Railway Union complete double with Irish Senior Cup triumph

Late goal from Katie Fearon gives them victory over Catholic Institute at Belfield

Railway Union 1 Catholic Institute 0

A week after they won their first ever Champions Trophy by beating Loreto in Banbridge, Railway Union completed a memorable double by winning their first Irish Senior Cup in 11 years at Belfield on Saturday. And just like against Loreto, they left it late, Katie Fearon scoring with less than four minutes to go to give them a 1-0 victory over Catholic Institute.

Frustratingly for both sides, they had to make do without their international players who were made unavailable because they are preparing for next month’s Nations Cup. That meant Institute were without their leading attacker Naomi Carroll, but Railway were much more heavily impacted, unable to play Róisín Upton, who joined from the Limerick club earlier this season, Irish captain Katie Mullan, Sarah Hawkshaw and the Carey twins, Michelle and Niamh.

It was as tight an affair as the teams’ Champions Trophy semi-final a week before, which Railway also won 1-0, although the Dublin side started more brightly, Lily Lloyd forcing an early save out of Pamela Smithwick before they had a goal ruled out from their third penalty corner of the game for obstruction.

But Institute, who were playing in their third final in a row, winning in 2022 but losing last year, began to find their feet, Railway goalkeeper Emma Buckley having to be sharp to keep out a couple of penalty corner strikes.


The game’s only goal came with just three minutes, 40 seconds left on the clock, the move started by Sarah Patton on the left of the circle. Her reverse cross was blocked, but it fell to former Institute player Aébfhinn Bourke whose ball back in was turned home by Fearon.

On collecting the trophy, captain Emma Smyth, a survivor from that last success in the competition in 2013, saluted coach Una McCarthy, who was unable to be at the game because of a prior arrangement. The triumph rounded off a sparkling season for the club.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times