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Shelbourne Ladies advanced to the Continental Tyres Women’s FAI Cup final thanks to a 4-0 victory over Shelbourne u18 at Morton Stadium on Saturday evening. A Noelle Murray hat-trick along with a penalty from Katie McCabe ensured Casey McQuillan's side earned a November 8th showdown with Wexford Youths at the Aviva Stadium.
In a game that pitted Shels Women’s National League side against their intermediate Cup winning team it was the WNL side who started brightest and in the opening minute Keeva Keenan attempted to find McCabe free in the penalty area, but Sarah O’Donoghue got a foot to direct the ball away from the forward who would have been through on goal.
As the Shels WNL continued to press forward, McCabe was involved again after she glided past several defenders, but the forward's shot from the edge of the box sailed past Nadine Ryan’s post. With Shels WNL continuing to impress, they soon got their just rewards when Noelle Murray latched onto a low ball from Keenan before firing low past Ryan with a powerful right footed effort.
Despite Shels u18 being forced to do the majority of the defending, they soon showed their senior counterparts, they were dangerous on the break when Carla Moran broke down the left, but her curling shot from close range went the wrong side of Niamh Reid Burkes post.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Shels WNL side should have doubled their advantage after skipper Pearl Slattery found herself free at the back post from a McCabe corner, but she failed to trouble Ryan with her headed effort.
Less than sixty second after Slattery’s miss, they did double their advantage after McCabe was hauled down in the penalty area and the Irish international picked herself up from the ground to send Ryan in the u18 goal the wrong way.
As the Women’s National League side continuing to show they could create opportunities at will, McCabe will feel she should have bagged her second of the game after Siobhan Killeen found the forward with lovely weighted cross, but McCabe effort went just wide of the goal.
With Murray continuing to look dangerous on her first start of the season for the WNL side the forward, grabbed her second of the game soon after McCabe's miss, when a low ball across the box landed at her feet and she made no mistake from six yards.
As the half-time whistle fast approached, McCabe had another great opportunity when she skipped past several defenders and she struck low and hard, but Ryan in the u18 goal showed she wasn’t to be beaten gathering at the second time of asking.
Less than two minutes after the side’s returned from the half-time break, Murray completed her hat-trick for Shels WNL when her free-kick from the edge of the D sailed into the top corner of the net despite the best efforts of Ryan in the u18 goal.
As Shels u18 looked to find a way back into the game, Shianne Swarres had her side’s best effort of the half, but her shot failed to trouble Reid Burke in the home side’s goal. With Shels WNL continuing to look dangerous going forward, Ryan was again called into action, first to deny McCabe from a free-kick, before denying the forward for a second time in quick succession after she played a nice one-two with Murray before shooting.
Killeen was the next WNL player to try her luck after she cut in from the wing before striking from close range, but Ryan was determined not to be beaten again. After denying Killeen, Ryan’s work was far from complete though, as moments later she was again forced to deny McCabe who spun past the last defender before shooting.
With Shels u18 efforts continuing to be few and far between, Lisa Murphy had two great efforts for her side, first her hook shot from 25 yards sailed over Reid Burke’s crossbar, before she headed wide from a Moran cross.
As the clock approached full-time, Shels WNL had several great opportunities to extend their lead, first Murray rounded Ryan in the Shels u18 goal before firing into the side netting from an acute angle. Moments later, Murray was again involved after second-half substitute Rebecca Creagh disposed Erica Byrne before playing in Murray whose effort forced a good stop from Ryan.
Shelbourne Ladies: Niamh Reid Burke: Keeva Keenan (Niamh Walsh HT), Niamh Barnes, Pearl Slattery: Siobhan Killeen, Rachel Graham, Jamie Finn (Rebecca Creagh 66), Lauren Dwyer, Shauna Newman: Noelle Murray, Katie McCabe (Sarah Rowe 77)
Subs Not Used: Amanda McQuillan, Courtney Higgins, Fiona Donnelly, Sinead Taylor
Booked: McCabe (33)
Shelbourne u18: Nadine Ryan: Sarah O’Donoghue (Leanne Payne 75), Aisling Dunbar, Erica Byrne, Jess Corr: Sophie Watters, Cliona Owens (Joan Daly 55), Shianne Swarress, Megan Lynch: Lisa Murphy, Carla Moran
Subs Not Used: Caolan Carroll, Karley Leavy, Chloe Flynn, Emile Chamberlain, Emma Boyle
Booked: Dunbar (47)
Match Referee: Natasha Valentini
Attendance: 125 Est
Extratime Man of the Match: Noelle Murray (Shelbourne Ladies)