Women’s National League
Cork City FC-1
By Aaron Clarke
A last gasp headed effort from Jamie Finn denied Cork City Women victory against the defending Women’s National League Champions Shelbourne Ladies at Morton Stadium on Saturday evening.
Playing with the aid of a gale force breeze in the opening half, City got off to a dream start inside the opening five minutes when Saoirse Noonan sprung the offside trap before racing onto a through ball and firing past Amanda McQuillan from 25 yards.
Despite being forced to absorb pressure from Shels, the Leesiders had another excellent chance soon after when Clare Shine raced onto a long ball from Amanda Budden before turning and firing over the bar from 20 yards.
As Shels continued to grow into the game, the City shot-stopper was called into action soon after when she was forced to produce an excellent double save to deny both Leanne Kiernan and Alex Kavanagh.
Moments later, Irish international Kiernan was involved again, this time she latched onto a Siobhan Killeen cross, but Budden was on hand to deny the Cavan native.
As Kiernan continued to cause chaos for the visitors defence, the forward came close to equalising once again when her low effort cannoned off the woodwork.
With momentum turning towards the home side, City were forced into an early substitution after Shine took a knock and soon after Killeen has another opportunity for the defending champions after she skipped past Ciara Desmond, however, she failed to find the target.
As half-time approached, Finn forced an excellent save from Budden after her headed effort was heading towards the top corner.
When the sides returned from the break, Shels continued where they left off and Budden was again called into action first she denied Killeen before tipping the rebound over the bar.
Corks best effort of the half arrived moments later when Kate McCarty slid in Lauren Homan, but she failed to find the target under pressure from the Shels defence.
As the clock continued to wind down, Kiernan continued to offer a threat going forward for and she should have equalised with 25 minutes remaining, however, her effort sailed the wrong side of the goal.
With the battle between Budden and Kiernan continuing, the shot-stopper was again forced to deny the forward with an excellent diving save after Kiernan had raced onto a loose ball before shooting.
Shels thought they’d equalised with 17 minutes remaining when Kiernan had the ball in the net, however, she was adjudged to have been offside.
Deep in injury time Shels pressure was finally rewarded when Finn rose highest to head home a Niamh Prior corner.
Despite conceding late on, City manager Frank Kelleher can take a lot of confidence from his side’s excellent display while Shelbourne will be hoping to return to winning ways when they travel to Peamount United next Saturday.
Shelbourne Ladies FC: Amanda McQuillan; Jamie Finn, Courtney Higgins, Seana Cooke, Lynn Craven (Fiona Donnelly 71’); Niamh Prior, Pearl Slattery, Siobhan Killeen (Kate Mooney 89’), Roma McLaughlin, Alex Kavanagh; Leanne Kiernan
Subs Not Used: Chloe McNamee.
Cork City Women: Amanda Budden; Ciara Desmond (Maggie Duncliffe 79’), Katie McCarthy, Ciara McNamara, Stacey Paul: Danielle Burke, Evelyn Daly, Lauren Homan, Saoirse Noonan; Danielle Sheehy, Clare Shine (Megan Kelleher 29’).
Subs Not Used: Eva Badana, Kate O’Donovan, Tara O’Gorman, Nathalie O’Brien.
Player of the Match: Amanda Budden (Cork City Women)