Galway United women stand on the brink of national glory

By Mike Rafferty

WITH the Women’s World Cup under way in Australia and New Zealand and Ireland making the finals for the first time ever, it is understandable that the focus on the female game is more international than local, but behind the scenes a new national competition has reached the final stage.

The Showgrounds will host the Avenir Sports All Island Cup final and it is fitting for the first ever cross border tournament at this level that it should feature a team from both theNorth and South. Galway United and Cliftonville have threaded a careful unbeaten path to the decider and will meet at the Sligo venue on Sunday (3pm).

This competition was introduced to fill a gap in the National League programme after a decision was made to suspend domestic action when so many of the club’s players were involved with Vera Pauw’s international squad. This All Island Cup saw 16 teams participate in four groups of four with the top team from each qualifying for the semi-finals

For Phil Trill’s charges, the competition is a continuation of a solid league campaign where they lie in fifth position. They kicked off this cup campaign with a Jenna Slattery winner in a 1-0 away success over Lingfield in Belfast. United followed up with a scoreless draw at home against Athlone Town, before goals by Abbie Callanan and Gemma McGuinness gave them a 2-0 home win over Shelbourne as they advanced to the knockout stages.

The semi-final saw them drawn away against Wexford Youths and where a competitive contest finished level at 1-1 with Kate Thompson getting the equaliser for United after a Rianna Jarrett goal had given the home side the lead. With no extra time allocated, the contest went straight to penalties and with goalkeeper Jessica Berlin making one crucial save and Therese Kinnevey, Jamie Erickson, Jenna Slattery and Gemma McGuinness all slotting home their efforts, the visitors prevailed by 4-3 and, in the process, advanced to the final.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


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