Women’s FAI Intermediate Cup final
TEK United 2
Wilton United 1
TEK United made history on Sunday as they sealed a first-ever FAI Intermediate Cup title with a 2-1 win over Wilton United of Cork in Two-Mile Borris, Tipperary.
Goals in either half from Shauna Pearl and Niamh Carroll proved enough for Ann Dodd’s side, despite conceding a late goal and playing the last half-hour with ten players.
The south Dublin side were forced to defend for their lives in the closing stages as the defending champions laid siege to their goal, but they held on for a big victory.
TEK, who reached the final of the shield last year, took an early lead as Carroll played a ball over the top for Pearl to run onto and round the goalkeeper before slotting home.
Carroll made it 2-0 on the hour mark as she struck a low free-kick into the net from 30 yards, but TEK were reduced to ten players when Danielle Dargle was shown a second yellow.
Goalkeeper Emma O’Brien was forced into a great late save and centre-half Ciara Smith cleared a header off the line as TEK held on to take the crown.
“We came under pressure after going down to ten players but the girls battled hard. It was a physical game but we never gave up,” manager Ann Dodd told the Dublin Gazette.
“We got to the final of the shield part of it last year and we lost 1-0, so the girls were a bit down about that. To come back on Sunday and go through it all, qualify and come out winners [is great].”
For Dodd, it’s a particularly special victory as she won All-Irelands at every underage group with St Joseph’s, before the club became TEK.
It’s only now as a coach, a post she took up six years ago, that she’s managed to add a senior All-Ireland to her collection.
She and TEK will have little time to savour their victory, however
This Sunday will see them host reigning National League champions Wexford Youths in Stradbrook.
They’ll have to do it without captain Katherine Meaney, as she’s set to miss the rest of the season with a broken wrist sustained in the last round against Claregalway.
It will be a great opportunity for the squad to test themselves against some of the country’s elite players, including current and former internationals, and particularly for the younger players.
“It’ll be a hard one to win. Hopefully the experience for the younger girls will be [great]. Our left-back, Lauren Hayes, she’s only 17 and she’s thriving now.
“We threw her in at the deep end this year, because we’re in the Premier League, and she seems to be getting stronger and stronger.
“There’s one or two of [the young players] being looked at already – we’ve got a couple of calls about one or two of them, which is great for them.”