I had never been to a women’s soccer match before but had watched a few games on TV during the Olympics due to my son allowing me to watch nothing else. The games were impressive but an Irish cup final?
It wasn’t long before I realised that in terms of entertainment this was as good as any men’s soccer. Both of us got into it and initially opted for Raheny United to win out over Castlebar Celtic. Not long into the game and I switched sides. We were at the side of the Raheny goal and saw very little of the play as both teams seemed camped out in front of the Castlebar net, so I felt sorry for the beleaguered women of Castlebar. A misplaced drive led to my son asking ‘what sort of cross was that?’ My response was a terse ‘so bad you wouldn’t nail a Christian to it.’ He found that funny, no more buying into the magic or the myths than I do.
One fine save by the keeper and a goal line clearance prevented Raheny going ahead but the inevitable came soon enough with a fine dipping shot that evaded the keeper. A 1-0 half time lead seriously understated Raheny’s complete dominance.
The Drogheda-Sligo game was a much more aggressive affair, peppered by bookings and one sending off. It had been 40 years since I had attended a senior soccer cup final, Rangers against Celtic at Hampden which the Gers won 3-2. There was nowhere near the 134,000 spectators that there were that day in 1973 but the supporters of either club yesterday created an atmosphere that both of us soaked up like sponges.
Hard fought, it ended in a nail biting finish with two goals in time added on; 8 minutes of it said something about the stoppages occasioned by fouls during the normal course of play. Unlike games I have been at in the North, England or Scotland, we were able to sit beside supporters of the opposing team without feeling they were going to bite us. They leapt up when their team scored and we did likewise when Drogheda found the onion bag. Problem was, they jumped up one more time than we did.