Colga FC have advanced to their second national cup final in two years after the u-16s saw off Longford Town on penalties in Sunday’s FAI Umbro Cup semi-final.
The Galway girls had travelled to Flancare Park on Sunday to face a team that had beaten them in last year’s u-14 final, but on this occasion it was the Galway side that eventually prevailed after extra time failed to separate the sides.
Colga, adopting a 4-5-1 formation, were able to stifle a strong Longford midfield which pressed forward for the opening 20 minutes. However they found it hard to break down the Colga midfield and on the occasions they did, Colga’s excellent defence of Mary Heavey, Linda Corcoran, Jenny Kinnane and Keara Cormican, supported by Saorse Burke in goal, kept them at bay.
Colga then grabbed the initiative. Jenny Kinnane and Leah Philips in the middle of midfield and Anna Lane and Sinead Heavey out wide, provided the impetus, with Rachel Bannon linking up with Alana Moran up front. This opened the game up more, but there were few scoring chances created as both defences were on top.
Longford did create one chance when Irish international Michelle Farrell broke free on the left and hit an unstoppable shot, but it rebounded off the middle of the post back into play. Colga, too, created a couple of chances when Lane broke wide and found Moran, who twice forced saves from Betheny Houldsworth in the Longford goal.
The second half was much the same. Longford created two good chances in the half, but were thwarted by Burke in goal with two brilliant one-handed saves, while Colga also threatened when Cormican tested Houldsworth from two free kicks.
After neither side could come up with a winner in extra time, the game went into penalties.
After the first efforts from both sides hit the cross bar and went over, Darcy, Reynolds and Sarah Madden converted the next three for Longford. However Bannon, Moran and Comican replied for Colga and it fell to Delaney to step up for Longford for their fifth penalty. However she blasted it over the bar and it was up to Louise Brennan to step up for Colga to win the tie. She duly slotted it in, low to the left hand corner, to crown a great achievement for the Colga girls who have now reached two Irish Cup finals in two years.