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Raheny United 3 Castlebar Celtic 2 (after extra time)

RAHENY UNITED retained the FAI Umbro Women's Cup following a thrilling 3-2 final win over Castlebar Celtic at Aviva Stadium in front of the RTE cameras.

Five goals were scored and extra-time was required to settle a pulsating clash that was played ahead of the FAI Ford Cup Final and Raheny, eventually, did enough to claim the spoils.

Terry Eviston's team went into the game as Cup holders and they are unbeaten in the Bus Eireann Women's National League this term, but this definitely was not an easy victory.

Midfielder Ciara Grant opened the scoring on 37 minutes with an excellent half volley from 25 yards out and that came after Noelle Murray, Rebecca Creagh and Katie McCabe all went close.

Dictating the tempo with their swift passing, Raheny stayed in charge of the game for long periods, but Castlebar showed flashes of their quality with Emma Hansberry excelling in midfield.

When they pulled level on 67 minutes, it was due to a superb run by Hansberry, who pulled the ball back to substitute Emma Mullin and the experienced forward made no mistake from close range.

Fighting to get back into the game, Raheny were awarded a penalty when player of the match Caroline Thorpe was fouled by goalkeeper Caoimhe O'Reilly and got up to successfully convert the spot-kick.

Castlebar, though, were not finished and Irish international Deirdre Doherty gave them hope of causing an upset when scoring with a superb striker two minutes from time. That forced the final into extra-time.

One more goal was scored and it proved to be decisive as Siobhan Killeen's shot from distance was headed into her own goal by defender Kim Flood and ensured that Raheny held onto the Cup.

While the Dublin team became the fifth team to retain the trophy and it was certainly their day, the entire event was a worthy celebration of women's football.

Raheny United: Reid-Burke; Slattery, Graham, Ryan, O'Farrelly (Newman 92); Killeen, Grant, Thorpe, McCabe (Shine 68); Creagh, Murray.

Castlebar Celtic: O'Reilly; Walsh, Flood (Kearns 109), Egan, Fowley; Rowe, King, Hedigan (Doherty 75), Hansberry, Gilroy; McGeough (Mullin 46).

Referee: Marie Ward.

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