St Joes have lifted the KO Cup for the first time in over a decade after defeating the highly fancied West Panthers 3-0 at O’Neill Memorial Park on a chilly Wednesday night.
St Joes had a slow start to the women’s season, but they backed up their 4-2 victory in the league on Sunday over the same opposition in a result that could serve to be the turning point for the Joeys women’s side.
Youngest player on the pitch, 13-year-old Ava Turley, was one of the heroes for Dino Callegher’s side, running rings around the West defence as she helped herself to two goals.
“She is incredible. She plays under 14s and dominates that league. And to think last night she played AFL and kicked seven goals before turning up to our final. Unbelievable,” coach Callegher told the Truth.
“Ava is a workhorse, and she has that drive and no fear type attitude that you just can’t train into players. She is not out of her depth playing in the senior competition and she could definitely go places.”
Along with Turley, special mention goes to goalkeeper Kira-Lee Guthrie who made a massive save right before half time to ensure St Joes went into the break with a two-goal advantage, and then saved a spot kick in the second half in a match winning performance between the posts.
“Kira really kept us in the game. She pulled off a massive, massive save late in the first half to keep it to a clean sheet at halftime. And then in the second half, she saved the penalty.
“Those two massive game changing times could have swung the momentum over the West and made it a whole different ball game, but for those two huge moments from our ‘keeper,” Dino said.
Attacker Al-Lee Wood put the cream on the cake for St Joes when she slotted home a third in the dying minutes of the match.
For West it was a heartbreaking result. Clearly the best side in the opening stanza of the competition this season, they have fallen into a pit of bad form recently, and it continued in the Cup Final on Wednesday night.
“Just recently we are playing like a team that hasn’t played together before. Our passing has gone out the window. We can’t even string three passes together at the moment. I just don’t understand,” West coach George Bugeja told the Truth.
“Joeys’ keeper kept us out of it with those saves she made. But even still, I don’t think we were good enough to win the game.”
The night belonged to St Joes and they are looking ominous.
The BHSA Women’s League returns to action this Sunday with St Joes looking to continue their winning ways when they take on Celtic, and West looking to find some form against a strong Alma.
WOMEN’S KO CUP FINAL RESULT
St Joes 3 (Ava Turley 2, Al-Lee Wood 1)
Player of the match – Ava Turley (St Joes)