WOMEN’S FAI CUP FINAL
Athlone Town 2 Shelbourne 2
(Athlone Town won 4-3 on penalties)
Ciaran Kilduff hailed the impact of substitute Gillian Keenan after his Athlone Town side made history with a penalty shootout win over Shelbourne in a gripping Women’s FAI Cup decider at Tallaght Stadium yesterday.
In just their fourth season as a functioning senior outfit, Athlone bounced back from a final defeat to the same opposition in 2022 to add their name to the competition’s roll of honour for the very first time. Remarkably, it is also the club’s first FAI Cup success in all of 99 years – the Athlone men having last triumphed at that level all the way back in 1924.
After Dana Scheriff and Shels substitute Jemma Quinn traded goals in normal time, the aforementioned Keenan – who was introduced to the fray in the 98th minute of a compelling affair – cancelled out Quinn’s second of the day to force a battle of wits from 12 yards between Athlone and their north Dublin counterparts.
Like in their victories over Galway United and Peamount United in the opening two rounds of the competition – and the FAI President’s Cup at the start of the season against Shels when Kilduff’s predecessor Tommy Hewitt was still in charge – Athlone ultimately edged the ensuing shootout to get their hands on a much-coveted piece of silverware.
Although his troops have been galvanised since he came into the set-up alongside his assistant Ken Kiernan in June, Kilduff gives all the credit for Sunday’s landmark achievement to Keenan and the rest of the Athlone players.
“We have had a couple of those shootouts, I don’t know if my heart is able for it, to be honest! I’m just delighted for the girls, it’s really nothing to do with me. They showed thatRead on irishexaminer.com