United Women refocus on league after exit from cup

Lynsey McKey’s penalty crashed back off the crossbar and with it Galway United exit from the Sports Direct FAI Cup after a gruelling 120 minutes in Athlone.

The shoot-out came after the sides played out a scoreless draw in normal time and remained deadlocked at the end of extra-time.

After four successful spot-kicks it looked promising. Jessica Berlin saved Kate Slevin’s efforts, but the following four were all dispatched which left Jenna Slattery with the chance to send her side through. However, Katie Keane made a fantastic save to set up sudden death.

With Athlone scoring first and McKey being denied by the bar, United’s joy in cup football was brought to an abrupt end.

It had been a tough and tense encounter. Athlone had started the brighter and Jessica Berlin had to be sharp from the off, turning away an effort from Dana Scheriff early. There were set-pieces to contend with also as Athlone forced corners and whipped in some dangerous free-kicks.

United hung on and carried their own threat going forward through Slattery and Aislinn Meaney, and they enjoyed a period of dominance towards the end of the half, but could not force a way through.

The defences were as stubborn in the second half. Therese Kinnevey had to make a goal-line clearance after further Athlone pressure. Slattery was through in goal in the final quarter, but Keane made a save and again from the resultant corner to keep it at 0-0.

Chances remained at a premium in the extra 30 minutes. Athlone were in the ascendancy and forced a number of corners, but Berlin was equal to their efforts.

As legs tired, the game opened up. Jamie Erickson and Amy Madden made some great interventions to keep Athlone at bay, and it was enough to earn penalties, but no more as Athlone squeaked through to the next round.

The league is now United’s sole focus. They face an interesting test on Saturday when they travel to take on Bohemian FC in Dalymount Park. Bohs are just a point ahead of United, and this game will have a key role in determining the final standings.

United will be keen to continue the positive momentum generated and will be targeting a highest league finish for a Galway senior side. A positive result this weekend would be a giant step towards achieving this goal.

 

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