Salthill Devon will take on former winners Peamount United in the WFAI senior final in Dublin later this month after an impressive 3 -1 semi-final victory over Kilmacrannan from Donegal.
Europe awaits the victors and Alan Kenny and Kieran O’Mahony’s charges will not need any extra motivation when they go to Dublin seeking the club’s sixth All-Ireland title in as many years.
Last weekend they produced an impressive all-round performance, boosting their confidence ahead of this year’s final. Peamount are very experienced with three internationals in their side, Louise Quinn, Aine O’Gorman, and none other than World Champion boxer Katie Taylor.
There was an abundance of talent also on show in McSharry Park. Two of Ireland’s u-17 heroes from the EUFA final the previous week lined up on opposite sides with Ciara Grant facing up to her captain from Switzerland, Salthill’s Dora Gorman.
This was an intriguing battle, but with combative Salthill skipper Ruth Fahy alongside Gorman in the middle, Salthill dominated this key area. Donegal’s Julianne Herritty caused some anxious moments for the Salthill central defenders Emer Flatley and Becky Walsh, but they dealt with every danger, while full backs Aine Hannon and Dee Connell were commanding, while their link play with wide players Julie Anne Russell and Jenny Critchley was a feature of the game.
Salthill opened the scoring on 22 minutes when, after a series of corners, the ball broke to Critchley who held her head and slipped the ball across the goal mouth for the simplest of finishes from Lucy Hannon. Salthill remained in control, but keeper Tina Hughes made a crucial save ,just before half time from a great strike from Roisin Friel.
Centre forward Kara Mullins was the key figure in Salthill’s second-half display. Her strength and ambition won her a ball to which she had no right, before releasing Hannon who combined with Gorman and Critchley in a series of one touch passes. The move culminated with a sublime finish yet again from Hannon.
The strength of the Salthill bench was tested when Tessa Mullins replaced her sister and Rebecca McPhilbin came on for the injured Russell. The two players raised the tempo and were rewarded when, after a great break by Critchley who was brought down in the box, the ball broke to Tessa Mullins who finished with some style into the bottom corner.
This was an all round very solid and impressive performance from Salthill and they can now look forward to the final at the end of the Month. Peamount are a very experienced side with three internationals in their side, Louise Quinn, Aine O’Gorman and world champion boxer Katie Taylor.
Salthill have their own stars and will travel with confidence.
Salthill: Tina Hughes, Aine Hannon, Dee Connell, Emer Flatley, Becky Walsh, Jenny Critchley, Ruth Fahy (capt ), Dora Gorman, Julie Ann Russell, Kara Mullins, Lucy Hannon. Subs, Tessa Mullins, RebeccaMcPhilbin, Lauren Ashmore, Annette Clarke, Caroline Carter, Sarah O’Connell and Laoise O’Driscoll.