UCD women cruise to a fourth Irish Senior Cup win in seven years

Miles Warren praises his ‘transformed’ side as they make light work of Pegasus at Belfield

UCD celebrate their Irish Senior Cup final win over Pegasus at Belfield. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Pegasus 0 UCD 4 (E Russell, A Russell, K Mullan, S Clarke)

UCD cruised to their fourth Irish Senior Cup win in seven years, retaining the title with a 4-0 win at Belfield as they proved too strong for Pegasus.

It was the sister-act of Emma and Abbie Russell that laid the base for the success, putting them 2-0 up by the early stages of the second half before Katie Mullan and Sorcha Clarke made sure.

Coach Miles Warren said they were “a side transformed” after Saturday’s semi-final slog as they found the going very tough against Loreto.


They eventually got through via a shoot-out as the Beaufort club produced a high-pressure game that upset UCD’s rhythm.

But Sunday’s decider was a different story from the 12th minute, when Emma Russell’s smart movement allowed her to be unmarked in the circle she met Lena Tice’s glorious pass, picking out the top corner.

Pegasus, for their part, had started smartly, drawing Clodagh Cassin into a big boot save. It proved their closest call, however, as Tice, Sarah Robinson and Leah McGuire squeezed any juice out of their attacking intents.

Up top, Deirdre Duke was giving the Ulster side - who beat Belfast Harlequins 1-0 in their semi-final - a torrid time as the hold-up player. The vastly experienced Pamela Glass did keep tabs on things before half-time, making a series of clutch tackles.

But with Shirley McCay out with a broken finger they could not plug the gaps for too long, and when Orla Patton’s bouncing cross was turned in at the back post by the younger Russell, it looked a done deal.

Indeed, UCD have conceded just twice since the turn of 2018 in all competitions on the national stage and they never looked like adding to that stat.

Mullan whipped in the third from a penalty corner with 10 minutes to go and Sorcha Clarke completed the scoring in the closing moments, again a back post touch to Sara Twomey’s cross-shot.

With another Senior Cup under their belt and the EY league looking a likelihood, coach Warren says it’s the perfect momentum-builder for the end of season Champions Trophy and European bid in May.

He said: “This is another big step in the right direction. Occasionally, we don’t perform to our own standards - like Saturday - but this final performance is a springboard to the next five or six weeks.”

Pegasus: S-J Greer, H Grieve, R Maguire, M Harvey, L McKee, K McKee, A Speers, R McMillan, G Irwin, P Glass, S Thompson. Subs: C Harvey, T Doherty, K Morris, K Gourley, V Surgeoner, M Bowyer, J Perry

UCD: C Cassin, K Egan, L Ewart, E Curran, K Mullan, E Russell, A Richardson, L Tice, O Patton, S Robinson, D Duke. Subs: S Twomey, B Barr, S Clarke, A Russell, S Young, E Young, A Daly

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater

Stephen Findlater is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about hockey