Railway Union did the indoor double as their men and women both prevailed in Galway’s Kingfisher Hall, earning a place in Europe for 2021.
They occurred in contrasting fashions with the women always in control against Muckross with the experienced campaigners Hannah de Burgh Whyte and Emma Smyth striking in the second half for a 2-0 win.
Earlier, Railway eventually shook off the attentions of a compact Galway 3-0 in their semi-final. Muckross continued their ever-improving performances with a 3-1 success to oust Ulster champions Ards courtesy of goals from Susie Cannon, Sophie Barnwell and Kim Baker.
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In the final, though, it was the Sandymount side who looked the side to beat from the outset as Orla Fox and Kate Dillon had early sights of goal denied. They could not break through before half-time as Erika Hinkson brilliantly saved off the line from Isobel Joyce in the dying minutes of the half.
The opening goal did come two minutes after the change of ends when Orla Fox slipped under her arm to Hannah de Burgh Whyte to flick in.
Lily Lloyd’s fast hands almost yielded another soon after before a pivotal minute proved definitive in the outcome of the final.
Barnwell and Hinkson combined for an overlap that ended with Charlie Flavin finishing off but the final pass had come up slightly off the floor and the goal was disallowed.
Immediately after, Fox’s free-out to de Burgh Whyte was centred to Smyth. With a dummy over the ball, she sent a defender the wrong way and then flicked in for 2-0 for a 32nd minute lead and they had enough control to carry that scoreline to the end.
The men’s final, however, was a different matter for Railway as they trailed 3-0 inside the first 12 minutes before Bjorn Daase produced a remarkable performance against Three Rock Rovers.
The German – a guest for Railway who plays outdoors for Pembroke – not only netted a hat trick in normal time to force a 3-3 draw.
He then lobbed in the only goal of the shoot-out for a 1-0 success which, in tandem with Stephen O’Keeffe’s three saves, saw the Sandymount club stun their fellow Dubliners.
Rovers had won the Leinster final a week before 14-7 and looked to be in similar cruise control after 12 minutes when Harry Morris and Ali Haughton guided home from close range.
Jody Hosking whipped in a third and when Ross Canning saw his penalty stroke denied by O’Keeffe, it did not initially seem a big cause for concern.
But Daase got Railway on the scoreboard just before half-time with a solo goal, racing all the way around the left and then back into the middle to flick in.
He won a stroke in the 23rd minute which he scored himself for 3-2 but then saw a second stroke blocked by Shane Davey deep into the fourth quarter.
And when the German’s penalty corner chance was shepherded over the endline, it looked to be game over. But Rovers played an overly ambitious free out of defence which was blocked by the first-up press. Eoin MacArthur quickly transferred it to Fergal Keaveney who picked out Daase at the right post to touch in the equaliser.
Rovers then imploded in the shoot-out, all three of their early shots causing little danger, while Daase used all six seconds to move Davey and then lob it in, earning a European ticket.
National Indoor Trophy (all at the Kingfisher Hall, Galway)
Semi-final: Railway Union 7 Limerick 1; Three Rock Rovers 10 Banbridge 2
Bronze match: Banbridge 4 Limerick 0
Final: Three Rock Rovers 3 (H Morris, A Haughton, J Hosking) Railway Union 3 (B Daase 3), Railway win shoot-out 1-0
Semi-final: Railway Union 3 Galway 0; Muckross 3 Ards 1
Bronze match: Ards 5 Galway 2
Final: Railway Union 2 (H de Burgh Whyte, E Smyth) Muckross 0