Belfast Telegraph

'Glentoran feels like family': American defender Davis ponders return after Irish Cup win

Glentoran Women 1 Linfield Ladies 0

Final flourish: Glentoran celebrate retaining the Irish Cup
Final flourish: Glentoran celebrate retaining the Irish Cup
Battle wounds: Jessica Davis

By Stuart McKinley

There was blood and sweat, but thankfully for Jessica Davis' sake no tears as she played a key role in Glentoran's Electric Ireland Women's Irish Cup triumph.

The battle-scarred American defender was already sporting a black eye from the previous weekend's league draw with Linfield Ladies and played an hour of the Cup final with her head wrapped in a bandage after sustaining a cut.

There was no adverse affect on the Virginia native as she led the Glens defence to a clean sheet, which was enough to see them lift the trophy for the second successive season and eighth time in all after Emma McMaster had given them the lead after just four-and-a-half minutes.

Linfield goalkeeper Lauren Perry could only palm Demi Vance's 30-yard effort straight up into the air and McMaster tapped the ball through her legs and over the line to give them a dream start - and ultimately a 1-0 win.

The Blues just couldn't find a way to break through a strong and solid Glentoran defence and it was telling that, bar a couple of second-half scrambles, Linfield's best chance of the game came when Davis was off the pitch receiving treatment before returning looking like ex-England hero Terry Butcher.

"We definitely had some moments when I think we were a bit chaotic and I wish that we could have just been a bit more calm, but I think we fought really hard as a back line," said Jessica.

"Everyone was working together and diving and doing whatever we could just to make sure they didn't get it in the back of the net and, at the end of the day, that's what happened.

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"I've got a few battle wounds, but it's part of the game. They are 100 times worth it when you win the game and finish with a trophy."

The Irish Cup victory was a special milestone for long-serving Glentoran player Kelly Bailie. Not only has she played a part in all eight of their victories in the competition, she has now amassed a collection of 30 medals with the club.

Davis has three, with the Glens dominating the knockout competitions this season having previously won the Premiership League Cup and County Antrim Cup earlier in the summer.

"I never could have imagined everything would turn out the way that it did whenever I came in, but the goal was to win all three of the cup competitions and we've done that, so I'm happy with that," said Jessica.

"Belfast has been wonderful and Glentoran have been wonderful. I think the standard of the league has improved since I got here to now and I have been really happy with that.

"I go home in a week and I will take some time out and then make decisions about next year.

"I've had a really good year here and Glentoran feels like family. I haven't made any choices yet, but I am not ruling it out at all."

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