Glens beat Big Two rivals to retain Irish Cup and clinch third trophy of the season

Glentoran Women with Irish Cup. Pic: AMMG Sports/Chris Scott

Q Radio Sport

Glentoran Women secured a cup treble as they defeated Linfield Ladies in Saturday night's Electric Ireland Women’s Challenge Cup final.

It was played at Windsor Park in front of more than 1300 spectators and a goal from Emma McMaster, her first for the Glens since moving across the city from Cliftonville, proved decisive. She celebrated with her sister Ali who was also part of the winning team. 

The success was a record-extending eighth Irish Cup for the Glens.

 

 

 

 

The gritty 1-0 victory helped them claim their third trophy of the season and retain the cup they won by defeating the Blues in last year’s decider. The Glens had already lifted the League Cup and County Antrim Cup in 2019.

The only goal of the match came in the first five minutes. Glens midfielder Demi Vance drifted past a couple of defenders and unleashed a fine 30-yard shot which was parried and pushed up in the air by Linfield keeper Lauren Perry – but McMaster pounced to bundle the ball into the net.

The lively Vance pushed forward again on 11 minutes, forcing a corner with a low drive which deflected off international teammate Ashley Hutton. Moments later Vance swung an excellent cross into the area but none of the Glens’ attackers could get on the end of it.

In the 17th minute Linfield midfielder Chloe McCarron shot wide from 20 yards, and then the Glens’ Kelly Bailie scooped an effort wide of the target.

Both defences were largely on top during the first half with clearcut chances few and far between. 

On the stroke of half-time Vance produced another superb delivery from a free-kick, with a header from the industrious Rachel Rogan saved by Perry. 

In the second half Glens midfielder Makyla Mulholland, scorer of two goals in last year’s final, got on the end of a Vance corner to plant a header just past the upright.

In the 69th minute Linfield had the ball in the net, however the ‘goal’ was ruled out. Blues captain Kirsty McGuinness fed Louise McFrederick down the left and her low cross was tucked in by Caitlin McGuinness, however McFrederick was adjudged to have been offside when she crossed the ball. It was a close call.

On 73 minutes Regan Lehman’s last ditch clearance for the Glens almost resulted in an own goal and Linfield’s Casey Howe shot over the top just minutes later.

Then it was the Glens’ turn to push forward and Mulholland’s long range strike drifted inches wide of the post. And in the 87thminute she raced forward again but her shot was well stopped by Perry.

In the closing stages the Blues upped the ante and the Glens had to dig deep to keep them out. In the end though midfielder McMaster's goal was enough to win it for the team from east Belfast against their south Belfast rivals, who are still in with a chance of lifting the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership crown this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glentoran Women: Emma Higgins, Jessica Foy (captain), Emma McMaster, Makyla Mulholland, Demi Vance, Rachel Rogan, Samantha Kelly, Kelly Bailie, Jessica Davis, Malin Forssner, Regan Lehman. Substitutes: (used) Alison McMaster, Kerry Beattie, Joely Andrews; (not used) Ashleigh McKinnon, Yasmin White.

Linfield Ladies: Lauren Perry, Louise McFrederick, Ashley Hutton, Casey Howe, Kirsty McGuinness (captain), Kelsie Burrows, Clare Timoney, Rebecca McKenna, Abbie Magee, Caitlin McGuinness, Chloe McCarron. Substitutes: (used) Rebecca Bassett, Mia Fitzsimmons; (not used) Anna McCleary, Hayley O’Donnell, Naomi Donnan.

 

 

In the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday leaders Crusaders crashed to their first defeat of the season.

They lost 4-2 at Coleraine who closed the gap at the top to three points.

Former Bannsider Jamie McGonigle had put his new team in front on his return to the Showgrounds, but it was all downhill after that for Stephen Baxter's men, including a Jordan Owens own goal. 

Cliftonville stay third following a 1-0 home win over Institute. Rory Donnelly with the goal.

Warrenpoint looked set for their first point of the season but a late header from Paddy McClean gave Glentoran a 2-1 victory at the Oval.

The Glens are up to fourth place. 

Ballymena lost 3-1 at Glenavon and it finished scoreless between Larne and Dungannon Swifts. 

 

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