Women's Premiership League Cup


28 Jun 2022

Sion Swifts Ladies captain Tasmin McCarter has issued a rallying call to her teammates ahead of the Jordan’s Gift Women’s Premiership League Cup final against Cliftonville Ladies on Wednesday.

The competition returned this season for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic; with McCarter’s Sion being edged out in that showpiece against Glentoran Women.

McCarter, 29, is one of just four players who is still at the club who were involved with Sion that campaign with the squad now dominated by young players who have emerged through the club’s youth system.

The defender believes a significant following of Sion fans will make their way to the Blanchflower Stadium in Belfast, home of HW Welders FC, to cheer on the side on Wednesday.

“It is such a massive occasion for everyone involved with the club and especially the supporters,” McCarter explained.

“They are there for us every other week throughout the season for us when we are at home and they are so important to any success we have.

“There is such a great community at the club and everyone has played their part in this run – this final means so much to them.”

Sion are a side in-form, having lost just one of their last eight matches in all competitions and they are aware of the importance of cup competitions to their season.

The County Tyrone side are aiming for a top-half league finish but the Jordan’s Gift Women’s Premiership League Cup offers an opportunity to win their first trophy since lifting the Irish Cup in 2017.

The defender continued: “The cup runs were always going to be really important to our season.

“Realistically we would not be winning the league against so many international players but cup competitions give you that opportunity to win silverware.

“That being said, our league results have been really strong this season too – we got a point against Glentoran and we are right in that race for a top three or four spot.

“We always set our targets for the season high and naturally we are really excited for the final, the entire dressing room is buzzing and everyone is raring to go for it.

“However, nobody wants to be the losing team in the final and we are focused on winning.”

While there has rightly been a lot of coverage of Cliftonville Ladies young squad for the final – with the Reds without their eight Northern Ireland players – their opponents are also notably youthful.

Sion have already fielded nine teenagers this campaign and they have played a pivotal role in their run to the final, including wins over Derry City Women and Linfield Ladies.

“We have a very young squad, but it is a small one too – ideally we need to bring in a few more players with a bit of experience,” McCarter explained.

“I’m a good bit more experienced than any other player in the squad, and they are usually in-between the ages of 16 and 21.

“Those players who have been about for a bit longer, like myself, then have that really important responsibility of helping guide them a bit in matches and training – especially against the best sides.

“We know that results have been encouraging so far this season but it is a long campaign and we need to make sure we strengthen so that we are not caught out.

“We are such a small squad who have lost a lot of starting players over the years; our incredible youth system helps us replenish the squad but they need signings too.”

The final will get underway at 7.45pm at the Blanchflower Stadium and will also be live streamed on the BBC Sport NI website and BBC iPlayer.