FAI Umbro Women’s Senior Cup final
Peamount United v Raheny United
Sunday, 3pm, Dalymount Park
RAHENY UNITED manager Ger McDermott is quietly confident of enhancing their head-to-head record against Peamount United when the Dublin rivals clash in tomorrow’s FAI Umbro Women’s Senior Cup Challenge final.
Raheny were beaten just once in regulation time by Eileen Gleeson’s charges in four encounters last term and McDermott is hopeful that will stand to them this weekend.
“We certainly have a great record against Peamount and even in the league game we lost to them last season we hit the post and the bar. Equally, our 4-1 victory over them in Santry was a poor reflection of how well Peamount played.
“We’re very much on par with Peamount. In relation to silverware, that is not well reflected yet but hopefully that will change starting Sunday,” he said.
It’s not about bettering Peas’ achievements for McDermott and Raheny, however.
They are, as he explains, more interested in improving their own output.
“For us really it’s more about bettering ourselves rather than bettering Peamount. I know it might translate across as a want to better them but last year we were more than good enough to win the league and poor results against teams we were perceived as being stronger than cost us.
“It’s that drive and determination to avoid a repeat of those things happening that is really pushing us on and we are confident that if we perform as I know the players can we’ll be okay on Sunday,” he explained.
Raheny beat Peamount twice in the league but lost in the WNL Cup semi-final as Grace Murray’s free-kick in extra-time sent Gleeson’s team through and afterwards Peamount also defeated McDermott’s unit in the league title-defining third WNL encounter.
Does he now feel the psychological edge is weighted in Peas’ favour because the two most recent meetings eventually went their rivals’ way?
“I think it could be. Certainly, if I was in the Peas’ dressing room I would be alluding to those victories with the players but equally that is where the determination comes from for us too.
“But we really do have that great record generally against them which gives us plenty of belief,” he said.
Outside of trying to contain ruthless attackers Stephanie Roche and Sara Lawlor, McDermott expresses the opinion that Raheny will have to be clinical on Sunday when opportunities present themselves.
“The key area for me besides containing Stephanie and Sara is the importance of us taking our chances in the final third because in past games against Peamount we haven’t been as clinical as we would have liked,” he stated.
In the aforementioned WNL Cup semi-final last season majestic left-full Grace Murray levelled the match from a free-kick in regulation time after Mary Waldron gave Raheny the lead.
Subsequently, Murray scored from another free-kick with four minutes of time remaining in extra-time to give Peamount victory at Morton Stadium.
Murray, a player that has been out of action injured after she dislocated her elbow against Peas’ Bosnian opponents in the Uefa Women’s Champions League last August, reveals victory in the cup encounter did give her team belief that they could beat Raheny after losing the two previous clashes between the sides.
“First of all, the two teams are very evenly matched really but on the day I think the better team did win and I was just fortunate to get the goals.
“I think that game just showed us that we could beat them. You see, the teams would be so close all the way through and then we would meet Raheny and neither team, in my opinion, would play as well as they could so by winning that particular match we knew then that we could beat them. It gave us extra belief,” she suggested.
Meanwhile, Peas’ captain Louise Quinn has reiterated her side’s desire to dominate the sport and also gave a strong indication of how intense the healthy rivalry between the teams has becoming.
“It’s kind of like a Celtic-Rangers thing. North Dublin versus South Dublin. We always know when the Raheny games are coming up and we think about those games a lot.
“We take each game as it comes but Raheny would be on our minds – but only when they are the next game coming up.
“We want to be greedy. We want to win every trophy that we possibly can. The WNL title, the WNL Cup and the FAI Umbro Women’s Senior Cup, we want to win them all so we’ll be going into the final with all guns blazing looking to lift another trophy,” Quinn added.
And Murray agrees with Quinn’s stance on what Peamount want to achieve.
“Once you win you really want to keep winning. Winning is definitely something you want to keep doing and because this final is happening during the early stages of the league it is a good opportunity for us to beat Raheny and get the heads up to go on and win more,” she said.
Murray, a past winner of this competition with Dundalk in 2005, has also praised team-mates Roche and Lawlor for their outstanding recent form on the eve of the final.
“The girls are in great form and deserved their recent international call-ups. Stephanie and Sara together are an excellent combination and any defence coming up against them will have to be on their toes,” Murray concluded.