Shels’ two goals put paid to City
CORK CITY WFC…………………………………..0
NOELLE MURRAY and Malinda Allen struck goals in each half at the AUL Complex on Saturday afternoon to help Shelbourne LFC overcome a game Cork City WFC in the Women’s National League.
Despite the best endeavours of Maggie Duncliffe and Saoirse Noonan throughout, Rónán Collins’ Leesiders ultimately succumbed to their ninth league reversal of 2018. They remain fifth in the top-flight table, with three games left to play in the current campaign.
Six days on from an All-Ireland final defeat with the Cork senior ladies, Noonan was selected as the fulcrum of the City attack. At the opposite end of the field, Maria O’Sullivan was the keeper in the absence of both Amanda Budden and Eve Badana. She thwarted an early effort by Shels full-back Jamie Finn, before the hosts opened the scoring on 17 minutes. When the ball broke into her path just outside the penalty area, the influential Murray found the bottom corner of the net with a precise right-footed drive.
City responded positively to this set-back. With Noonan causing numerous problems for the Shels back four, they started to get a foothold on the play.
A swerving strike by the Republic of Ireland international forced opposition netminder Amanda McQuillan into a fine stop, and the persistence of Christina Dring almost produced an equaliser in the latter stages of the half.
After the industrious forward dispossessed the advanced McQuillan, Noonan was just wide of the mark at an awkward angle. Shels continued to provide a considerable threat in the final third, and O’Sullivan kept City in contention by brilliantly tipping over Murray’s speculative shot on 37 minutes.
City were close to levelling matters upon the resumption. Duncliffe’s 53rd-minute set-piece made its way towards centre-half Savannah McCarthy, but her header hit the side-netting. Shels’ play was becoming more disjointed, offering City a great deal of incentive in the closing half hour. Noonan’s long-distance free kick almost caught out McQuillan, before she eventually turned it behind for a corner.
Yet, just when they appeared to be under the cosh, the hosts created further daylight between the sides. Allen offered a powerful presence in the Shels engine room, and she superbly fired beyond the reach of O’Sullivan in the 66 minute. This left City with a mountain to climb inside the final-quarter – although substitute Hannah O’Donoghue and the excellent Noonan were marginally off-target with close-range attempts.
While they persevered with their challenge as the final whistle approached, Shelbourne expertly protected their lead to maintain their own push for league honours.
SHELBOURNE LFC: Amanda McQuillan; Jamie Finn, Seana Cooke, Niamh Prior (Pearl Slattery 85), Isibeal Atkinson; Malinda Allen, Rachel Graham; Alannah McEvoy (Kate Mooney 57), Noelle Murray, Jessica Ziu; Emily Whelan (Fiona Donnelly 67).
CORK CITY WFC: Maria O’Sullivan; Danielle Burke (Hannah O’Donoghue 68), Ciara McNamara, Savannah McCarthy, Nathalie O’Brien (Eadaoin Lyons 68); Maggie Duncliffe, Kate O’Donovan; Zara Foley (Courtney O’Keeffe 85), Christina Dring, Eabha O’Mahony; Saoirse Noonan.