25 March 2017
UCC claimed the WSCAI Intervarsities Plate with a 4-1 victory over IT Sligo. In an excellent contest for spectators in the southern sunshine, player of the match Amy O'Connor dazzled for the Cork side and played a part in all the goals. The match was the final game for UCC Head Coach Paul Dunton who stepped down afterwards following seven years in charge of the Cork side.
The game was only a couple of minutes old when the ball fell to O'Connor just inside the wide outside of the box. She twisted the defender inside out and squared the ball for her strike partner and captain Ellie Stritch to fire the Munster side in to an early lead. The lead was soon doubled in a matter of a couple of minutes when a corner was swung into the goalmouth and ricocheted off a defender and into the net.
With only eight minutes gone in the contest, it was an ominous task for Sligo to get back into the game as UCC were squeezing them into their own half with the likes of Rachel Kearns and Amber Lynch not afforded an inch thanks to the exceptional work rate of deep midfielder Katie McCarthy and centre-half Ciara McNamara excellently reading the attempts of Sligo to try and counter.
At the midway point of the first half, O'Connor was in the fray once more as she drove into the box and past defender Kathy McLaughlin who stuck out a leg and took the forward down. This allowed Lauren Murphy to coolly stroke home the resulting spotkick and make it 3-0 to the Reds.
It was do or die at this point for Sligo and they started to bring Northern Ireland international Catherine Hyndman into the game out on the wing. Her cross was only half-cleared and fell to Denise McGrath who curled the ball into the top corner of Eve Badana's goal to give Sligo a glimmer of hope.
The second half was a more competitive battle and both sides had chances to score with Hyndman finding openings but failing to properly trouble Badana and Leanne Mullins had a glaring miss with the goal at her mercy to kill off the game.
Time was running out for Emma Mullin's North West side and as they lumped bodies forward, they became increasing susceptible to the counter-attack. This resulted in the final nail in the coffin as O'Connor sped away in stoppage time and through on goal to cap off a memorable day with a richly deserved goal.
UCC: Badana, Coffey, Brady (Connors 87), McNamara, Aherne, McCarthy, Mullins (O'Driscoll 72), Looney (Henry 85), O'Connor, Stritch (O'Connell HT), Murphy.
Subs Unused: O'Shea, Wong, Redmond.
IT Sligo: Bresnihan, Kelly, Regan, K McLaughlin, Barrett, Boles, McGrath, Kearns, Lynch, King, Hyndman.
Subs Unused: Muldwoney, E McLaughlin, Munnelly, Dykes, O'Reilly
Referee: A O'Connell (Cork)
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