East End United 1
AET - Tullaroan win 5-4 on pens
JEMMA Komar was spot on as she made sure Tullaroan had something to celebrate on St Patrick’s Day.
The full-back stayed ice-cool as she fired home the winning penalty in sudden death to help her side get their hands on the Women’s Shield and dash the hopes of East End United.
Tullaroan were first to threaten in the Derdimus decider on a weather-beaten Saturday. Sinead Burke went really close to grabbing an early goal when she got her head to Maggie O’Dea’s second minute corner, but her effort flashed into the side netting.
They had another pop at the target just a few minutes later. Katy Maher provided the opening, sending in a diagonal ball for Jen Grant to race on to, but her shot was brilliantly pushed away to safety by East End ’keeper Vivienne Holmes.
East End took their time getting settled into the game. Their best opportunity saw Sarah Dooley test Jen Russell with a close range snapshot, but the Tullaroan ’keeper got down smartly to cope with the threat.
They could, and should, have been a goal down on 15 minutes when Ciara Carroll sped through to pick up O’Dea’s pass. The East End defence froze, giving Carroll a clear path to goal, but she blazed her shot high over the bar with the target at her mercy.
That miss looked all the more costly when East End broke the deadlock out of the blue.
Jenny Brennan is renowned for her delivery from set-pieces, but Tullaroan switched off at the wrong moment. She made her trek up from the back a worthwhile one, firing in a 34th minute corner towards the back post, where Laura Dooley was waiting to head home.
The goal arrived at just the right time, as a heavy rain-shower had threatened to put a dampener on the game’s intensity.
That said, it took Tullaroan some time to get the wind back in their sails after falling behind. East End were pumped up by their opening goal and pushed hard for another as the game moved into the second half.
The hard-working Zara Brennan drove at Tullaroan, threading a great ball through for Samantha Mguni to race after, but Ann-Marie made a super tackle to deny the striker. The danger wasn’t fully cleared though, as Aisling Brennan recovered the ball and whipped it back across the goal-face, but it was a hair’s breadth too high for her colleagues to add the finishing touch.
Sigh of relief
Tullaroan heaved a sigh of relief, then hit launched an attack that led to the equaliser after the hour mark. While Sinead Burke and Ciara Carroll pulled the strings in midfield Jen Grant surged into the box, taking a knock for her troubles - but not before teeing up Breda O’Neill to fire home the leveller into the top left corner.
With both teams beginning to tire on a soft pitch chances of grabbing a winner proved few and far between. Tullaroan did go closest as temperatures started to drop, with a cheeky free-kick routine that almost paid off. Rather than have a strike at the target Ann Cavanagh rolled the ball out to the right of the wall to the unmarked Maggie O’Dea, but her looping cross that turned into a shot clattered off the crossbar.
The sides couldn’t be separated through the final half hour, or additional 20 minutes of injury-time. It was the same for the first six penalties in the shoot-out - Jenny Brennan, Aisling Brennan and Laura Dooley converted their kicks for East End, while Ann Cavanagh, Trish Mullally and Jen Grant hit the target for Tullaroan.
It wasn’t until after Caoimhe Shiel put East End in a 4-3 lead that the game began to heat up. Breda O’Neill tried to level matters for Tullaroan, but saw her kick hit the post - and bounce off ’keeper Vivienne Holmes but stay out.
Assumpta Farrell could have won the spoils for East End but shot wide and right, leaving Maggie O’Dea to send the game to sudden death. She duly did that, going high and to the left to leave the sides at 4-4.
It was agony for East End as Aisling O’Grady missed the first sudden death spot-kick, sending the ball over the bar, before cool-headed Komar stepped up to grab the winner, hammering the ball over the diving Holmes to start the celebrations.
Tullaroan: Jen Russell, Katy Maher, Jemma Komar, Ann-Marie O’Neill (Trish Mullally, 100 mins), Irene Guilfoyle, Breda O’Neill, Sinead Burke, Ann Cavanagh, Jen Grant, Ciara Carroll, Maggie O’Dea.
East End United: Vivienne Holmes, Nicola Foley (Linda Hoyne, 95 mins), Aisling O’Grady, Laura Walpole, Jenny Brennan, Aisling Brennan, Laura Dooley, Caoimhe Shiel, Zara Brennan, Samantha Mguni, Sarah Dooley (Assumpta Farrell, 37 mins).
Referee: James Dunne. Linesmen: Mitch Corrigan, Pat Conroy.