Upton top-ranking Insta add to Limerick’s special year with EYHL2 glory

Women’s EYHL Division 2 Final
Queen’s 3 (E Getty, A Jebb, K Ferguson) Catholic Institute 3 (R Upton 2, L Foley), Insta win shoot-out 3-2

A Roisin Upton-inspired Catholic Institute fought back to win the women’s EYHL Division 2 final following a breathtaking contest with Queen’s that went to a 3-3 draw and subsequently a sudden death shoot-out.

The World Cup winner struck twice in a big comeback while also scoring twice in the shoot-out, including the winner in round six to spark their celebrations.

For Queen’s, it was a rough end to a game they had produced some brilliant hockey in, building a 2-0 lead in the first hour with a dominant display. Like their semi-final win over Monkstown, they scored inside the first five minute with Erin Getty – a rock at the back – strode forward to slam home a heavily deflected penalty corner for 1-0.

Jessica McMaster was also in devastating form up front and she found the next soon after but the goal was disallowed for an earlier foot. Three more corner chances came and went before Alyssa Jebb provided a lovely reverse-stick finish as she peeled away to the left of the circle for 2-0.

Institute were having a rough time of it but out of not much, they forged their first chance when Upton got a bit of space on the right of the circle after a mazy run and smashed through the Ulster side’s defences.

It got them back in range by half-time and the second half produced a huge change in fortunes with Insta turning the tide and suddenly finding themselves as the dominant force. Kym Daly was somehow denied at point blank range by Sarah McCabe amid a volley of attacks.

Their semi-final on Saturday had similarly wild swings in fortunes against Trinity, dominating the game to lead 3-1 before the students went on to pile forward in a sustained 20-minute spell but only accruing one goal.

And Institute got level just before the end of the third quarter when Leah Clery and Eimear Ryan worked a flowing move into the circle and Laura Foley was on hand to finish off.

Queen’s replied quickly from a rare break-out with Koren Ferguson getting on the end of it, an accurate push into the bottom corner after McMaster’s bobbing and weaving ended with a ball into the circle.

That came with 10 minutes to go but Insta came back again with Upton’s drive into the circle leading to a scramble and a corner. She stepped up and dragged a corner into the bottom right corner, making it 3-3 in the 65th minute.

That sent the game to a shoot-out where goalkeepers were on top initially before Upton and Tori Hastings both scored in the second round. Foley reversed in for 2-1 and Insta were milliseconds from a 3-1 lead in round four but Clery’s goal-bound shot was just timed out.

Emma Kernohan tied things up in the final round for 2-2 and sudden death. There, Hastings was held up by goalkeeper Miriam O’Callaghan before chipping over under pressure. It allowed Upton the chance to win it and she stepped forward to slot in the winner.

For Catholic Institute coach Ger O’Carroll, she said her side had to hang in there during the first half when they were under massive pressure.

“In fairness, we were under an awful lot of pressure in the first half and we just kind of waited it out. It just shows the character and the side just keep going until the end. I couldn’t say enough about the players – it’s their 28th or 29th match this season and they have been fantastic all season and got their rewards this season.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride. The positive thing against Trinity was we created a lot of chances, we just didn’t take them. Today we didn’t create as many; we just had to dig and fight.”

It adds another beautiful moment for Limerick hockey this season following Crescent Comprehensive’s Kate Russell success. There is an overlap with this Insta side with some players earning Munster and All-Ireland schools medals as well as adult Munster senior league and cup titles.

O’Carroll also hailed the impact Upton has had on the side since her return to her home club having previously shone in the US and then with Cork Harlequins.

“To have Roisin there at the end, just fantastic. She does all her talking on the pitch and we just can’t speak highly enough of her. She brings that to training with a lot of the young girls; it has given an extra bounce to training and everyone improves.”

Queen’s: S McCabe, K Ferguson, J McMaster, T Hastings, A Jebb, E McStea, E Getty, E Kernohan, K Aston, M McKenna
Subs: E Gregson, M Bowyer, R Quinn, J Morrow, B Ravey

Catholic Institute: M O’Callaghan, C O’Shea, R Begley, R Upton, M Barrett, J Kirby, L Foley, Ciara Moloney, K Daly, E Ryan, R Pratt
Subs: Clodagh Moloney, A Hickey, A Horan, L Clery

Umpires: F Davitt, L Morrow

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