Gallant effort just falls short in Dublin

Irish Senior Cup Women's Semi-Final, National Hockey Stadium, UCD, Dublin 22/2/2014'Pembroke Wanderers vs Lurgan HC'Pembroke's Eanna Horan and Louise Murray of Lurgan'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Irish Senior Cup Women's Semi-Final, National Hockey Stadium, UCD, Dublin 22/2/2014'Pembroke Wanderers vs Lurgan HC'Pembroke's Eanna Horan and Louise Murray of Lurgan'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Ryan Byrne
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Irish Senior Cup Semi-final Pembroke Wanderers 0

Lurgan Ladies 0

(Pembroke won 3-1 on strokes)

A valiant Lurgan put up a tremendous performance but came up just short, loosing out to their Leinster rivals in a penalty corner shoot-out, after extra time couldn’t separate them in this thrilling Irish Semi Cup semi-final in Dublin on Saturday.

Pembroke were quickly out of the blocks and forced an early penalty corner which Lurgan defended well. Lurgan hit back and a Sarah McClure break on which helped to settle the nerves. Two minutes later a superb run and cut in from the left by Carly Johnston won Lurgan their first penalty corner. The initial strike was not cleared and as Lurgan played the ball in again it ran across the goal line but unfortunately there was no player there to force it home. Lurgan were beginning to ask questions of the Pembroke defence and the battle in the middle of the park was intense. Lurgan forced another penalty corner on 15 minutes but the shot was deflected over the bar by a well drilled Pembroke defence who were quickly out to disrupt the Lurgan penalty corner routine. A minute later saw a Pippa Best shot fly just wide. Pembroke came more into the match and were looking very dangerous on the break. A penalty corner award for them on 24 minutes was well defended by Lurgan. With three minutes to go to half-time another Pembroke attack was broken down and cleared after great defensive work by Emma Lindsay.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first with neither side able to sustain a serious period of pressure. Pippa Best and Sarah McClure were beginning to dictate in midfield and Lurgan’s overlapping full backs Lousie Murray and Alex Hurst were beginning to get some success down the flanks. Pembroke were lucky with a generous 43rd minute penalty corner award but justice was done as the shot was cleared by a determined Lurgan defence. In such a tight game nerves were jangling and encounters feisty as both sides strived for the breakthrough that could clinch a place in the final. With five minutes to go Carly Johnston appeared to be harshly yellow carded which meant Lurgan would have to play out the remainder of the match with only 10 players. Rather than sit back and defend Lurgan went on the offensive and finished strongly. A great run by Sarah McClure won a penalty corner for Lurgan but the shot from Charlene Hull went wide.

Throughout the ten minutes of extra-time Lurgan continued to dominate with Pippa Best putting in some impressive work with her tireless running. A Lurgan penalty corner in the first half saw the initial strike blocked by a well drilled Pembroke defence. The final whistle went and a relieved Pembroke seemed to have achieved their goal as they had won their previous two cup matches on penalty shoot outs. So it proved as they raced into a 3-0 lead with three impressive strikes giving Naomi Costley no chance in the Lurgan goal while Lurgan failed to convert any of their first three shots with the Pembroke keeper saving impressively. Despite Naomi saving the next one and Kathryn Edgar scoring for Lurgan they missed the next one and the match was over.