Jacqui Potter Cup final
Old Alex 2 (Danielle Costigan, Rebecca Coll) Pembroke 0 Old Alex dug their heals in to claim their first Jacqui Potter Cup title in the modern era, holding off a thorough Pembroke examination at Grange Road yesterday afternoon.
Goals from former Trinity duo Danielle Costigan and Becca Coll did the damage but the true turning point came nine minutes into the second half when the outstanding teenage defender Leah Lenehan dived full length to block Shona Doyle’s three-yard effort.
The moment epitomised the Alex effort, hassling and harrying for every inch despite their opponents enjoying upwards of 60pc of possession and territory.
Pembroke also let seven penalty corners slip through their fingers with barely a shot in anger to threaten Pamela Smithwick. Alex, by contrast, had no corners but snapped up the two major chances that came their way.
They had started in slick fashion, with the combative Roz Ellis and the ever-graceful Roisin Flinn the source.
The latter reversed over in the first minute while the American Ellis – who has been a powerhouse since her move to Ireland in a bid to progress her international prospects – was instrumental in the game’s opening phases.
Her steal on the edge of the circle from Hayley O’Donnell in the seventh minute, set up Costigan to bully past one defender and roll into the bottom corner.
But, after a nervy start, Pembroke began to boss the final, earning two corners before the half was out while Sarah Canning’s diving tackle denied Karen Hales a clear sight on goal.
And the pattern became more pronounced in the second half, most notably when Shona Doyle out-stripped Lenehan down the right wing. Her initial shot rebounded her way off Smithwick, leaving the goalkeeper prone.
But Lenehan recovered superbly to smother the shot with the goal exposed and while there was a decent shout for a penalty stroke in the aftermath, the danger was averted.
It was a costly moment, as 12 minutes later Coll was the quickest to react as the ball got stuck in Kelly Scott’s pads to bundle in for 2-0, mere moments after she let a golden opportunity slip.
It secured a first senior title since 2000 in the Leinster Senior Cup, a forerunner to the current trophy, named in honour of the much-loved former Clontarf, Muckross, Hermes and Ireland player.
Meanwhile, Cork Harlequins claimed the Munster Senior Cup, winning the final 3-1 over a Catholic Institute side who featured former Quin Eimear Cregan just two months after transferring.
First half goals from Jane Chapple and Rachel McSharry gave them a commanding lead before Jane Bourke put the game to bed. Kym Daly nicked a consolation for the Limerick club on the final whistle.
Pembroke: Kelly Scott, Natalie Fulton, Rachel McKeon (capt), Sarah Clarke, Shona Doyle, Anli Kotze, Noelle Farrell, Karen Hales, Hayley O’Donnell, Alice Ward, Orla Fox Subs: Aoife Sherriff, Jill Collins, Hilda Maguire, Wendy Hobson