McCarthy revels in cup swansong
WILTON UNITED striker Susan McCarthy was offered the perfect send-off in north Dublin on Sunday afternoon, when she played her part in the Cork club’s outstanding FAI Women’s Intermediate Cup final triumph over Whitehall Rangers.
Thanks to an 84th-minute goal courtesy of Shaunagh McCarthy, Wilton squeezed past Whitehall to claim their first title at this grade since 2012.
After she missed out on that particular success, McCarthy was thrilled to finally reach the holy grail in her final season with the club – which she admits wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her husband Paul.
“It’s going to be my last season. They made me captain for today, so I’m honoured for that. I didn’t have an intermediate cup medal at all. It’s my first one and I get to retire with that,” McCarthy remarked.
“I missed 2012, I was pregnant with my first child. I was watching from the sidelines. I missed out on that medal. Without the support of my husband Paul at home, I wouldn’t be able to put in the commitment I have down through the years.”
Whitehall proved to be worthy adversaries on the day and extra-time was a more than realistic possibility until Wilton produced a winning goal in the closing stages. For McCarthy, the key to their eventual 1-0 victory was a desire to play in a constructive fashion – something that was exemplified by player of the match Laura Lynch.
“They [Whitehall] gave us a very tough game, without a doubt. We knew once we got the ball on the ground and just start playing it to feet that we would be able to make a goal of it. Thankfully Shaunagh ended up putting it into the back of the net.
“Laura played absolutely fantastic. Deserved player of the match. Even when Erica [O’Sullivan] dropped into the middle in the second half, they controlled it very well and spread the ball very well for us. We’re very strong all throughout the team, from the backs up to the forwards.”
Though the experience of McCarthy and midfielder Barbara O’Connell was crucial on their path to this decider, there is a strong blend of the young and the old within the Wilton ranks.
With so much work going into the development of their underage system, McCarthy believes they have the perfect mixture at the moment.
“Definitely. I’d say it was about four or five years ago there where the younger ones started coming up from the U16s. We had a good group of them coming up at the one time and that definitely cemented us. Because the mixture in the team with the youth and the experience, it’s definitely was has helped us throughout the whole season. It’s an advantage without a doubt.”
As she examined the joyous scenes of her team-mates in the aftermath of a compelling contest, McCarthy acknowledged it will be difficult to walk away from such a tight-knit group.
“Yeah but sure look, these are memories we’re going to have for life. It’s going to be very, very hard to leave behind. I’ll probably be crying!” McCarthy said.