MOUNT Merrion’s Under-14 girls basked in cup glory in the Sunday sunshine, but now have to hang on and wait to find out if there could be more celebrations in a couple of weeks.
Adrian Lyons’ side triumphed in the MGL Carlton Hotel Cup final thanks to a 1-0 win over Wicklow Rovers in the Oscar Traynor Centre.
With all their regular league games complete in the Under-14A division, Merrion, who currently sit in second place in the table, must now wait for Cabinteely to finish their final three fixtures before knowing if they have a chance of promotion.
Should Cabinteely lose just one of those three games, it will force a play-off between the two to find out who will be playing in the Premier Division next season alongside league winners Home Farm.
In Sunday’s final itself however, it could be described as a real nervy affair, with Lyons’ side scoring the only goal with just five minutes remaining. Ciara Griffin netted the winner but it was a real gutsy performance from the whole side.
The first half in particular was extremely tight, with few chances. The biggest one in the opening half actually fell to Wicklow, but Merrion’s keeper Aisling Neary produced an absolutely stunning save to keep the game scoreless.
After the break, the Lyons’ side stepped up a gear and were on top for the most part.
Hannah Reidy and Abbie Clarke were beginning to play key roles around midfield, but the side were struggling to make the decisive breakthrough. Kate Sheridan came closest with 10 minutes left as she saw her effort bounce back off the crossbar.
But the breakthrough finally came five minutes later, when Griffin produced the sort of calmness which was lacking for so much of the game in front of goal and sparked massive celebrations from the support in the NDSL complex.
Despite throwing everything forward for the remainder, Wicklow could not get an equaliser and Merrion held on to be crowned champions.
Speaking after the game, Lyons said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to be cup champions, the girls deserve it, it was a performance worthy of winning a final, they were very gutsy and stuck to it until the end.”
He also offered his thoughts on his side’s nervy wait for a potential play-off place. “Well we’ve done all we can do now,” said the manager.
“We currently sit in second place and have delivered a cup to the club; whatever happens over the next few weeks, it’s been a very good season, but obviously it would be nice to get a play-off.”