LOIW Match Report: Shelbourne 1 - 1 Shamrock Rovers

Tolka Park

Tolka Park Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick

Macdara Ferris reports from Tolka Park

Shamrock Rovers had shown their intent for this season’s League of Ireland Women’s Premier Division by signing six players from Shelbourne (and six from Peamount United) over the winter on their return to the top flight of the women’s game in Ireland.

The point they earned in this match against last season’s double winners in Tolka Park is another marker for their ambitions.

Hoops skipper Áine O’Gorman had given the visitors the lead and there was a certain irony in the fact that the equaliser for Shelbourne came from an ex-Rovers player – Jessie Stapleton’s header against her former underage club means both sides have seven points from their opening three games.

Noel King made just the one change to his team for this much anticapated clash of the clubs formed in Ringsend. Siobhán Killeen came in to replace Kerri Letmon from their 2-0 win in Dalymount Park against Bohs last Saturday.

Collie O’Neill selected all six of the former Shelbourne players in his squad for his starting XI. He made one change from the team who beat Treaty United 6-0 in Tallaght last week. Jamie Thompson, who scored a second half hat-trick off the bench in that game, came into the team in place of Stephanie Zambra – who is facing several weeks on the sidelines having picked up an injury.

The Hoops came out of the blocks quickly. Thompson’s corner in third minute saw a powerful header from Jessica Hennessy saved by Courtney Maguire and the Shels goalkeeper was called into action on several occasions in the first half but her sound positioning meant Rovers couldn’t find the breakthrough.

However it was the Hoops netminder Amanda Budden who was tested to a greater extent in the opening half. She pushed Megan Smyth-Lynch’s long distance effort around the post early on and Noelle Murray also stung the gloves of the former Shels netminder on 16 minutes.

Smyth-Lynch showed some lovely footwork to create some space for a shot that just fizzed over the crossbar, this time without troubling Budden.

There were a couple of tackles from Shelbourne on Rovers attacking players that added to the atmosphere with the home supporters showing their appreciation for the physicality – which never stepped over the line. The battle between Jamie Thompson and Pearl Slattery was an entertaining part of the game.

The opener came just before the hour mark with the goal influenced by the impressive Jamie Thompson – one of the Rovers players who has come through the club’s underage structures.

She made a powerful run into the box from the left and found the Ireland centurion O'Gorman in space and the Wicklow woman rifled home the goal, her second of the season, with her right boot to the delight of the travelling Rovers fans amongst the 676 supporters in Tolka Park.

Noel King quickly made a couple of attacking changes after the hour mark bringing on Jemma Quinn and Ruvimbo Mucherera as they looked for the equaliser and they proved useful changes.

With all the talk of players coming from Tolka Park to Tallaght, it was a former Shamrock Rovers player Jessie Stapleton who got the equaliser in the 69th minute. Mucherera had won a corner off Jess Gargan and when Kavanagh put the set piece in, Stapleton was on hand to head home.

A super save from Maguire prevented Thompson from returning Rovers into the lead as her shot from distance was touched wide by the flying Reds goalkeeper. Shels pressed hard in the closing period to get the win but they couldn’t find their way by Budden and the resolute Rovers defence.

They did have the ball in the back of the net in injury time but Murray’s effort was disallowed for offside much to the relief of Rovers.

Shelbourne FC: Courtney Maguire; Maggie Pierce, Pearl Slattery ©, Jessie Stapleton, Keeva Keenan; Siobhan Killeen (Ruvimbo Mucherera 64), Rachel Graham (Jenaya Robertson 89), Alex Kavanagh, Megan Smyth-Lynch (Kerri Letmon 90); Kayla Hamric (Jemma Quinn 64), Noelle Murray.
Subs not used: Katie Keane, Leah F Doyle, Taylor White, Sophie Watters, Nadine Clare.
Booked: None.

Shamrock Rovers WFC: Amanda Budden; Jessica Gargan, Shauna Fox, Jessica Hennessy, Lia O'Leary; Aine O'Gorman, Aoife Kelly, Orlaith O'Mahony, Alannah McEvoy (Lauren Kelly 84); Abbie Larkin, Jaime Thompson,
Subs not used: Summer Lawless, Abby Tuthill, Chloe McCarthy, Aoibhe Fleming, Alannah Prizeman, Melissa O'Kane, Maedbh Hanney, Nicole Fox.
Booked: None.

Referee: Alan Carey.
Attendance: 676
extratime.com Player of the Match:Jamie Thompson (Shamrock Rovers)