Abi Ticehurst brings us up to date with all the week’s action in the FAI WNL with a big game near the bottom and a controversial ending to the top four battle between DLR Waves and Shelbourne.
Pictured above, Éabha O’Mahony fires one home for Cork City for the first equaliser. Photo supplied to Impetus by @PhotosSalem
In the Spotlight: Cork and Athlone share the spoils in bottom of the table clash
Ahead of the game, Impetus caught up with people from both clubs to set the scene for this important clash. Cork City defender Shaunagh McCarthy told me: “I felt confident going into the game at the weekend. We prepared well during the week as a team and we set out to get all 3 points. The spirit around the team has been really high which has helped us to feel confident going into recent games.”
Prior to kick-off, Athlone Town Assistant Manager Anthony Fay told us: “We knew travelling down to Cork it was always going to be a hard game, we know Cork are a good team with match winners all over the park. But within the camp were quietly confident of getting all 3 points, we had a game plan that nearly work. Also, we know we have a quality squad with some very young exciting players”
This was a bottom of the table clash that didn’t disappoint! A pacey start to the game from both sides as it began end to end but ultimately Athlone kicked things off with a strike at goal early on, however Abby McCarthy made light work of the save and the game continued.
McCarthy was in action again in the 12th minute but proved her shot stopping worth once more. That said, just moments later McCarthy was off her line and a defensive nightmare ensued as the Cork defenders struggled to clear the ball which meant that Melissa O’Kane was able to take a chance to put Athlone ahead to open the scoring for the afternoon.
Though both settled in the game relatively quickly, Athlone certainly dominated more of the play, calling McCarthy into action on several occasions. However, Cork’s Sophie Liston was able to dance her way through the midfield and defence in a run down the right wing, but for all her efforts no-one in the box was able to capitalise.
Fear not, shortly after a loose ball on the edge of the box was caught by Éabha O’Mahony and Cork nabbed an equaliser. Cork captain Becky Cassin had a dangerous free kick just outside the box, but much like Liston’s attempt, there was no-one able to make the most of the soaring ball. Shortly after, Cassin was involved in a foul and the ref saw fit to blow for half time as she was receiving treatment.
All cylinders firing from both sides as the second half kicked off with a cute little link up between Liston and O’Mahony, but not enough pace on the shot saw it roll just wide of the post. Quick to counter, Athlone chase the ball to the other half and are awarded a corner and it’s in the back of the net, Roisin Molloy with the goal after what looked like a foul on McCarthy.
McKevitt makes a surging run forward, having been a real nuisance to Athlone all game, but to no avail for Cork. At the 60 minute mark at this point and it’s evident the sun is taking it’s toll as much of the game’s previous pace is reduced from here on out. Some slick last ditch defending from Ciara McNamara to deny a third game for Athlone, which would’ve likely put the game to bed.
Cork once again on the counter as a lovely bit of switch play from Eve Mangan and Sophie Listor drives the play forward, a cross swinging in but again no-one able to get on the end of it. A Cork freekick results, but the ball floats beyond the players and Athlone immediately counter, Katelyn Keogh races forward and is able to bypass several Cork players before she cuts inside in the box and shoots at goal, however the attempt flashes wide.
Athlone continue to look dangerous in the final ten when Emily Corbett catches a loose ball at the back, but she can’t convert the shot despite McCarthy being dangerously far out the box. It looked as though Athlone were set to take all three points at Turner’s Cross, but a quick pass and play routine from Lauren Egbuloniu, O’Mahony and Cassin replacement, Christina Dring meant they were able to pinch a point in the 90th minute. City evidently finding some pace and power in the final minutes of an exciting game.
Talking after the match, Cork City defender Shaunagh McCarthy told Impetus: “I thought the sun played a huge factor on the game. It was hard to keep up the intensity with the heat but I felt that we all put in a massive shift as a team to grind out the point. We know it wasn’t our best performance of the season but we worked together to help each other out and get through the 90 minutes. We all felt that we could have done better but we will only improve on that performance going into the Wexford game this weekend.”
Athlone’s assistant manager Anthony Fay told me, “When we look back on the game we feel we dropped two points, no disrespect to Cork and all credit goes to them for the way they fought till the final whistle. On the balance of play we had the majority of the clear cut chances – if we are to climb up the table then we need to start finishing out game. That is our last two games we conceded two late goals to leave the four points behind us.
“The team overall played well. We have a very young team and we are always learning ever game. I thought Roisin Molly, Muireann Devaney, Chloe Fylnn and Laurie Ryan were the stand out players for us. We will dust ourselves down and go again next week against a very talented experienced Peamount side.”
I admire Cork’s confidence to play out from the back with Abby McCarthy proving herself as a shot stopper and comfortable with her feet. Though I’m not sure such a tactic will be as safe to play during the likes of the top of the table. Athlone certainly used it to their advantage on occasion to put the pressure on Cork. Also mentions for Fiona Owens who terrorised the Cork midfield consistently throughout. Sara McKevitt was here, there and everywhere, trojan work rate to push the game on for Becky Cassin proving just why she captains the side as she battled on tirelessly despite two huge knocks.
FT Cork City 2-2 Athlone Town
Wexford sit quietly and comfortably in third spot as they continue to build on their return from the break. A first half goal from Edel Kennedy was enough to secure the three points for the side despite them having numerous chances, including one for Aisling Frawley. Galway will be disappointed not to have at least got on the scoresheet in this one. However, Wexford’s pace proved too much for the home side and their title race march.
FT Galway 0-1 Wexford Youths
A welcome victory for Peamount here as they race with Shelbourne for the top spot. These five goals will have put them in good stead as the sides are neck and neck on point with just goal difference the defining factor. A solid performance by the Peas with goals from Sadhbh Doyle, two from Eleanor Ryan-Doyle, Alannah McEvoy and Karen Duggan rounding things off. Aoife Cronin spoiling the clean sheet for Niamh Reid-Burke to score what would be a consolatory goal for Treaty.
FT Peamount United 5-1 Treaty United
The ‘clean sheet race leaders’ faced one another in this match up with Amanda Budden on top with eight for Shelbourne and Eve Badana with six for DLR Waves heading into the fixture. Saoirse Noonan was all fired up for this encounter which included an overhead kick in the first half but to no avail as Badana swiped the strike away. But a determined Noonan notched goal number seven shortly after the break to put the Shels ahead. Jetta Berrill got in the action for DLR to scatter the title racers chances with a fantastic goal.
Super sub Rebecca Cooke would steal the glory but not without a degree of controversy. The move started with what appeared to be a foul throw which, staggeringly the officials all missed and ended with Cook’s silky left-footed strike to secure the win for Shels, who find themselves level on points with Peamount.
Saturday 24th July
Shelbourne v Treaty United (14:00)
Bohemians v DLR Waves (14:00)
Wexford Youths v Cork City (18:30)
Athlone Town v Peamount United (19:00)