Cork City 1-0 UCD Waves
At a sun-kissed Aviva Stadium, a sparkling moment of Clare Shine class saw Cork City lift the FAI Women’s Cup with a 1-0 defeat of UCD Waves.
Shine’s brilliant 34th-minute effort broke the deadlock – and UCD’s resistance – in style, the striker showing searing pace and ice in her veins to round goalkeeper Brooke Dunne and curl home from a tight angle.
UCD were beaten in the decider three years ago by a Raheny team featuring the prolific Shine and they suffered more heartache as they failed to break down Frank Kelleher’s organised and committed outfit.
Catherine Cronin almost caught out Cork goalkeeper Amanda Budden from distance in the second half but the Leesiders lapped up all the Waves threw at them to close out victory and complete the first part of what could be a memorable cup final double for Cork City.
It was Shine who had the first sight on goal five minutes in, latching on to a ball over the top and getting off a decent effort that Dunne parried away.
UCD responded with a well-hit Karen Duggan strike from the edge of the box, while at the other end Saoirse Noonan – a minor footballer with the Rebel County - almost got her toe on a cross from the right after a lapse at the back in an open and lively first ten minutes.
The chances kept coming. UCD skipper Claire Walsh curled a 25-yard free-kick just wide. Then, the razor-sharp Shine pounced on a loose pass in the UCD area and teed up Nathalie O’Brien on the left. Her wicked cross evaded everyone, skidding off the turf in the six-yard box and out of touch.
Former Girondins de Bordeaux player Chloe Mustaki was central to everything for UCD in the first 45, a well of energy and invention as she looked to crack a well-drilled Cork unit.
Things settled and tightened up but there were groans of frustration from the Cork faithful on 22 minutes. Danielle Sheey raided down the right flank and whipped in a super ball. Shine didn’t see Katie McCarthy sprinting from deep behind her and diverted the ball away from her better placed team-mate with a glancing header that bounced wide.
Shine had another opening moments later, racing on to a ball over the top but firing high and wide from an angle.
The breakthrough came on 34 minutes. Shine – a constant menace - took a fizzed Katie McCarthy pass in her stride, darted away from two defenders and skipped past goalkeeper Dunne before slamming home a terrific left-footed angled finish.
Cork were screaming for a penalty two minutes later when Shine’s lobbed pass drew Dunne from her goal. She clattered into the onrushing Katie McCarthy, but referee Paula Brady waved away appeals. Cork headed for the tunnel with a slender advantage.
UCD came out on the turnaround with more purpose. Duggan fired wide with the goal gaping – the offside flag was up anyway – before Rebekah Carroll’s surging run past three players saw her win a free-kick 25 yards out that Orlagh Nolan drove into the wall.
Cork were happy to sit and contain, armed with Shine’s pace on the break.
On the hour mark, Noonan could have put it to bed. A UCD clearance cannoned off the shins of Shine and fell to her team-mate, who snatched at the chance 12 yards out and scuffed the effort straight at Dunne.
Then, a golden UCD opportunity. Budden dallied on a 66th-minute clearance and eventually lashed it straight at Catherine Cronin. She steadied herself 40 yards out with the keeper desperately scrambling back towards her own goal but the strike drifted right of the posts.
Two minutes later Budden plucked a dangerous Dearbhaile Beirne cross out of the sky.
As UCD’s desperation grew and Cork nerves began to fray, loose passes and mistakes littered the play.
Shine almost weaved through the UCD defence again but Claire Walsh’s outstretched left leg denied her. Dunne then had to be sharp to stop Sheehy from close range.
Belief drained from UCD as the minutes ticked by and Cork looked increasingly comfortable
With two minutes to go Mustaki lifted a free-kick from just outside the area over the wall and into Budden’s arms. It was the final chance they had, although images of the incident would suggest it was possibly a debatable call.
Glory belonged to Cork and the inspirational Shine.
Cork City: Amanda Budden, Kate O’Donovan (Christina Dring 64), Danielle Burke, Ciara McNamara (capt), Saoirse Noonan (Tara O’Gorman 82), Clare Shine, Nathalie O’Brien, Meghan Bourque, Katie McCarthy, Maggie Duncliffe, Danielle Sheehy
UCD Waves: Brooke Dunne, Karen Duggan, Claire Walsh (capt), Rebekah Carroll, Emily Cahill, Chloe Mustaki, Dearbhaile Beirne (Lauren Kelly 82), Orlagh Nolan, Catherine Cronin, Kerri Letmon (Naima Chemaou 64), Aisling Dunbar (Sinead Gaynor 89)
Referee: Paula Brady