Rebecca Davidson’s spectacular diving stop saw Ulster Elks claimed back-to-back Irish Senior Cup titles, tipping Chloe Brown’s sudden death penalty stroke on to the post for a dramatic victory over Ards.
It saw them win in the seventh round of the shoot-out after normal time had ended 1-1 at Belfield.
That it was Brown who was denied was rough justice for one of the tie’s star performers and key figure throughout their unlikely cup run.
She had given Ards the lead in the 45th minute with a low penalty corner drag-flick and they held that advantage until just five minutes from the end.
But cometh the hour, cometh Megan Frazer as the Irish captain took control from Elks’ seventh corner, taking the ball on herself and slapping through Ashley Orr’s otherwise impregnable defences.
The Ards’ keeper was later named player of the match, primarily for a spell early in the second half when she thrice denied Jessica McMaster while also keeping out a Megan Frazer penalty stroke.
Indeed, the Jordanstown outfit made the majority of the running with Jordan Page’s right wing overlaps, Anna Kozniuk and Frazer pushing on from midfield and Shirley McCay’s raking passes causing plenty of danger.
But they were rocked when Ards nicked their first corner against the run of play and Brown slammed home.
They appeared to be riding out the storm as Elks’ attacks became more ragged later but Dawn Axon won a crucial corner with time running out which Frazer eventually crashed in.
It set up the shoot-out in which the regulation first five efforts ended locked at 4-4; the first round of sudden death saw both strokes converted before McCay roofed her effort.
It left Brown needing to score but Davidson picked out a brilliant save to seal the deal.
Ards: A Orr, T MacLeod, N Grundie, K Harvey, A Doyle, S Alexander, H Coey, K McDonald, C Brown, C Adams, A Benson
Subs: E Larmour, S Holdsworth, B Weir, K Bennett, R Barton, H Martin, N McKnight
Ulster Elks: R Davidson, A Kozniuk, D Wilson, K Lammey, M Frazer, R Chambers, R Barry, J McMaster, J Page, V McMaw, S McCay
Subs: D Axon, E O’Leary, H Irwin, R Anderson, C Mitchell, C Smyth, A Brown.