Peamount United 6 Cork City 0
PEAMOUNT United secured a Women’s National League and Cup double as they defeated a spirited Cork City side 6-0 in the FAI Cup final at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The scores were level at half time but goals in the second period from Aine O’Gorman, Karen Duggan, Tiegan Ruddy, Becky Watkins, and a brace from Stephanie Roche secured the trophy for Peamount at the expense of City, who couldn’t cap a good season with the Cup.
City last lifted this trophy back in 2017 when a superb finish from Clare Shine saw them defeat UCD Waves 1-0 at the Aviva Stadium but their last final in any competition saw them lose to Wexford Youths 5-4 on penalties at Turner’s Cross in the Development Shield in October 2018.
Manager Rónán Collins selected a familiar starting eleven that he trusted throughout the Women’s National League season which included five players from that triumph three years ago.
Ciara McNamara, Nathalie O’Brien, and Danielle Burke were again in defence while Saoirse Noonan and Christina Dring were in attack.
Becky Cassin won this competition on three occasions with Wexford and she took her place in midfield while Katie McCarthy, who created that famous Shine winner, was named on the substitutes bench.
The first quarter of the match was pretty uneventful with the Rebel Army pressing their opponents all over the park, refusing to give them any space with Cassin and Zara Foley in particular excelling.
After back to back defeats to Wexford in the 2018 and 2019 FAI Cup finals, Peamount were hoping it was going to be a case of third time lucky so they could get their hands on the silverware for the first time since they beat Salthill Devon 4-2 at Tolka Park in 2010.
United manager James O’Callaghan, who has led his side to back-to-back Women’s National League successes, stuck with his team that defeated Shelbourne 3-1 in their title decider three weeks previously.
They finally created the final’s first goal-scoring opportunity just past the 25-minute mark but after being picked out on the edge of the penalty by Stephanie Roche, Aine O’Gorman could only send her powerful shot wide of the top left corner.
Cork then had their first sight at goal but after the ball fell to her close to 25 yards out from the target, Sophie Liston sliced her half volley harmlessly over the crossbar.
Their opponents soon upped the tempo but they failed to create a clear cut opportunity to break the deadlock.
Eleanor Ryan-Doyle saw a header saved before Roche flashed a strike across the face of goal and Karen Duggan - the league’s player of the month for November - sliced a weak volley at Maria O’Sullivan as City reached the break level at 0-0.
Lucy McCartan’s incisive pass released the Republic of Ireland international in the area and from a tight angle she drilled the ball across the keeper and into the far bottom right corner.
City failed to recover and they soon found themselves with a mountain to climb as Roche bagged her and her team’s second of the afternoon.
Ryan-Doyle’s cross from the right-wing fell to Alannah McEvoy on the edge of the six-yard box. The number nine surveyed her options before teeing up Roche who cooly planted the ball into the same part of the net she hit just over five minutes earlier.
City almost reduced the deficit just before the hour but following a good move involving Cassin, Noonan, and recently introduced Katie McCarthy, Christina Dring curled the latter’s through ball wide of the right post.
And from that point, it always looked like it was going to be the Peas day as Roche, McEvoy and Duggan all went close.
With 15 minutes remaining, O’Gorman made it 3-0 with a powerful finish and Karen Duggan soon added a fourth with a header from a corner.
Eager to impress off the bench, Becky Watkins scored her club’s fifth before her fellow substitute Tiegan Ruddy completed the rout late on.
Maria O’Sullivan; Zara Foley, Ciara McNamara, Danielle Burke, Nathalie O’Brien; Becky Cassin, Éabha O’Mahony; Sophie Liston, Christina Dring, Saoirse Noonan, Lauren Egbuloniu.
Katie McCarthy for Lauren Egbuloniu (57), Laura Shine for Christina Dring (72), Shaunagh McCarthy for Nathalie O’Brien (82), Nadine Seward for Sophie Liston (82), Lauren Walsh for Ciara McNamara (82).
Niamh Reid-Burke; Lauryn O’Callaghan, Niamh Farrelly, Claire Walsh, Dearbhaile Beirne; Alannah McEvoy, Lucy McCartan, Karen Duggan, Aine O’Gorman; Stephanie Roche, Eleanor Ryan-Doyle.
Megan Smyth-Lynch for Alannah McEvoy (70), Rebecca Watkins for Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (79), Sadhbh Doyle for Dearbhaile Beirne (79), Tiegan Ruddy for Stephanie Roche (84), Della Doherty for Niamh Farrelly (84).
Claire Purcell (Waterford).