Cork Harlequins 2 Loreto 2 (Cork Harlequins win shootout 2-1)
Lorna Bateman seemed as surprised as anyone that she got the chance to be Irish Senior Cup winning hero as Cork Harlequins stunned Loreto to land the title for just the second time.
She kept out four shootouts, including a vital round stop from Sara Twomey, to secure the win after a monumental second half fightback.
Bateman has shared the goalkeeping duties 50-50 with Becky Maye all season. In the final, the former took the first half and assumed that would be the end of her role for the day.
“I didn’t know I would be stepping in for the shootout until after full-time,” she said afterwards. “It’s usually the scenario that the one who finishes the game would do the shuttles. It’s kind of presumed so I had to switch on fairly quick! ‘Let’s go get warmed up again!’”
Quins had trailed 2-0 after just 11 minutes to goals from Sarah Evans and Aoife Taaffe and looked all at sea for that opening quarter, struggling in the absence of Yvonne O'Byrne (Irish training camp), Cliodhna Sargent (ACL injury) and Rebecca Barry.
But the side had an inspired second half as the team, featuring eight schoolgirls and with just a handful of players aged over 22, dominated proceedings.
Emma Barber was a totem at the back while Michelle Barry and Olivia Roycroft gobbled up penalty corner rebound chances to get the game back to 2-2 with 10 minutes to go.
Both would go on to score in the shootout, building the 2-1 lead before Bateman made her final intervention, a suitably dramatic touch off her inner thigh spinning the ball inches wide of the post.
In so doing, she won the one trophy that eluded her father, and long-time goalkeeping coach, Ivan.
Indeed, it was a success laden with family connections. Saoirse Griffin can claim to have been on the pitch in a way in the 2000 success; her mother Sharon Hutchinson - founder of the sportswomen.ie website - was two months pregnant with her at the final.
Sargent - the Harlequins leader for so long - fittingly lifted the cup on behalf of the team, emulating her husband John Hobbs who won the men's competition in 2006 and 2012.
Loreto: L Murphy, S Evans, H Mulcahy, M Jennings, G McLoughlin, C Sherin, N Small, G Donald, C Hamill, S Clarke, C O'Kelly. Subs: K Crotty, S O'Brien, S Twomey, A Taaffe, O Brady, A Carragher
Cork Harlequins: L Bateman, E O'Donoghue, N Barry, S Murphy, E Barber, C Perdue, O Roycroft, J O'Halloran, M Barry, J Murphy, E O'Leary. Subs: Z Bowles, S Griffin, S Uniacke-Lowe, I Burns, N O'Leary, A O'Grady, B Maye
Umpires: L Clifford, C Metchette