Double glory for U-21 Celtic Cup sides

Ireland’s men and women completed the Junior Celtic Cup double with a day to spare as they added victories over Scotland to go with Friday’s 2-0 wins over Wales in Wrexham.

In the early game, skipper Brenda Flannery’s effort was the key goal as they won out 2-1 against the Scots – playing their first game of the competition.

In much better conditions than Friday’s drenched affairs, it allowed both sides to show off their skills with Scotland showing early menace to win a third minute corner.

But Ireland responded well and were ahead when Leah Ewart struck four minutes later as the tie got off to a lively start. It was a short-lived advantage as a top quality Fiona Bruce effort ensured the sides were level at the break.

The match was now developing into a midfield tustle with both sides making unforced errors but it was the greens who took the bull by the horns in the second period.

A 48th minute corner and a green card shipped by Bethan Mann proved the turning point and Flannery stepped up to score the winner.

Scotland did come close to equalising and sending the tournament into a final day, notably when Jenny Morris played a great through ball to Sarah Robertson who just failed to get the vital touch.

On the men’s side, Ireland ran up a 2-0 victory to complete a tournament clean sheet and keep the side unbeaten since 2006 at this level of Celtic Cup.

A physical start saw both sides looking to assert their dominance early on with Stephen West doing well to keep out a couple of early efforts.

Shortly after the roles were reversed with Scotland’s ‘keeper Thomas O’Kelly making a good save in response.

But he was powerless to stop Owen Magee soon after on the rebound as he coolly struck home a reverse-stick shot for the lead.

Davy Carson – with his second of the weekend – made it 2-0 with 20 minutes to go, once again finishing off a sweetly worked counter-attack move, to put Ireland in pole position.

Scotland did win a series of corners in the latter phases but their push was stymied by yellow cards to Stuart Allan and Michael Bremner.

When Kirk Shimmins was also binned, it left spaces wide open but Ireland held on comfortably enough to claim the win and the trophy.

Ireland men: Stephen West, Karl Lynch,
Peter MacDonnell, Stephen Dowds, Kirk Shimmins, Shane O’Donoghue, Stuart Loughrey, David Carson, Stephen Cole, Stuart O’Grady, Philip Brown
Subs: Nick Burns, Ben Dobson, Jeremy Duncan, Mark Ingram, Owen Magee

Ireland women: Rachel Barnett, Nicola Gray, Sarah Greene, Orla Fox, Natalie Barr, Leah Ewart, Brenda Flannery, Alison Meeke, Emily Beatty, Hayley Mulcahy, Aine Curran
Subs: Hannah Matthews, Naomi Carroll, Olivia Roycroft, Aisling Naughton, Niamh O’Connor

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