League Report: Bohemians 0 - 1 Athlone Town

Chloe Singleton on the ball pictured in action for Athlone Town against Shelbourne last season

Chloe Singleton scored the winning goal on Saturday. Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Bohemians v Athlone Town

On the eve of the 100 year anniversary of Athlone Town’s only *record scratch* men’s - (let’s not forget that dramatic penalty shootout in Tallaght stadium last season) FAI Cup triumph, Athlone Town replicated the scoreline on the same patch of grass, prevailing 1-0 at Dalymount Park in the SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division.

Formula One aficionado’s will have appreciated the black and red chequered flags that billowed as both teams sauntered onto the pitch, The Gypsies decked top to tail in their familiar red and black while the visitors from the heartlands sported a sharp black on white.

When both sides met in Dublin 7 in 2023, Bohemians came out on top, beating Ciarán Kilduff’s side 3-2 in a closely contested battle.

Retribution however for their 5-0 thumping in Lios Uí Mhulláin will have been at the forefront of the minds of the Dalymount Dynamos, who huddled conspiratorially before kick-off, seven of the starting eleven debutants at ‘Dalyer’.

From the opening whistle, the visitors posed a significant threat, Gurteen native Roisin Molloy keeping former Hoops defender Tiegan Ruddy occupied on the right flank, while Maddison Gibson, who scored in both contests last season, looked dangerous on the left and centre.

A sweeping cross from Molloy in the opening minutes of the game found the Monmouth alumni, who showed real composure metres from goal, controlling the ball with her chest and firing a shot on the bounce with the outside of her left boot.

Defender Lisa Murphy, now in her fourth year with the Dublin Originals, entered the fray with a crucial block, Rachael Kelly diving just off her shoulder for additional cover.

Bohemians sponsor DHL Express would struggle to deliver quicker than Molloy, Kerryanne Brown trying her luck with an overhead kick from one such ball, while Gibson, unmarked in the box, scuffed an inviting ball from the winger wide and to the left.

To the home side's credit, Bohemians were no pushovers, former Terenure Rangers talent Ciara Smith solidifying her first league appearance in the shadow of St Peter’s Church with a number of timely interceptions, while Murphy gave the backline a much needed reprieve with back to back crucial clearances.

Rachael Kelly too showed up to fight for the Gypsies - and did, making a number of spectacular saves both on and off her line as the Town pressed for the opener.

Dawdling on the ball, a lapse in Murphy’s concentration was pounced upon by Brown who’s first touch was heavy, Kelly quick to capitalise and nuke the danger.

University of Galway honorary Chloe Singleton had a long range strike plucked from the air by the former Golden Glove winner, before the woman in orange tipped a spectacular effort from Gibson against the crossbar, the ball bouncing fortuitously into the path of a black and red shirt.

However, the second half held promise for Bohs, Smith cutting infield just shy of the half-time whistle and playing an astute pass to the in space Sarah McKevitt who threaded the ball to Fiona Donnelly.

Spotting that former Red Katie Keane was off her line, Donnelly fired a looping ball, forcing the keeper to backpedal awkwardly and tip the ball over the bar.

After the restart, Bohemians upped the ‘Roots, Rock and Reggae’, slick transitions between Ruddy and Donnelly striking a Marley-esque chord with the locals in attendance.

Substitutes Orlagh Fitzpatrick and Lynn Craven came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock, Fitzpatrick’s whipped ball punched clear by an outstretched Keane, who recovered well to stop a missile launched by stone wall defender Craven.

Yet the power generated by the number two sub spun the ball into the path of Fitzpatrick, who in the tee up planted her feet awkwardly and skewed the ball wide.

Kiernan’s side were to rue that chance when in the 66th minute, an inviting ball from the incoming Casey Howe found Singleton who steered the ball with her head into the back of the net.

Despite first blood being drawn to the visitors, Murphy, Reddy, Smith and Donnelly were in no mood for a 5-0 repeat and shored up the right and left flanks, Kelly coming to the rescue when Offaly native Howe found a gap and played in Isabel Ryan, who lost the race for the ball with the woman between the sticks.

Despite conceding no further goals, The Gypsies were unable to travel back in time and right the wrong of their last defeat at Lissywollen, the contest ending in their first loss of the 2024 campaign.

Bohemians WFC: Rachael Kelly; Sarah McKevitt, Lisa Murphy, Tiegan Ruddy, Ciara Smith; Shauna Carroll (Lynn Craven 57), Fiona Donnelly, Aoibhe Fleming (Orlagh Fitzpatrick 57), Katie Lovely (Savannah Kane 82); AoibheBrennan, Alannah McEvoy.

Subs not used: Medbh Ryan, Sarah Duke Power, Aoife Brophy, Abbie O'Hara, Rachel McGrath, Katie Malone.

Booked: Alannah McEvoy (53), Fiona Donnelly (83), Aoibhe Brennan (88).

Athlone Town WFC: Katie Keane; Shauna Brennan, Kellie Brennan, Jesi Lynne Rossman, Kayleigh Shine;Madison Gibson (Casey Howe 45), Roisin Molloy (Isabel Ryan 81), Laurie Ryan, Chloe Singleton, Kate Slevin(Jenaya Robertson 81); Kerryanne Brown (Gillian Keenan 69).

Subs not used: Amy Mahon, Ciara O'Neill, Antea Guvo, Abby Carchio, Aoife Murphy O'Connor.

Booked: Casey Howe (68), Chloe Singleton (83).

Referee: Ian O’Keeffe.

Attendance: 933