Division Two - FinalKick Off: Thursday 9th March 2017 at 14:00
Location: The Watershed, Kilkenny
Referee: Lee Kill
Teams: Cork IT 3 vs IT Blanchardstown 3*
IT BLANCHARDSTOWN WIN 4-2 ON PENALTIES
IT Blanchardstown are the WSCAI Division Two champions after a penalty shootout concluded a drama-filled game in The Watershed, Kilkenny. Substitute Kiva McGing stepped up in the shootout to fire the winning spotkick past Amanda Budden after the game finished 3-3 after extra time.
Player of the match Eleanor Ryan-Doyle scored a hat trick to turn a difficult personal start into an enjoyable one. She netted the first penalty of the shootout, her third of the day following two in normal time.
Blanchardstown started on the front foot and could have gone ahead after seven minutes when Ryan-Doyle was sent through 1 on 1. She tried to lift the ball over Budden's head but the Cork City WFC keeper was wise to the situation and easily blocked the attempt.
Cork grew into the game and had some tidy play which put pressure on the Blanchardstown defence. This pressure paid off when Bronagh McGrath found herself in front of goal and slotted home to give Cork the advantage.
Blanchardstown tried to hit back straight away when Ryan-Doyle powered her way into the box and was brought down by Griffin that forced referee Lee Kill to point to the spot. The chance of an equaliser was sqaundered however when Budden brilliantly got down to her right to push Ryan-Doyle's attempt out for a corner.
Cork steadied the game and looked set to bring their lead into the interval when possession was lost in the middle of the park with Cork pressing high and Ryan-Doyle pounced on the loose ball to storm past Budden and knock the ball into the empty net just before the half-time whistle.
Both sides looked to claim the advantage early in the second half with Budden and Aoibhinn Conway both forced into smart saves to keep the sides level. Just before the hour mark, Blanchardstown won a free in their own half. Captain Sarah O'Donoghue sent the ball long and into the opposition box where it broke to Ryan Doyle who made no mistake.
Six minutes later, Blanch had the opportunity to put daylight between the sides when Ryan-Doyle went through again and was brought down by Budden in a contentious decision. Cork argued that the keeper had won the ball with the ball spinning away from goal from the challenge but referee Kill saw Budden's challenge from behind as enough to award the second penalty of the game. Any nerves Ryan-Doyle had of stepping up again versus Budden where quelled when she put her penalty right down the middle and avoided Budden's dive to the corner.
Blanch rolled the bench to slow the game down and nullify a Cork comeback. This tactic backfired as some Cork pressure led to a couple of corners and Megan Dennehy met Nathalie O'Brien's delivery to give CIT hope of a comeback with fifteen minutes to go. They thought the comeback had been complete when a powerful shot forced Conway into her own net with the ball bouncing out. Seeing the net rattle with the keeper landing in it sent the Cork sideline into uproar as they felt the ball had also crossed the line when the keeper got a hand to it but the linesman did not flag for a goal in a tough call.
The incident was forgotten a minute later when Roisin McGrath made certain the ball was in the net despite the best efforts of Conway.
Pushing for an equaliser, Cork got a corner with 6 minutes to go. As the ball swung into the area, Cork defender Courtney O'Keefe and Ryan Doyle both challenged for the ball and clashed heads with both players going down. While Ryan Doyle got back to her feet, O'Keefe was struggling and after lengthy treatment, was assisted off the field and took no further part in the game. Having already used their subsitute, her departure left the Munster side down to ten for the rest of the game.
Play was restarted and it took both sides a couple of minutes to regain the pace. With time running out, Cork nearly stole victory when Conway tipped a shot onto the crossbar and the ball fell to substitute Manon Leroy but she failed to direct the rebound on target with the goal gaping.
The game went to extra time and Blanchardstown were pouring on the pressure with the player advantage and Ryan Doyle and Bella Ryan both tried their luck to no avail with Budden having an excellent game. Leroy had another chance at the death but the sides could not be separated and penalties were required.
Ryan-Doyle stepped up first and gave her side the lead, Conway would preserve that advantage when she kept out Morrissey's penalty. O'Donoghue was next up for Blanch but could only hit the post with Dennehy levelling matters. Duffy gave Blanch the lead again with Budden coming out of goals for the next one but she too could only hit the post. Geraghty and O'Brien both put their spotkicks away before the chance was set up for McGing and she claimed victory for the Dublin side.
Cork IT: Amanda Budden, Chloe O'Connor (Manon Leroy HT), Chloe Murphy, Nathalie O'Brien, Rachael Griffin, Courtney O'Keeffe, Bronagh McGrath, Roisin McGrath, Mary-Kate Morrissey, Megan Dennehy, Shannon Carson.
Goals: B McGrath 30', M Dennehy 74', R McGrath 78'
Booked: A Budden 65'
IT Blanchardstown: Aoibhinn Conway, Nicole Sutcliffe (Emma Lawlor 67), Sarah Brady (Isabella Ryan 81), Kelly Tormey, Niamh Molloy (Kiva McGing HT), Sarah O'Donoghue, Shauna FItzgerald, Sandra Duffy, Eleanor Ryan-Doyle, Niamh Geraghty, Lauren Cunningham (Shauna Connaughton 70).
Subs Unused: Alannah Power, Jennifer Hegarty.
Goals: E Ryan-Doyle 44' 59', PEN 65'
Referees: Lee Kill, James Nolan, Mick McLoughlin (All Kilkenny)