Rugile Auskalnyte: 'The penalty save was amazing, knowing it’s a cup final, knowing what it means to the girls and knowing what it meant to me.'

Tue, Nov 16 2021
DLR Waves Goalkeeper, Rugile Auskalnyte, warms up before the Athlone Town v DLR Waves, WNL match at Athlone Town Stadium on Saturday, 15 May 2021..

Auskalnyte saved a penalty and was named the Player of the Match in yesterday's final. Credit: Gerry Shanahan (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway WFC emerged victorious in yesterday’s WNL under-19 Cup Final with a 1-0 win over DLR Waves at Eamonn Deacy Park on Sunday evening.

Waves held the Tribeswomen all the way to the second half of extra-time despite being down to ten players but an own goal just minutes from the end of the game meant that the Dublin side lost out in cruel fashion.

Despite the loss, goalkeeper Rugile Auskalnyte earned the Player of the Match award after a stellar performance which saw the young shot stopper command her area expertly throughout the Cup Final including saving a penalty in the second half.

“It’s an achievement and it’s great,” Auskalnyte said, speaking to after the game.

“Obviously it’s heart breaking losing the match in the way that we did, an own goal is never easy to let in.

“But we have to take the positives and the negatives, and the positive is the penalty save and a clean sheet in full time but it’s heart breaking because I feel like we deserved a lot more than we got.”

Galway headed into Sunday having been crowned the WNL under-19 League Champions after a 6-3 win over Athlone Town on the previous Tuesday, but Waves neutralised the Tribeswomen threat excellently throughout the game despite some nerves.

“We played them two weeks ago so we have a lot of their tactics, but I feel it’s more of a confidence game when you’re in goal.

“It’s tough because they are a very strong physical side and we expected that, so I knew I had to be in command of my area and obviously the experience of playing for Ireland would have helped me hugely.

“There were a lot of nerves coming into the game seeing how well they are performing, watching Abbie Callanan’s goal yesterday, I came into this game thinking she’s going to try that on me and she did but luckily it went over the crossbar.”

Jodie McQuillan received her marching orders when she intervened with a deliberate handball on the line preventing Aoibheann Costello from scoring midway through the second half.

Auskalnyte saved the resulting penalty to keep her side in the game, one of several highlights for the ‘keeper in yesterday’s game.

“I feel like Jodie did what she had to do,” Auskalnyte explained.

“I saw her head go down and the second it did I said get that back up, she did what she needed to do for the team, she put herself on the line.

“The penalty save was amazing, knowing it’s a cup final, knowing what it means to the girls and knowing what it meant to me and especially in front of Galway’s home crowd.

“You could hear them all screaming when the penalty was given but it was a great feeling. Obviously, heart breaking at the end but you’ve got take the positives from it.”

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