Ballincollig 2 – 2 Limerick FC

. Limerick win 7 – 6 on penalties

Sunday 7th September 2008

Limerick FC Ladies travelled to Cork on Sunday last to take on Ballincollig in the first round (Quarter Final) of the Munster Senior Cup. The game was relocated from Ballincollig to the all weather pitch in Blarney due to the bad weather.
Limerick started brightly taking the game to Ballincollig and playing the game at a good quick pace. Within the first 5 mins Limerick had shots from Ellen Butler, Joan Ryan and Ciara Hannonn just off target. After 7 mins Limerick got the breakthrough when good interchange play down the right between Sinead Leahy and Laura Hogan got Jenni Lyttle clear down the right wing who put over the cross for Sheila McAteer to finish from close in. 1–0 to Limerick, just the start they wanted. The Limerick defence was not being troubled at this stage with Captain Deirdre O’Doherty playing the holding role in centre midfield Limerick stood rock solid to anything Ballincollig threw at them. Limerick continued to press forward and again Ellen, Sheila and Joan were to the fore. Joan Ryan was particularly unlucky in this period hitting the under side of the cross bar following a scramble near the goal line from a Limerick corner and she was again unlucky when getting behind the Ballincollig defence from a Jenni Lyttle free kick only for her half volley to go just over the crossbar. It was twenty minutes into the game before Ballincollig got their first corner. This was well defended by Anne-Marie Leahy and the danger was well cleared. With much possession and many chances being created by Limerick one was beginning to wonder if this could be one of those days when missed opportunities could come back to haunt Limerick in the end. But they kept going still playing the better football with Jenni firing just over from 25 yards out having been set up by Laura Hogan. In the 38th minutes

Limerick suffered the killer blow when Ballincollig broke quickly out of defence and catching the Limerick defence out of position. Ballincollig’s Stephanie Murphy  picked up the ball wide on the left, cut insider past two defenders before hitting a perfect shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net giving Natalie Walsh, the Limerick keeper no chance. 1–1 at half time.
Limerick started the second half tentatively and lost Ellen Butler to injury after two minutes with Sinead Cusack coming on, on the right wing. Ballincollig were first to strike in the second half with Natalie Walsh saving superbly after five minutes. Shortly after this Limerick broke down the right wing with Sinead Cusack playing Sheila McAteer into a good position inside the box but this came to nothing with Limerick claims for a penalty brushed aside by the Ref. Ballincollig came more and more into the game as the half progressed but the Limerick defence of Sinead Leahy, Jenni Lyttle, Anne-Marie Leahy and Laura O’Connor and midfielders Deirdre O’Doherty, Joan Ryan and Laura Hogan were working hard keeping Ballincollig to long range efforts. Limerick brought on fresh legs with Sarah Mitchell replacing Sheila McAteer and Michelle Clancy replacing Ciara Hannon. Ballincollig were pressing hard at this stage and Natalie Walsh was being kept busy dealing well with anything that got passed the Limerick defence. With thirty minutes gone in the half Limerick gradually started to play more of the game in the Ballincollig half. The pressure told in the 36 minute when Limerick won a direct free in the centre of the D just outside the box. Jenni Lyttle stepped up to hit a perfect free kick to the roof of the net giving the Ballincollig keeper no chance. With nine minutes remaining and Limerick winning 2–1 Ballincollig threw everything into attack but Limerick held out.

With the Limerick supporters whistling for full time Ballincollig got the equalizer in the fourth minute of injury time with Limerick looking for an off side and free out only for the Ref to award the goal. With just about time left for the kickoff and the score at 2–2 the game went on to extra time. With players tiring and chances even the game ended at 2 all and on to the dreaded penalty shoot out. Ballincollig were first to go in the shoot out and had the edge leading 4–3 going into their fifth penalty but stand-in keeper Michelle Clancy in the Limerick goal saved superbly. Limerick scored their fifth penalty to square the game at 4–4 on penalties at this stage and so on to the sudden death with both teams scoring their fifth and sixth penalties. Despite Michelle Clancy in the Limerick goal getting closer to the crucial save by getting hands to the ball each time. On the eighth Ballincollig penalty Michelle did the business saving well and crucially giving the edge back to Limerick and so to the fairytale ending when having saved the previous penalty Michelle stepped forward to score Limerick’s eighth penalty giving Limerick the win 7–6 on penalties and to the delight of her teammates and supporters. Credit to both teams for the high standard of penalties in the shoot out.
This was a hard earned victory for Limerick but credit to the ladies for keeping going right to the end with manager Donal Magee delighted for the girls. Thanks again to Limerick 37 for their support through Kieran Judge, Jonathan Griffin and Ron Byrne. Limerick now go on to a home tie against the winners of Wilton v Lifford in the semifinal.

Limerick FC
Natalie Walsh, Sinead Leahy, Laura O’Connor, Annemarie Leahy, Jenni Lyttle, Deirdre O’Doherty, Kiara Hannon, Joan Ryan, Sheila McAteer, Laura Hogan, Ellen Butler
Subs:- Sinead Cusack, Michelle Clancy, Sarah Mitchell, Shona Ryan, Kathy Whelan, Clare Coughlan.

Lisa O’Mahony, Elaine Kavanagh, Katie Bywater, Patricia Quinn, Lisa O’Shea, Eleanor Lucey, Courtney Collis, Stephanie Murphy, Wendy Cahill, Selena O’Mahony, Zoe Murphy
Subs:- Heather Mitchell, Shirley Desmond, Lisa O’Sullivan, Stephanie Hoddnett.