At the beginning of the football season the Lucan CC senior girls soccer team were knocked out of the cup by Loreto Mullingar losing 3-2. On that day many excuses could have been made – injuries, lack of training time together, a long distance journey or the harsh conditions of rain and hailstones. However, nobody made an excuse. The opposition played in the same conditions and injuries are part and parcel of the game. As Pep Guardiola stated ‘excuses mean you cannot grow or move forward’.
On April 1st, the Lucan CC senior girls soccer team set off to again face Loreto Mullingar aiming to secure a spot in the Leinster division 1 semi-finals. The conditions were excellent. The team were pumped. They wouldn’t be leaving Mullingar this time without a victory.
The game started off well for Lucan with some nice tidy passes between the midfield trio of Emma Fallon, Aoife Hanley and Amy Green. Possession was the aim of the game and to play the killer through ball at the precise moment. It wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken. As the ball fall to centre-back Zara Lawless she played an exquisite, Bonucci like diagonal ball to Nicole Smyth whose first touch and pace took through 1-1 with the keeper. Calmness personified, 1-0 Lucan.
The game was far from over. Lucan CC were in this position before against this same team. Mullingar pushed forward in search of an equaliser. It was time to absorb some pressure and hit them on the counter attack. In recent seasons, counter attacking football has been utilised to great success by many teams: Spurs, Wolves, Chelsea. The key is to break quick and precision passing.
The next goal was an example of how counter attacking football should be played. Aoife Hanley picked the ball up outside the box, turn, head up, and played the perfect through ball, one Andrea Pirlo would be proud of, splitting the defence for Nicole Smyth to again run through and slot home. 2-0 Lucan.
At half time two changes were made due to injury. It was a battle. 5 minutes into the second half another injury. This time Sarah Winders unfortunately taken out from behind. The opposition player receiving a yellow for what many would argue was a straight red offence. From the resulting free kick Zara Lawless narrowly fired wide.
Soon after, Loreto Mullingar pulled a goal back. They were in the ascendency. It was time to dig deep for the Lucan girls and dig deep they did. Bodies were on the line making sure the ball didn’t reach the back of the net. Time felt like it stopped. As the closing moments came, Mullingar had a player sent off for a shoulder barge in to the chest of Emma Fallon. A second yellow. Loreto Mullingar down to 10.
Lucan CC held out for a well deserved victory and now face St. Mary’s Naas in the semi-final, the furthest a senior girls soccer team from Lucan CC have gotten in 20+ years. It’s hard to beat someone who never quits and Lucan CC girls soccer teams never quit.