Match Reports, News → Loreto 4ths take thriller to book Cup Final spot!

Loreto 4ths take thriller to book Cup Final spot!

Anonymous report from a Proud Loreto Supporter on THE Sunday game!

Division 5/6 Cup Semi Final

– Sunday 20th March, Beaufort
Loreto 4ths 0 – 0 Hermes 3rds – AET (Loreto won 3-2 on penalty strokes)

Well what a day it was in Beaufort on Sunday. A large crowd of excited Loreto supporters were treated to a fine competitive cup semi final, filled with real drama and plenty of action. In the end it was Loreto, who play in Div 6, who triumphed, and head to a Cup Final on Sunday 10th April to play Division 5 side Clontarf 2nds.

Sally Jones

The game started brightly for Loreto with early chances from a couple of corners, well struck by influential captain Helene Lynch, but the Hermes keeper was equal to the task. At the other end the experience and calmness of Wendy Byrne, allied to the commitment and drive of Maria McGrath, restricted the Hermes attack to the occasional foray into the circle. With Rachel Hiney having a dream game at right back, and Trish Dwyer demonstrating her mental strength by bouncing back from the shock of fluffing her first couple of short corners push outs, the Loreto defence was clearly motivated to keeping the slate clean.

The real battle was in midfield with both sides dominating for periods of the game. The pace of Sue Vincent on the right caused Hermes many problems in the first half, and with a little more luck and maybe someone just pulling on the ball, the all important goal may have been scored. Helen Cusack was also having a decent influence in the centre of the pitch, never allowing Hermes to gain any foothold there. The centre mid role is so much more than just passing the ball and bringing your team mates into the game, you must have the ability to get up and down the pitch all day and still be able to pass the ball when you are tired. It is a real tribute to her fitness that she played the full 70 mins and extra time with no break, and she still looked strong in the last minute of the game.
On the left side Diane Cashman was her usual committed self. She was up against the very influential Roly Burke, an ex first team player, but like the true and honest player that she is, she stuck to the task and never wavered. At one stage in the first half the girls thought they had earned a Stroke when the ball hit a defenders foot following a touch from Ciara McGovern, but after some discussion it was reduced, probably correctly, to a Short Corner.

Up front the pace and developing skills of the young ones, Ciara Vincent, Ciara McGovern & slightly older ones Helene & Cliodhna McNamara kept the Hermes defence very much on their toes. Give these girls any space and they can cut any team apart. In fairness the experienced Hermes defenders did restrict their space very well. Coach Country O’Meara always would insist that the team defend from the front and all of the attackers put intense pressure on their defenders, with the skipper Helene been hit many times on the foot and shin as she planted herself in front of the Hermes hit outs.

Maria McGrath

When rests were needed by players up front or in midfield, Rachel O’Brien and Emma Gondry provided seamless cover with excellent workrate. In fact that workrate and commitment to the cause from every single player was the keystone to the performance yesterday. That really is the sign of the excellent team spirit that has been so well fostered within this group. Sally Jones also added her considerable talents to both midfield and defence as the bench was used to the full by Country. Hermes dominated a large period on the second half, but with Doireann Church in commanding form in the net , chances were kept to a minimum at both ends . Claire Heffernan, who has spent a large part of the season injured, showed her commitment to the squad and did a fine job at the back when some respite was needed by others at the back.

In the second half Ciara Vincent almost forced one home from a narrow angle after a great run in to the circle but was denied by the outside of the post. In the closing stages Hermes got a corner on the whistle but Doireann made a stunning double block to save the day, and from the ensuing 2nd corner Sue Vincent made sure that the ball would not go in by blocking the switch with an incredible display of commitment.(She told me she was prepared to put her head in the way if she had to! )

And so to extra time ( 7.5mins each way /Silver Goal) …The first period started at a frantic pace and we almost scored with a breakaway goal when Ciara McGovern swopped on a stunning cross field pass from Cliodhna only for the Hermes keeper to produce a super save to deny her. Both sides went at it, but defending was top class at either end and despite short corners, neither side could get the goal they craved.

And so to Flicks…Hermes up first and scored. Wendy Byrne went first for Loreto and calmly slotted it in. (she looked calm but I think it was the first time she has taken one in a flicks competition) The second Hermes flick also went in. Up stepped Rachel O’Brien and she was unlucky to see the keeper get a toe to deny her. The Hermes 3rd flick was wonderfully saved by Doireann with a diving save. Sally displayed great courage to slot our 3rd flick to make it 2-2 and it was great to see her lovely reaction of joy. The Hermes 4th flick was missed as Doireann saved again with a good block. Diane then stepped up to slot her flick to make it 3-2 and when Hermes put their 5th flick wide, huge excitement ensued. It is a great reward for Country and her squad because they have had a great season and now they have a big day out to finish it off in style.

A couple of gems from the day:
-Country’s half time team talk left everyone including herself speechless …literally
-Wendy Byrne teaching Trish all about marking her player during the match.
-Someone roared from the sideline at Wendy, after she scored her flick, ‘pity you couldn’t do that for the 5ths’ ….( has to be Hilly !)

At the end of the night, two ould ones left in the Glenner …(Byrne & Vincent Snr) we walked out at 10.15pm we got a round of applause from a music group just inside the door … they heard the result of the match we will never know !

I know that all involved yesterday were delighted with the support they had from the sidelines and it is that noisy encouragement that does lift a team when they need it most. Yesterday was one of those occasions when the club really did get behind the 4ths and gave them that little bit of extra lift which might just have made that all important difference, especially at the crucial times like at the end of normal time when Hermes had short corners, and during the Strokes. So a big thank you if you were there and roaring them on.

Special words of thanks to Dav & Sarah Hilliard who umpired the game so well. What a difference top class umpires make. It is a long time since the club has had one of our teams at this level in a final,  so we really want to make it a special Club day.

Put it in your Diary now . Sunday 10th April …( venue and time TBC )

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