Longford Town’s U16 Ladies soccer team have advanced to the National Finals of the prestigious FAI Umbro National Challenge Cup following a thrilling 5-0 semi-final win over College Corinthians at their home ground in Douglas, Cork on Sunday afternoon last.
Longford started the match in dramatic fashion, taking the lead within the first minute. From the kick-off, Michelle Farrell cut through the Corinthians midfield, releasing Aisling Cosgrove down the right hand side who in turn found Farrell on the edge of the box. With her back to goal, the Longford forward spun and curled the ball into the top corner with her left foot.
Boosted by that early foray, Longford continued to dominate and doubled their lead midway through the first half. This time Donna Masterson was the architect as she found the on running Cosgrove, who found the back of the net with a superb one-touch finish.
An unfortunate injury to a Corinthians defender lead to a 10 minute break, which gave Longford an opportunity to regroup, and within minutes of the match resuming, they had their third goal of the afternoon. Sarah Shannon advanced from the back, and neat interplay saw Cosgrove again free with the ball at her feet. Her pin-point cross was controlled by Farrell, who gave the keeper no chance as Longford went in 3-0 up at the break.
Corinthians had the potential to be dangerous, and having disposed of Salthill Devon in the quarter final, would have been full of confidence, but they came up against a very focused and determined Longford team, who took full advantage of their dream start.
The second half fared no better for the Douglas outfit, and when Grainne Walsh scored a fine individual effort for 4-0, the travelling support could start making plans for the final against St Joseph’s on August 14.
Walsh’s second goal, deep into the second half heaped more misery on Corinthians as Longford began to relax and toy with their opponents late on solid display. Longford continued to work hard until the final whistle, with both Walsh and Farrell coming close on several occasions to completing hat-tricks. Cosgrove was replaced by Elaine Murphy, and her player of the match display earned her a second standing ovation.