Shelbourne 5-0 Wexford Youths
Shelbourne put memories of last year's WFAI Cup final penalty shootout defeat firmly behind them with a stunning 5-0 victory over Wexford Youths at the Aviva Stadium.
Shels had stars all over the pitch, with hat-trick hero Leanne Kiernan claiming the woman-of-the-match award along with the match ball, while Noelle Murray put on a masterclass of controlling a game from midfield.
Wexford, who had been hit hard by suspensions and injuries in the build-up to this final, battled gamely but too many defensive lapses of concentration cost them dearly.
The warning signs were there early on for Wexford who were penned back inside their own half in the opening stages and had an early penalty let-off.
A piercing through ball from Murray, which was to become a feature of the match, saw the 17-year-old Kiernan bear down on goal before she went to ground under contract from Nicola Sinnott.
The contact looked to be minimal but the referee pointed to the spot and Murray stepped up to take it. However it was a weak effort and goalkeeper Sophie Lenehan was able to save low and to the right.
Murray would make up for that penalty miss on 31 minutes when she opened the scoring, thanks to some assistance from Lenehan in the Wexford goal.
The Wexford shot-stopper came to gather a high ball into the box but got nowhere near it, appearing to lose sight of the ball. Murray's first effort was blocked but it immediately came back to her and she confidentally volleyed it to the back of the net.
Four minutes later and Shels doubled their lead through Kiernan. The striker chased down a glorious defence-spitting pass from Gloria Douglas before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting the ball to the back of the net.
Wexford looked shell-shocked and would have been hoping to get into the break just the two goals down but worse was to come just before the stroke of half-time as Kiernan scored her second.
Again she chased down a fine through-ball from midfield, cutting inside her marker before taking two touches and picking her spot, sliding the ball past into the far corner.
Wexford started the second half brightly and had a couple of half chances but never really looked like threatening and Amanda McQuillan's goal on 64 minutes extinguished any feint hope of a fightback as Shels scored their fourth.
It was a goal that Wexford goalkeeper Lenehan won't ever want to see again as she failed to deal with Douglas' header which crashed off the crossbar. It bounced up into the air and Lenehan was too slow to react to the falling ball and when she did, she could only deflect it into the net with her fingertips.
A penalty in the closing stages rounded things off for Shelbourne and presented Kiernan with the chance to claim her hat-trick, which she duly did, blasting the ball to the back off the net off the underside of the crossbar to wrap things up.
Wexford Youths: Lenehan (GK), Conlon, Gleeson, O’Riordan, Webb, Hansberry, Frawley, Sinnott (C), Douglas, Delahunty (Snell 85), Walsh (Hutchinson 67).
Subs: Furlong (GK), Cassin, Prendergast, Tumelty, Gaynor.
Shelbourne Ladies: McQuillan (GK), Cooke, Walsh, Slattery (C), Kavanagh, Graham (Craven 83), Kiernan (Watters 83), Murray, Killeen, Higgins, Douglas.
Subs: Reid-Burke (GK), Newman, Donnelly, Rowe, G. Murray.