Women's Premiership League Cup


28 Aug 2023
Sion Swifts Ladies celebrate their 2022 League Cup success

Although a relatively new addition to the calendar, the NIFL Women's Premiership League Cup has gone from strength to strength over the years.

And the final, this year to be contested between Sion Swifts Ladies and Cliftonville Ladies, has already established itself as one of the biggest games in the female football season.

It will be a record equalling third appearance in the decider for both clubs and a repeat of last season's final which saw the Swifts come out on top after two extra-time goals.

Linfield lead the way with two cup final victories with Newry City and Glentoran - in addition to Sion - also getting their hands on the trophy since its establishment in 2016.

Newry City Ladies won the first ever NIFL Women's Premiership League Cup

2016 – Newry City Ladies 2-0 Linfield Ladies
Newry City lifted the inaugural trophy back in 2016 with a two-goal defeat of Linfield at Holm Park.

The Blues had been enjoying a hugely successful season having already lifted the league title, the Irish Cup and the Co. Antrim Cup but goals in either half from Grace Murray and Aimee Mackin put paid to their hopes of a clean sweep.

Newry started much the brighter of the two sides, coming close through Alexandra Clarke, Aoife Lennon and Emma McMaster before the deadlock was then broken in spectacular fashion when Murray thundered home a 35 yard free-kick over keeper Louise McFrederick.

Then, on the hour, Mackin effectively put the outcome beyond doubt after she superbly controlled a long ball forward to fire low and into the bottom right corner from around 12 yards out.

2017 – Linfield Ladies 6-3 Newry City Ladies
The sides met again in the 2017 decider with the Blues coming out on top after a nine-goal thriller at Solitude.

Remarkably, four of those goals came in a blistering 12-minute spell right at the start of the game.

Linfield’s Kirsty McGuinness opened the scoring on five minutes with a low free-kick past keeper Dheboara Barbosa through a crowd of players before doubling up moments later into the top corner just a couple of minutes after that.

But Newry hit back almost immediately when Brazilian Rayza De Souza hit a powerful drive from twenty-five yards into the bottom corner – and then grabbed her second with a half volley from just inside the box!

Linfield regained the advantage after half-an-hour through Amber Dempster’s finish across the face of goal from a perfectly weighted McGuinness pass.

Dempster doubled her tally after the break to extend Linfield’s lead before McGuinness bagged her hat-trick with a well placed volley from Megan Bell’s delivery.

Linfield’s sixth arrived courtesy of a powerful header from inside the area on 75 minutes, with Newry grabbing a stoppage time consolation through skipper Grace Murray.

Glentoran celebrate defeating Sion Swifts in the 2019 final

2018 – Linfield Ladies 4-1 Cliftonville Ladies
Linfield were back in the final a year later and, following a 4-1 defeat of Cliftonville at Seaview, became the only side so far to claim back-to-back League Cup final victories.

Following on from her hat-trick last time out, Kirsty McGuinness opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a confidently converted spot-kick but the Reds levelled just after the half-hour mark when Chloe Orr’s fortuitous cross evaded everyone including Linfield keeper Lauren Perry to restore parity.

But two goals either side of the break tipped the balance very much in Linfield’s favour.

Louise McDaniel broke free on 40 minutes to evade the challenges of both Megan Moran and keeper Caoimhe Callaghan to slot home from a tight angle while, a minute after the interval, Lauren Robson added a third with a header from McGuinness’ left-sided cross.

The scoring was completed midway through the second half when Megan Weatherall was unfortunate to touch a loose ball into her own net whilst attempting a clearance.

2019 – Glentoran Women 2-0 Sion Swifts Ladies
There was a new name on the trophy after Glentoran Women hit a quickfire second half double to seal victory over Sion Swifts Ladies in the 2019 decider at Seaview.

The Glens could have held the advantage at the break when they were awarded a penalty after Rachel Rogan had been fouled by Tasmin McCarter but Demi Vance could only look on as her tame spot-kick was saved by Jamaican international keeper Nicole McClure.

But Vance more than redeemed herself with two quick fire goals with around a quarter-of-an-hour remaining to secure the trophy for the Glens.

She opened the scoring from a tight angle after Rogan’s initial effort had bounced back off the foot of the post before, barely sixty seconds later, she doubled up after racing through the centre of the Swifts defence to slide the ball under McClure.

Sion lift the trophy following their 2022 victory over Cliftonville

2022 – Sion Swifts Ladies 2-0 Cliftonville Ladies
After a two season break due to the pandemic, the League Cup final returned as the previous two losing runners-up locked horns at the Blanchflower Stadium.

And as with the 2019 decider, a player missing a first half spot-kick eventually turned from villain to hero.

Sion enjoyed the better chances throughout, and could have moved in front after half-an-hour after Cliftonville’s Fi Morgan was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area only for Cora Chambers to see her resultant penalty come back off an upright.

Scoreless at the end of 90 minutes, Chambers atoned for that miss three minutes into extra time after making the most of a defensive slip to slot the ball past Rachel Norney.

Then, deep into added time, Chambers struck again to secure a first trophy for the Swifts since their 2017 Irish Cup triumph.

2023 Women’s Premiership League Cup Final match arrangements
Cliftonville Ladies v Sion Swifts Ladies
Date: Thursday 31 August 2023 – kick-off: 7.45pm
Venue: Stangmore Park, Dungannon
Admission: Adults: £5, Under-16’s: FREE
Watch Live on the Official NIFL YouTube channel from 7.30pm for full match coverage