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Women’s League Cup final: Rachael Norney hoping to be Cliftonville’s lucky charm against Sion Swifts Ladies

Women’s League Cup final


Keeper Rachael Norney has a proud winning record to protect

Keeper Rachael Norney has a proud winning record to protect

William Cherry/Presseye

Keeper Rachael Norney has a proud winning record to protect

When Cliftonville Ladies announced the signing of Shauna Murphy before the start of the season, the former Fermanagh GAA goalkeeper’s arrival piled the pressure on Rachael Norney in a new battle for the No.1 spot.

Now, after facing that challenge, the 18-year-old has a proud winning record to protect.

She kept a clean sheet in the semi-final and then went on to save a penalty in the shoot-out as Cliftonville booked their place in tonight’s Jordan’s Gift Women’s Premiership League Cup decider against Sion Swifts Ladies. Now she wants to add more silverware and if manager John McGrady is looking for a lucky omen, he should look no further.

“It’s my first senior final and I am absolutely buzzing,” said Norney. “The feeling of being in this final is totally different to any final I have been in before.

“I’ve played in finals at youth level and always come out on the winning side. The last thing I won was the Under-17 Cup in the South Belfast League, but this is obviously much bigger.

“I’m always up for a bit of competition. I love being challenged. Having another goalkeeper come in means even if I’m not playing, if coming off the bench it’s a good goalkeeper coming on.”

The Reds are expected to have Toni Leigh Finnegan in their line-up after she didn’t make the cut when Kenny Shiels selected his final 23 for the Women’s Euro 2022 finals.

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“It’s always great for the team when there are international players coming back in with us,” said Norney. “Toni Leigh just missed out on the Euros, but we will all come together with her as a team and we are going to support her and hopefully give her something to smile about.”

With the rest of their internationals now preparing to go to England next week, Swifts captain Tasmin McCarter is hoping that provides an opportunity to wreck the rampant League leaders’ quest for a treble.

“When teams don’t have all their internationals there, it does make a difference,” said McCarter. “We know Cliftonville at their full strength from the first League game and what they can do and what way they can hurt us. When you take those players out, we fancy ourselves to win it.”

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