Hermes II claimed their third Irish Junior Cup, overcoming a last minute equaliser to eventually win on penalty strokes over Railway Union II who were denied for the second year running at the final stage.
The opening stages were a cagey affair with Caitlin Friel having the pick of the chances for Railway Union after Ruth Hutchinson and Julie Motherway combined down the right. Yvonne Kenny saved well as did her counterpart Jill Whelan from Hermes’ first corner of the game.
The real drama, though, came after the break as the pitch opened out. Sarah Greene was becoming a stronger influence as she moved up into midfield, using her tight skills to win a corner. Aisling Keane’s straight hit was again denied.
Railway’s move to half-court press started to pay dividends, meanwhile, as they picked off possession a couple of times notably when Caoilfhionn Rowan played in Patricia O’Dwyer but the experienced Jill Hodgins got back quickly to snuff out the danger.
And from the next play, Hermes had the lead – the ball played in from the right wing with Deirdre Duke turning the ball under Whelan from four yards with a deft upright reverse. The game restarted only to stop again for the umpire’s to discuss the decision – a push alledged in the build-up – but the decision stood.
It left 25 minutes for Railway to find an equaliser, spurred on by Karen Clarke’s midfield machinations, but it did not look like it would until they were awarded a corner on the final whistle. The initial corner found a foot and Louise O’Dwyer snapped up the second corner to force extra-time.
No winner was forthcoming so penalty strokes were needed. Aisling Keane, Carol Devine and Hodgins all netted as Kenny saved to hand Hermes the title.
Hermes II: Yvonne Kenny, Aimee Jones O’Connor, Sarah Greene, Roisin McInerney, Jill Hodgins, Aisling Maguire, Roly Burke, Carol Devine (capt), Aisling Burke, Aisling Keane, Orla Lee, Sarah Woodroofe, Deirdre Duke, Shelley Sloan, Michela McMullen
Railway Union II: Jill Whelan, Louise McDermott, Gillian Heavey, Mikaela Ring, Ros Lynch, Karen Clarke, Caitlin Friel, Fiona Connolly, Louise O’Dwyer (capt), Ruth Hutchinson, Emma Sweeney, Caoilfhionn Rowan, Kate Dillon, Bebhinn Delaney, Patricia O’Dwyer, Jill Whelan, Lisa McCarthy
* For more of Deryck Vincent’s pictures from the game, click here