Adamstown shock Ferns
Great attitude well rewarded
Drive. Attitude. Heart. Preparation. The four attributes that Adamstown held in abundance for their Wexford Women's Cup final encounter in the New Ross Celtic grounds on Sunday.
Adamstown 1 Ferns United 0
On the flip side, they were also the four characteristics that Ferns United appeared to lack as they plunged to defeat at the hands of their Division 1 opponents.
The Premier Division champions' attitude towards the challenge was outlined before the game had even begun as they strolled onto the pitch just ten minutes prior to kick-off to begin their warm-up routine.
With the complacent and arrogant belief that 'all we have to do is turn up', their attitude was as flawed as their meagre preparation.
That covers attitude and preparation. Their drive and heart would also come into question from kick-off as they failed to trouble Leanne Delaney between the sticks for Adamstown in a quiet first-half.
Before the goal, it was an opening 45 shaded by the girls in illuminous green. Katie White, a strong contender for player of the game, was proving a handful between the lines, calling Ferns 'keeper Nicola Kirwan into action on three separate occasions from outside the penalty area.
Forward Edwina Whelan was also causing a problem or two with her movement, and with the intelligent Sandra Thorpe feeding the striker she was unlucky not to find the target.
At the other end, Marie McDonald and Liz Evered were combining well but with no end product, while Josie Dwyer shot too early when she was gifted United's best chance after some sloppy defending.
Then, a sucker punch. Excluding the 90th minute, it's the best possible time to score - on the stroke of half-time. Thorpe battled through two tackles before finding Chantelle Martin on the edge of the penalty area, and her strike slipped through the legs of Kirwan and crept over the line to give the underdogs a deserved lead.
Adamstown were forced to soak up a lot of pressure after the interval but counter-attacked terrifically and were extremely unlucky not to extend their lead, hitting the crossbar three times.
The first thump came moments after the re-start when Anne Marie Dunphy's corner curled directly onto the crossbar with Kirwan beaten. White smashed some more paint off the goalpost soon after when her free-kick rattled back into play.
All the while, Ferns were struggling to break down a resolute Adamstown rearguard. Captain Leona Breen was finding space but couldn't find a way past the formidable Delaney.
Countering again, Adamstown hit the bar for the third time. Chantelle Martin worked the ball across to Natasha Martin well and she fed substitute Ashling Whelan whose effort clipped the metal frame and flew over.
Adamstown dropped deeper and deeper as time ticked towards 90 and they would have felt aggrieved when seven minutes of injury time were announced.
Yet, they held firm to win the Wexford Cup. There is always a heroine in these moments and on this occasion it was Niamh Kelly who miraculously cleared her lines six minutes into the additional seven when Delaney had spilled a Breen corner.
It was Adamstown's third cup success and first since 1987. Sandra Thorpe collected the player of the match award, with league committee member Tom 'Flash' Dunne presenting the cup to the victorious captain, Leanne Delaney.
Adamstown: Leanne Delaney (capt.); Niamh Kelly, Julie Colfer, Lizzy Kent, Danielle Martin; Chantelle Martin, Katie White, Anne Marie Dunphy, Sandra Thorpe; Edwina Whelan, Marcella Cullen. Subs. - Natasha Martin for Whelan (46), Ashling Whelan for Cullen (67), Biddy Wickham for C. Martin (73), Jasmine Martin for White (89), also Gemma Doran, Brenda Whelan, Stephanie Sinnott, Angelike Bownick.
Ferns United: Nicola Kirwan; Ciara Corrigan, Ferrie Nolan, Hayley Nolan, Rachel Collier; Mary O'Neill, Josie Dwyer, Marie McDonald, Johanne Barcoe; Liz Evered, Leona Breen (capt.). Subs. - Georgina Moore for Barcoe (89), also Aoife McClean, Ali Evered.
Referee: Pat Sinnott.