Zara Delany grabbed the winning goal in the Electric Ireland Irish Senior Cup final as Railway Union saw off UCD 3-2 to claim the competition for the first time in their history.
Delany’s second-half strike at Belfield was the only goal after the interval following an end-to-end first half in which both sides swapped the lead.
Railway dominated the second period, with a fine display in midfield from Emma Smyth, along with tireless performances from Jean McDonnell and Alex Speers up front. Defensively, they did not give up a clear chance of note at the back.
Isobel Joyce and Emer Lucey were composed and classy in keeping Ireland internationals Anna O’Flanagan, Chloe Watkins and Nikki Evans relatively quiet.
UCD seized the lead after 90 seconds when Emily Beatty stormed forward and won a penalty corner. Nicola Gray swept it into the danger area and Sarah Greene nicked in for the key deflection over former UCD goalkeeper Grace O’Flanagan.
It took Railway seven minutes to get back on terms as Lucey rocketed home a corner of her own. Smyth moved Railway ahead in brilliant fashion as she put on the after-burners, running right to left, to get away from two defenders, and forging enough room in the circle to fire home a low backhand shot.
But College were level at half-time as they worked the ball into Evans at the right post.
Her shot was half-stopped by Grace O’Flanagan and Caroline Hill followed up to copper-fasten the goal 12 seconds before the half-time hooter.
They could not carry that momentum into the second half and, after an initial bout of scrappy ping-pong between the 25s, Railway were the side to put their stamp on the play.
McDonnell and Smyth started making important steals in key positions while Speers’ legwork up front was causing all manner of problems. The Irish captain was the one to create the critical third green and yellow goal when she angled a pass from the left side of the circle perfectly for Delany to pounce.
UCD provided a couple of late scares with Beatty miscuing a shot and Anna O’Flanagan and Evans missing out from close range but Railway were composed and saw out time with few qualms.
Railway Union: G O’Flanagan, O Fox, H Jenkinson, I Joyce, E Lucey, K McKenna, E Smyth, K Dillon, A Speers, J McDonnell, K Lloyd
Subs: S Dooley, Z Delany, C Joyce, J O’Halloran, K Clarke
UCD: S Davis, N Gray, N Atcheler, S Greene, L Ewart, J Deacon, K Collins-Smith, C Watkins, A O’Flanagan, E Beatty, N Evans
Subs: K Mullan, C Hill, R O’Reilly