Women’s Irish Junior Cup final
Old Alex 0 Pembroke Wanderers 3 (T Wensley, R Scott, A De Jong).
Pembroke II produced a breathtaking first half performance to land the women’s Irish Junior Cup for a tenth time on a hectic weekend of three finals for the Ballsbridge club.
It put them in great shape and they were able to keep Alex at bay to conclude last year’s campaign and simultaneously set themselves up for the new season in style.
“It means so much to us,” said Pembroke Wanderers co-captain Anouk De Jong. “We’ve been working super hard and it just feels amazing to finally win it. The team has done everything we could, we’ve been training so hard after the long break, they’re so fit, so eager, so disciplined. I think we deserved it.”
It could have been very different, however, when Alex struck the post within a minute of tip off when Mikayla Power cut in from the left and her shot was tipped goalward.
Pembroke replied in kind, drawing a great stop from Caroline Nugent from a corner before they went ahead via Tori Wensley, finishing off when Rachel Scott whacked the ball into the heart of the D.
Some lovely interceptions from Robyn Heatherington and Elaine Thompson saw possession continue to switch back and forward in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
An Alex corner was thwarted as the Pembroke defence prevented Ellen Hood from finding a team mate with a clearer shot on the goal. Pembroke’s Fiona O’Donovan was immediately on the attack after this, getting right up to the Old Alex circle before Fiona Walshe managed to keep her out.
Katie O’Byrne and Rachel O’Brien worked well together to challenge Old Alex again before being intercepted by Rachel Hinkson to leave the gap at one at the quarter-time break.
Pembroke duly went into overdrive in the second quarter. Scott was on hand to nick the ball and passed to Emma Keilthy who entered the Old Alex circle.
Keilthy skilfully moved around Ella Healy and passed back to Scott who managed to get the ball past Old Alex’s Caroline Nugent who had moved off her line. De Jong put her side further into dreamland from another corner, 3-0 at half-time.
The second half was marked by a number of chances for Old Alex in particular with several penalty corners. However, Pert and the Pembroke defence forced them away from the goal.
Old Alex continued to press throughout the second half, fighting the whole way to the end to get on the scoreboard but it was not to be and Pembroke had the title back in their trophy cabinet.
“We were sharp we were on the ball and we got the job done,” said co-captain Fiona O’Donovan, “It’s a credit to Simon [Thornton], Kristian [Mansfield] and the girls. We were ready for it and we are ready for the start of the season. It was great to do it under the unusual circumstances.”
Old Alex: C Nugent, L Noble, E Hood, A Maher, J Leyden, L Power, F Walshe, N Dockery, R Heatherington, A Heatherington, Y Rogers, M Power, G Dunlop, R Hinkson, S O’Mahony Gilsenan, E Healy, A Sadlier, C Crampton.
Pembroke Wanderers: L Pert, C Devane, C Byrne, A Purcell, L Johnson, F O’Donovan, S Daly, K McErlean, E Thompson, C Hill, N Douglas, E Keilthy, R O’Brien, T Wensley, A De Jong, R Scott, K O’Byrne, J Beatty, E Pasley, A Lynch.