Darcy delivers with late winner for St. Cormac's
To say St. Cormac's left it late is somewhat of an understatement. With three and a half elapsed of the added four injury time minutes, it looked as if both sides were content to bring their war of attrition into extra-time and penalties if needs be when they met in Bunclody on Sunday with the Gaynor Cup at stake.
St. Cormac's 2 Tombrack United 1
That was until referee Pat Sinnott offered the Boolavogue side one last opportunity to avoid another 30 minutes in the sweltering heat, with a free-kick some 40 yards out.
Fittingly, player of the match Michelle Darcy became the heroine. Her hopeful ball into the box caught out goalkeeper Ashling Kavanagh, bouncing before looping over her head into the net as the clock ticked towards zero.
What will make the win all the more sweet for Cormac's is the fact they were made to come from behind.
Tombrack shaded proceedings in the opening half, somehow failing to take the lead inside the first 15 minutes when Mary Martin's effort cannoned back off the crossbar into the path of strike partner Sharon Walsh who could only blaze her shot over with the goal gaping.
Darcy was proving the main threat for the victors but failed to test Kavanagh in the opening 45, while Martin and Walsh both had attempts off target for Tombrack.
Tombrack were eventually rewarded for their efforts on the stroke of half-time when Kellie Maguire's free from distance deflected past Cormac's goaltender Kelly McLouiagh to give them a deserved lead at the interval.
Two Darcy sighters after the re-start allowed the saints confidence to grow, and with the introduction of Shannon Murphy the complexion of the tie began to change.
Just four minutes after taking Aoife O'Connor's place, Murphy had scored. Latching onto a Darcy through ball, she calmly slotted past the onrushing Kavanagh.
From there, it was all about defending and trying to counter for the side which finished bottom of the Wexford Women's League.
Tombrack substitutes Tammy Hennessy, Casey Doyle and Rebecca McGuire had also made telling impacts, but struggled to get past the determined defending of Nicole Doyle and Catríona Roban.
Kellie Maguire was vibrant on the right wing, yet she was denied by McLouiagh whenever she infiltrated the back line.
So the stage was set for Darcy, earning a free on one of St. Cormac's rare ventures into the United half in the closing stages. The remarkable kick banished the unsavoury memories of a difficult season and brought the Gaynor Cup back home to Boolavogue.
St. Cormac's: Kelly McLouiagh; Zoe Dempsey, Nicola Doyle, Catríona Roban, Ciara Larkin; Brona Kirwan, Danielle Sheil, Michelle Darcy (capt.), Aoife O'Connor; Vivienne Gahan, Danielle O'Connor. Sub. - Shannon Murphy for A. O'Connor (56).
Tombrack United: Ashling Kavanagh; Saoirse Harris, Lauren Byrne, Eimear Whelan, Rachel Creane; Marie Allen, Chloe Hayden-Doyle, Ciara Ryan (capt.), Kellie Maguire; Sharon Walsh, Mary Martin. Subs. - Casey Doyle for Harris (24), Tia Byrne for L. Byrne (56), Tammy Hennessy for Walsh (66), Rebecca Maguire for Hayden-Doyle (77), also Niamh Walsh.
Referee: Pat Sinnott.
Friday evening saw the last of the schoolgirls leagues wrapped up when Courtown Hibs completed a great season with a comprehensive 6-1 win over Campile United in the Under-14 Division 1 play-off.
North End United secured the Under-16 Division 1 title with a hard-earned 4-1 win over New Ross Town to just pip Bunclody by a point for the crown.