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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 21 January 2021

Third time lucky as red-hot Peamount seal domestic double in style with FAI Cup final win

Ireland international Stephanie Roche was on the double as Peamount beat Cork City 6-0.

Peamount celebrate Stephanie Roche's second goal.
Peamount celebrate Stephanie Roche's second goal.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Peamount United 6

Cork City 0

SIX GOALS IN a simply stunning second-half performance, Peamount United showed exactly why they are the top side in Irish women’s football in this afternoon’s FAI Cup final.

The silverware, hoisted jubilantly by captain Áine O’Gorman, came as an early Christmas present for James O’Callaghan’s all-conquering and ruthless Dubliners, who in turn, completed the league and cup double for 2020.

They did so in style, flexing their considerable muscle and banishing the hurt of two consecutive FAI Cup final defeats at the hands 0f Wexford Youths at a chilly Tallaght Stadium. As the temperature dropped, Peamount certainly turned it on.

A double from Player of the Match Stephanie Roche in the 46th and 52nd minutes paved the way for the champions, before fellow experienced stars, current and former Irish internationals O’Gorman and Karen Duggan got in on the act, and substitute duo Becky Watkins and Tiegan Ruddy put the gloss on the win in the dying minutes. 

As the strangest of years reaches its conclusion and the curtain came down on the domestic women’s football season, Peamount came in as firm favourites but this young and ambitious Cork City outfit were eyeing their own third time’s a charm story, after falling to two league defeats to their opponents this year.

It wasn’t to be, however, as the wait to follow up their history-making victory at the Aviva Stadium in 2017 continues, while Peamount lifted their second senior cup (their first was in 2010).

Cork settled into the occasion well, though, and it was Peamount who looked nervous early on as they overcomplicated matters. Éabha O’Mahony and Zara Foley were effective for the Leesiders from the get-go, while Lauren Egbuloniu put in an industrious shift up top.

There was no shortage of full-blooded tackles as both sides found their feet in this tight, tense first half, with the ever-impressive Niamh Farrelly — who has formed a formidable centre-half partnership with Claire Walsh this season — slow to get back on her feet after a crunching collision with Sophie Liston a little over 15 minutes in.

lauryn-ocallaghan-with-saoirse-noonan Peamount’s Lauryn O’Callaghan with Saoirse Noonan of Cork City. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Peamount soon started to get on top, pressing higher and exerting more pressure on their opponents, creating half chances as a result. O’Gorman blazed high and just wide after good work in the build-up from Roche, while Maria O’Sullivan dealt accordingly with all that came her way between the posts.

The Cork captain was tested numerous times by Eleanor Ryan Doyle from headers as Peamount upped the ante, the switch of wingers paying dividends as Alannah McEvoy brought joy down the right. While Cork were energetic in defence, Peamount really got on top, though their passing let them down at times. Roche and Karen Duggan were two to let fly for Peas, the former seeing an effort from a difficult angle sail just over.

Peas’, perhaps, best chance of the opening half saw McEvoy find Ryan Doyle with a pinpoint-perfect cross as the clock struck 45, but the number 10 tried the spectacular and O’Sullivan gathered at ease.

While Cork went in happy at the break, keeping Peamount scoreless at this stage for the first time this season, the Dubliners’ onslaught was just around the corner. O’Callaghan’s team talk certainly worked, as did Roche’s change of boots from orange to grey.

Just one minute after the restart, she had the ball in the back of the net after an excellent through ball from Lucy McCartan. The former Florentia and Sunderland striker produced a superb finish from a tight angle on the left, and the champions’ relief in breaking the deadlock shone through in the celebrations.

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Six minutes later, it was 2-0, Roche helping herself to a brace with another brilliant finish, this one from closer range off her left. It was Ryan Doyle who delivered a cross from the right, McEvoy gathering in the box and cleverly playing back to Roche, who fired home. 

In the 57th minute, Cork had a golden opportunity to get back into the game as the ball broke to Christina Dring in a one-on-one situation against Niamh Reid-Burke, but her snatched effort dragged just wide.

At the other end, Peamount continued to enjoy themselves, Roche very nearly making it a hat-tick on the hour-mark, and O’Sullivan kept busy after long-range efforts from McEvoy and Duggan, and an O’Gorman free on the edge of the box.

16-year-old substitute Laura Shine was lively from when she came on in the 71st minute, though the game was certainly stretched at this stage as Peamount chased more and more goals, Roche left frustrated as she spurned a couple more chances to make it three.

But she was front and centre once again in the 76th minute, getting O’Gorman in on the scoring act. The 105-time capped international cooly slotted home from close range after Roche and substitute Megan Smyth Lynch combined in the build-up.

Peamount never let up, creating more and more chances, and their fourth, fifth and sixth arrived in the 81st, 83rd, 86th minutes. League stalwart Duggan and substitute pair Watkins and Ruddy well truly put the icing on the win. Duggan headed home Smyth Lynch’s corner first, before Watkins hit home from close range, and Ruddy produced an exquisite finish with her first chance of the game.

To Cork’s credit, they never said die as they chased a consolation goal, Saoirse Noonan leading the charge, but Peamount were just too good.

PEAMOUNT UNITED: Niamh Reid Burke; Dearbhaile Byrne (Sadhbh Doyle,79), Niamh Farrelly, Claire Walsh, Lauryn O’Callaghan, Niamh Farrelly (Della Doherty, 84); Alannah McEvoy (Megan Smyth Lynch, 69), Lucy McCartan Karen Duggan, Áine O’Gorman; Eleanor Ryan Doyle (Becky Watkins, 79), Stephanie Roche (Tiegan Ruddy, 84).

CORK CITY: Maria O’Sullivan; Nathalie O’Brien (Shaunagh McCarthy, 81), Danielle Burke, Ciara McNamara (Lauren Walsh, 81), Zara Foley; Éabha O’Mahony, Christina Dring (Laura Shine, 71), Saoirse Noonan, Sophie Liston (Nadine Seward, 81); Becky Cassin, Lauren Egbuloniu (Katie McCarthy, 57).

Referee: Claire Purcell.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

About the author:

Emma Duffy  / Reports from Tallaght Stadium

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