The Benfica team that defeated Carrick United in the cup.
Ladies Senior Cup First Round
Benfica 3-0 Carrick United
Champions Carrick were sent crashing from the cup after a five star performance from Benfica. Despite two of the goals coming late on in truth the scoreline did reflect the dominance of Benfica.
Benfica controlled the game from the start and their midfield ensured that the Carrick strikers who are normally so dangerous were starved of the ball. Twenty minutes in Rachel Hutchinson supplied a great pass to Brianne O’Connor to put her in a one on one with Carrick keeper Heather Phelan who saved at point blank range and reacted quickly to save the follow up effort.
Twenty eight minutes in and Brianne O’Connor looked like she was in on goal but a great tackle from Laura Power averted the danger. The same player was next to try her luck but her effort was saved by Heather Phelan. O’Connor was involved in everything Benfica were producing and her cross a minute later wasn’t dealt with by the Carrick defence and Rachel Hutchinson fired a shot in but it went well wide. Despite Benfica’s domination the scoreline remained scoreless at the break.
The second half saw Benfica continue to attack and just a minute into the second half Becky Conroy saw her snap shot saved. Two minutes later and Lisa Dower took a quick throw to Brianne O’Connor whose cross was met by Becky Conroy but the shot was off target.
Carrick’s best chance came when Rachel Rees won a corner which was taken by Sophie Kiely. The ball broke to Erika Kiely however Sally Kelly made a good save. Benfica were soon back on the attack. Kate Hearn’s free kick saw a misplaced header from the Carrick defence and Becky Conroy reacted but her shot from an acute angle went wide. Conroy was to go close again within a minute when she found herself through on goal but she failed to hit the target.
Carrick were to go close when Sophie Kiely passed to Emma Sullivan and her shot struck the outside of the post. Benfica wasted another golden opportunity when Brianne O’Connor nipped the ball over her marker and beared down on goal; Heather Phelan was quickly out to reach the ball first but her clearance fell to Becky Conroy who tried to lob Phelan. However her shot lacked weight and Phelan recovered to save.
Erika Kiely won a corner at the other end following a good tackle from Jessica Devereux and from the corner Kaylynn Broxson’s free header went high and over the crossbar.
Leah O’ Donohue won possession and played to Becky Conroy whose shot looked destined for the top corner until Heather Phelan pulled off a great save.
Thirty minutes into the second half and finally the Benfica pressure told. Jessica Devereux played a brilliant cross field pass to Leah O’Donohue who was in space on the right side. Running down the wing she crossed and found Brianne O’Connor who controlled the ball and turning her marker fired home to give Benfica the lead. Benfica were full of confidence and five minutes later almost doubled their lead when Leah O’Donohue saw her effort cleared off the line and Jean Dooley’s follow up effort was saved.
With time running out Carrick could find no way back in and it was no surprise when Benfica did score again. Jessica Devereux and Jean Dooley combined and Brianne O’Connor scored. It was Jessica Devereux who completed the scoring deep into injury time. Leah O’ Donohue put in a cross and a breakdown in communication between the Carrick defence and keeper saw no one take action and Devereux reacted to score. It was no more than Devereux deserved as she had made a huge difference following her introduction in the second half.
Benfica will now meet Park Rangers in the semi final.