UCD land second Senior Cup in three years
Nikki Evans and Anna O’Flanagan’s second half goals see off brave Pembroke effort
UCD captain Sarah Greene and team-mates celebrate with thw Irish Senior Cup. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
UCD 2 Pembroke 0
UCD fulfilled their promise to land the first of the two national titles on offer as they kept their nerve to break down a brave Pembroke defensive effort at Belfield to win the Irish Senior Cup.
Their quality forwards, Nikki Evans and Anna O’Flanagan, both struck early in the second half to put the game well out of reach, and it could have been more but for some incredible saves off the line from Rachel Scott, Katie O’Byrne and former UCD keeper Stella Davis.
In truth, after a couple of early penalty corner chances, Pembroke were not really a force going forward, and were pinned back for the guts of an hour by a side laden with internationals.
It meant a wealth of work for Caroline Murphy and Claire Mulcahy to tame Evans, O’Flanagan and Gillian Pinder who joined the attacks from midfield. That triangle created the best chance of the first half with O’Flanagan crossing for Evans, who looked set to score. Scott, though, came from nowhere to volley off the line.
It kept the scoreboard blank at the interval but the inevitable arrived in the 43rd minute, beautifully conceived via a network of first touches in the circle. Deirdre Duke applied the perfect touch to a ball smashed in the circle and Evans dove forward to redirect the ball between goalkeeper and last defender.
Number two arrived nine minutes later when UCD took the direct route from a penalty corner for the first time, with O’Flanagan smashing through the Pembroke defensives.
The closing quarter was a matter of damage limitation with Davis saving at point blank range from Caroline Hill and Evans. O’Byrne subsequently cleared an O’Flanagan shot off the line. No late comeback threatened and it meant UCD added the Senior Cup title to the Leinster division one crown they won seven days earlier.
PEMBROKE: S Davis, K O’Byrne, C Murphy, R O’Brien, A Ward, R O’Reilly, M Horan, J Collins, R Scott, C Mulcahy, F O’Donovan. Subs: A O’Neill, C Foley, S Carey, E Horan, N Douglas
UCD: T Ellis, S Greene, L Ewart, N Evans, B Flannery, K Mullan, A O’Flanagan, J Deacon, E Beatty, S Robinson, G Pinder. Subs: K Collins-Smyth, N Atcheler, C Hill, E Carey, D Duke.