Match report from last weekend’s IJC semi-final win. Pembroke won the game 3-2 aet. Photos with thanks to Luke Stewart.
Pembroke Ladies 2nds faced Hermes in the IJC semi-final on Sunday in Serpentine Avenue. With two league wins racked up against the Booterstown side during the year it would have been easy to feel a little bit confident. However, early nerves showed and Hermes started stronger, taking the game to the home team. A number of unforced errors and poor decisions by the Pembroke side gave Hermes the upper hand, and they took full advantage, converting one of those opportunities with a goal from play after 15 / 20 minutes. This actually settled the Pembroke team a little and they started to work their way back into the game.
Tough words from Coach Mick O’Connor at the half time break seemed to do the trick, and Pembroke blasted out of the blocks at the turn. Textbook training drills were instrumental in the equaliser, which came shortly after half time. Some nice build-up play down the left found Lorraine Horgan on the baseline who hammered home from what seemed like an impossible angle. After that it was all Pembroke, but the waves of attack fell short at the final hurdle and the Hermes defence held out well. With just minutes on the clock, Pembroke forwards hard work paid off and they won a corner. Super-sub Susan Ryan, who was a doubt for the match just days before struggling with a recurring neck injury, deflected home a stunning corner to take the lead. Two minutes left and the crowd were cheering like it was all over!However, Hermes reacted in spectacular style, and a well-placed ball out of defence set up a 3v3 attack with the Pembroke defence. Hermes somehow found the back of the net to draw level and the final whistle blew just 30 seconds later. Golden goal extra time!
With the Hermes goal scored against the run of play it would have been easy for the Pembroke side to drop their heads, but instead the girls found their cup-match form and started extra time like their lives depended on it. Mick, who had fallen uncharacteristically silent in the latter part of the second half suddenly found his voice again, and the supporters roared on the team in true Pembroke fashion.
However, despite dominating play that finishing touch was missing! In dramatic closing scenes, Anna O’Grady won the ball on the half way line and sprinted towards the baseline, singlehandedly winning a corner on the final whistle of extra time. The corner call was made from the side but there was a breakdown in communication and the ball didn’t go where it was supposed to .The crowd gasped, Mick had his face covered but thankfully we won another corner! This time the message was delivered loud and clear, and hero of the day Susan Ryan scored her second of the match to take the win on the death – final score 3-2!
The win sees the Pembroke II’s through to the IJC final v Loreto on Sunday April 22nd at 1:15 in UCD. There will be a Pembroke v Loreto Sumo wrestling competition and facepainting so get there early. Interesting fact – three members of our squad weren’t even born the last time Pembroke made the final in 1994! Also Pembroke Wanderers have never lost a Ladies Irish Junior Cup Final – WE Need YOUR SUPPORT!!
A huge thanks to the Pembroke supporters who came out to cheer on the team – hope to see you all there again this Sunday.