On Monday night, Mill Meadow, Castledawson played hosted to the Cliftonville Ladies v Sion Swifts semi-final; while the semi-final between Coleraine Ladies and Crusaders Strikers was played at Dixon Park, Ballyclare.
Four goal McDowell sinks Coleraine
Crusaders Strikers eased past a valiant Coleraine Ladies at Dixon Park, Ballyclare last night; the North Belfast side and the ladies from the North West were evenly matched for the opening exchanges but as soon as Danielle McDowell slid the first goal past Bannsiders ‘keeper Laura Dooey then Alison Nicholl’s young charges were going to be up against it.
McDowell added a second with a well-placed shot across the keeper and shortly afterwards Laura Hislop made it 3-0 with a well taken effort.
Strikers went in 5-0 up at the break as Taylor Wright and Amy McGivern were both on target.
Having said that Laura Dooey in the Coleraine goal was performing miracles in keeping the Shore Road Ladies at bay with some super goalkeeping.
Coleraine did create chances but in reality failed to really trouble Michelle Doherty in the Strikers goal.
In the second period Coleraine player manager Alison Nicholl at one stage did have the ball in the Strikers net only to be flagged offside by the alert Assistant Referee.
Courtney Moore increased the lead and then McDowell completed her hat-trick with a well-placed shot, it was then left to Hislop and a fourth from McDowell to complete the scoring.
Final score: Coleraine Ladies 0-9 Crusaders Strikers
Callaghan steals it for the Reds
Northern Ireland International Marissa Callaghan forced the ball over the line in extra time after a goalmouth scramble to give the Red Ladies a passage to the final in this close fought contest at Mill Meadow, Castledawson last night.
Sion Swifts looked much the better team in the first period and it was with the run of play that they deservedly took the lead just after the half hour when Lauren Brennan was put through on a one v one and coolly rounded Reds keeper Tiarna McKenna before slotting into an unguarded net.
That's the way it stayed until half-time.
The North Belfast side then started to come into the game more and the equaliser came when some great work by Callaghan found Louise Doherty; she kept her composure and gave Niamh Barr little chance in the Swifts goal.
The tempo of the game rose and no quarter was asked or given; the two teams couldn’t be separated and extra time beckoned, it was during this period that that the Reds pressure finally told and Callaghan sealed the Cliftonville victory.
Final Score Cliftonville Ladies 2-1 Sion Swifts
The two North Belfast outfits will now clash in the Final of the IFA Women’s Challenge Cup which is scheduled for Monday 31 August at a venue to be confirmed.
Crusaders Strikers captain Danielle McDowell receives her Player of the Match Award from Trevor Hogg (IFA Women's Challenge Cup Committee).
Crusaders Strikers goalscorers pictured after win against Coleraine Ladies in the IFA Women's Challenge Cup semi-final.