Johnville 0 Tramore 0 (AET); Johnville won 5-4 on penalties
Johnville and Tramore turned on the style at the RSC on Saturday night last in what proved to be a classic cup final between two excellent teams. The previous night at the same venue in the League of Ireland Waterford United and Monaghan United played out a rather sterile draw but this game gave the large attendance plenty to talk about because the contest was full of exciting and attacking football and to round of a memorable night a dramatic penalty shoot-out was required to decide who would lift the silver cup which gleamed under the floodlights.
It took a total of 18 penalties to separate the sides and one had to feel a great deal of sorrow for the Tramore team who were the ones to lose out. That said the Johnville outfit were determined to add the cup to the league title they had clinched a few weeks previously and they displayed plenty of character to come through and take the trophy back to St Martin’s Park. Maria Hunt was a very proud lady at the RSC last Saturday. Not only is she the joint manager of the Johnville team along with Anthony Brown but she is also the chairperson of the league.
She has worked extremely hard to get ladies football up and running in Waterford and East Cork and she is convinced that more than the nine clubs which took part this season will take part next time around. Another person who is involved in the management team is Johnny Cleary, a man who had three of his daughters playing on the team.
Tramore as stated played their part in what was a memorable occasion and they can be very proud of their performance on what was a really red letter day for ladies football in Waterford. When the penalty shoot-out was in full flight the legendary Tramore clubman, Paul Power suggested that perhaps the two clubs should share the cup for six months each. Needless to say his suggestion was made in a rather jovial manner but nevertheless it bore some merit because it was a shame that they had to be a losing side. Yes indeed it was one of those very special nights in local football.
Tramore open brightly
Tramore looked really fired up for the final during the opening minutes and they almost took the lead after 3 minutes when through Amy Nolan who met a cross from Blathnaid Prenter but her header went narrowly wide of Loraine Walsh’s right upright. Three minutes later a sweeping Tramore move saw their skipper and right full back Stacey Browne pick out Amy Nolan who shot first time from the edge of the penalty area but Loraine Walsh did superbly well to dive to her right and touch the ball on to an upright.
Johnville settled after their nervous start and the Tramore goalkeeper Jade Shanahan had to get down low to save from Laura O’Neill who tried her luck from 20 yards. Tris Cleary whipped over a corner kick from the right on 16 minutes, only for the star Johnville midfield player Denise Kenneally to loop a header over the crossbar. Trish Cleary was involved once again on 22 minutes, this time squaring the ball to Jenny McNulty but her effort was well held by Jade Shanahan.
During the opening minutes of the second half the Tramore goalkeeper Jade Shanahan came off her line bravely to dive at the feet of Jenny McNulty who was played in by Denise Kenneally. Denise, who wore the Johnville No 8 shirt, began to rule the roost in the middle of the park and she was dreadfully unlucky to see her left footed free kick from the right crash off the crossbar on 42 minutes after the Tramore goalkeeper had committed a foul outside the box.
Sarah Jane Hanton went close for Johnville shortly afterwards with a long range effort but again Jade Shanahan showed why she is such a good goalkeeper. Denise Kenneally took another of her special left footed free kicks from 30 yards on 58 minutes and this time the ball crashed off the underside of the crossbar before the ball was cleard by the Tramore defence.
Tramore had a good chance to win the game in the last minute of normal time when Niamh Walsh founds herself in front of goal following a good move but she shot straight at the Johnville goalkeeper Loraine Walsh. Denise Kenneally thought she had won the game for Johnville in the last minute of extra time when she shot at goal following a positive passing movement but Blathnaid Prenter somehow managed to kick the ball off the goaline.
Penalty joy and sorrow
To say the penalty shoot-out was dramatic would be the understatement of the year. The sequence was as follows. Tramore were first to take their kicks and their record was as follows. Rebecca Twomey (missed) Stacey Browne (scored) Catherine Power (scored) Aisling Griffin (scored) Amy Nolan (missed) Niamh Walsh (scored) Rachel Wall (missed) Valerie O’Keeffe (missed) Rosy Flynn (missed).
The Johnville goalkeeper Loraine Walsh saved three of those penalties. Johnville’s record was as follows. Laura O’Neill (scored) Denise Kenneally (scored) Dorothy Carroll (missed) Christine Marshall (scored) Louise Sheridan (missed) Loraine Walsh (scored) Jenny McNulty (missed) Tris Cleary (missed) and Sarah Phelan (scored) so it was her penalty which brought the curtain down on this wonderful final and sparked off a long night of celebration in the St John’s Park area of the city.
Johnville panel: Loraine Walsh, Christine Marshall, Dorothy Carroll, Sarah Phelan, Amy Hearn, Louise Sheridan, Trish Cleary, Denise Kenneally, Sarah Jane Hanton, Laura O’Neill, Jenny McNulty, Louise Kennedy, Eilis Watkins, Sarah Flynn, Aisling Foley, Orla Teaby, Louise McDonald, Helen Hayes.
Tramore panel: Jade Shanahan, Stacey Browne, Catherine Power, Blathnaid Prenter, Aisling Griffin, Rachel Wall, Niamh Walsh, Rosy Flynn, Bridget Flynn Amy Nolan, Susan Twomey, Samantha Flynn, Rebecca Twomey, Valerie O’Keeffe.
Referee: Jim Kealy. Assistants: Paul Butler and Tony Lacey.
Player of the Game: Denise Kenneally. The Johnville No 8 was presented with the award because of her incredible workrate in the middle of the park, especially in the second half and during extra time. Her extraordinary left foot made her stand out and her free kick’s were a joy to behold.