
Eight perfect spot kicks were put away and Roynane then stopped the Ulster fifth to hand Lynagh the chance to take the title across the Shannon.

NUI Galway: Abbeygayle Roynane; Aoife Lynagh, Therese Kinnevey, Mollie Page; Bryna Milton; McCall Bennion, Emma Cian,Elle Rose O’Flaherty, Chloe Singleton, Jane Trehy; Laney Green. Subs: Ciara McManus (for O’Flaherty 53), Alana Roddy (for Cian 71), Lauren Seaman (for Trehy 95), Angle Ambrosio (for Singleton 102). Subs not used: Meabh White, Aoife O’Malley, Karen Connolly.

Ulster University: Lexi Perry; Cara Melvyn, Beth Chambers, Leah McGonagle, Rachel McClaren; Sophie Megan, Emma McMaster, Jessica Rea, Mia Fitzsimmons, Naomi Donnan; Faith Johnston. Subs: Leah Robinson(for MvGonagle 73), Lucy Carville (for Johnston 73).   
 
Womens Division One
UCC ‘B’ 1 TU Shannon-Midlands 5
UCC Goal: Kate Wibbe 
TUS Goals: Ava Gowran, Kellie Brennan, Colleen Rickard, Jessica Hennessy, Chloe McNamee pen

The large contingent of home supporters were delighted to see the Athlone based TU Shannon-Midlands come out on top in the Colleges and Universities Division One final at Athlone Town Stadium.

TUS managed to gain a comfortable 5-1 win over the UCC ‘B’ side although the Cork side did continue to remain competitive right up until the final whistle.
 
The early play indicated that UCC might have their work cut out to contain the lively TUS attackers with Ava Gowran, Kellie Brennan and Roisin Molloy all keeping the Cork ‘keeper Abby McCarthy busy.
 
Colleen Rickard went closest to opening the scoring midway through the half when her first-time effort came off the inside of the post and was cleared. However, after much sustained pressure the breakthrough finally came for TUS on the half hour when Gowran out on the left did the damage after she picked up Molloy’s fine cross from the right, to slip the ball onto her right foot and crash it past McCarthy.
 
Just when it looked like UCC would manage to shelter the storm until the break, TUS struck again in the last two minutes of the first-half. Molloy found Kellie Brennan with a well weighted through pass and she ran on into the Cork area to round the advancing McCarthy and steer the ball home.
 
It was a cruel blow for UCC after they defended so well in the opening half with centre backs Laoise Cahill Murray and Hayley Grabarcyzk to the fore. However up front they lacked any cutting edge and TUS ‘keeper Michelle Hackett was rarely tested.
 
The second half had a similar pattern with TUS constantly on the attack and Rickard stretched the lead with a third goal on the hour. The impressive midfielder Jessica Hennessy added a fourth five minutes later to put TUS more or less out of sight.
 
UCC were rewarded with 15 minutes remaining when substitute Kate Wibbe ran on to a ball over the top to shoot low past Hackett for a well-deserved goal.
The final goal of the game came from the penalty spot in the last minutes when Kelsey Munroe beat McCarthy to give TUS a 5-1 victory and the league title.
  
UCC ‘B’: Abby McCarthy; Chloe Enright, Laoise Cahill Murray, Hayley Grabarcyzk, Molly McCarthy; Sophie Murphy, Theresa Gerlich; Hannah Grimes, Saga Sthen, Noirin Lenihan; Rachel O’Donovan. Subs: Jill Schwartz (for Grimes 61), Roisin O’Flynn (for Gerlich 61), Emma O’Driscoll (for M McCarthy 67), Kate Wibbe (for O’Donovan 70), Aoife Murray (for Enright 72). Subs not used: Enya Quizi, Eirinn Casey.
 
TU Shannon-Midlands: Michelle Hackett; Natasja Merry, Chloe McNamee, Kayleigh Shine, Kelsey Munroe; Jessica Hennessy, Roisin Molloy; Laura O’Carroll, Kellie Brennan, Ava Gowan; Colleen Rickard. Subs: Leasha McHale (for McNamee 55), Elle Coen (for Brennan 55), Holly Fulham (for Molloy 67). Subs not used: Amelia Lown, Patricia Coote, Sarah Coote.