All-Island Cup report: Treaty United 1 - 1 Shamrock Rovers

Aine O'Gorman

Aine O'Gorman netted the equaliser for Shamrock Rovers on Saturday. Credit: Matthew Lysaght (ETPhotos)

Shamrock Rovers were held to a 1-1 draw in Garryowen, Dominic Foley's Treaty United doing just enough to secure a point from what was a closely contested opening game in the Avenir Sports Women’s All-Island Cup.

A weak sunlight cast a lukewarm glow on the North Stand’s fern coloured seating, the home side battling against a crisp breeze that in turn, propelled the visitors.

There were three squad changes in the starting eleven since the Hoops faced Wexford FC at Tallaght on St Patrick’s weekend.

Amanda Budden returned to the starting line-up following a successful rehabilitation of her knee, while Maria Reynolds and Lauren Kelly made their first starts since the League campaign began on the 9th of March.

Very little separated the sides in the opening forty five at the Markets Field. Treaty were quick out the blocks, Jillian O’Toole’s cross finding Caleigh Boeckx who, arms thumping, did well to stay on her feet and deliver the ball into the six yard box.

Katie Lawlee, who netted an assist and a goal in the home side's victory over DLR Waves last weekend, manoeuvred to her preferred right foot and fired a shot up and over the crossbar, while a Kayla Kyle volley later in the half flashed across Budden’s post, Caleigh Boeckx’s extended foot, unlucky not to connect.

Having successfully defended the siege launched by the Canadian cavalry, the visitors looked to utilise the direction of the wind with long and inviting balls towards Kelly and skipper Aine O’Gorman, who dutifully patrolled the right hand channel.

In one aesthetically pleasing transition of play, Jessica Hennessy left Boeckx on read, a perfectly weighted touch to O’Gorman resulting in a swift one two between the Wicklow native and Kelly, the captain miscuing and hurtling the ball over the crossbar.

Amanda Budden channelled a touch of the Gypsy King, Tyson Fury, who, like the Douglas native, displayed no signs of ring rust on his return to competition, reacting quickly to block a Delana Friesen intercept, expertly utilising her legs and upper body to block the midfielders goal bound shot.

Lawlee supplied a number of sweeping deliveries for the home side, a towering header by Erin Van Dolder launching the ball like a flipper in a pinball machine within the box, before Jessica Hennessy, who was once again imperious for the Hoops in defence, cleared her lines.

A chance created on foot of a pickpocket by Lia O’Leary on Cara Griffin was flashed wide and to the right by the roving winger and the sides looked set to end the first half with nothing to show for their efforts.

Yet Dominic Foley’s eleven would take the lead in the 33rd minute, a deflected cross from Caleigh Boeckx falling to the in-form Van Dolder, the number four blasting the ball from the edge of the box just out of Budden’s reach and into the far left hand corner.

As expected, Rovers responded quickly, O’Gorman for the second time this season netting the leveller for the Dublin 24 women in the 41st minute with an audacious effort from an awkward angle on the left flank that caught not only goalkeeper Anne-Marie Ulliac, but the spectators, off guard.

O’Gorman’s celebrations were mute however, the skipper adjusting her armband resolutely. More work to be done.

For the second half, Collie O’Neill opted to rest Budden and introduced Duleek native Summer Lawless, who, calm and composed between the sticks, was not to be troubled.

Joy Ralph created the first chance for Rovers after the restart, snatching the ball from Grace McInerney and popping off a looping shot that narrowly sailed over the crossbar.

It was to be the first of many for the Greenhills native, who’s press against the women in azure and white was so relentless, her boot at one point needed a breather.

Having secured her footwear, Ralph once again got the better of McInerney, who could only look on as the number 19 shirt bore down on goal.

Kayla Kyle would save the Limerick native’s blushes, a last ditch tackle doing just enough to nudge the Hoops attacker off balance, O’Toole later shown a yellow card for tugging at Ralph’s shirt in her attempt to avoid a repeat.

A clash of heads reduced Foley’s women to ten for a brief spell, Van Dolder receiving medical treatment on the touchline.

Lawlee let one fly from distance for the home side, but it was the visitors who looked the more dangerous as dusk began to encroach, an Alannah Prizeman header invoking audible gasps from all in attendance as it flashed agonisingly past the post.

In the 80th minute, a well-timed slide tackle by Talia White denied substitute Jaime Thompson the glory of a late winner, while a powerful front post header from Ralph in the dying embers of the game whizzed wide and to the left, all but extinguishing the Hoops hopes of three points.

Treaty United WFC: Anne-Marie Ulliac; Kayla Kyle, Grace McInerney, Talia White; Delana Friesen, Cara Griffin, Ayaka Ikeza, Jillian O'Toole (Grace Gleeson 78), Erin Van Dolder; Caleigh Boeckx, Katie Lawlee (Hannah (Yasmine) Saidi 75).

Subs not used: Katie Irwin, Shauna Pearson, Leah Martin, Esra Kangal, Kate O'Donovan, Fiana Bradley.

Booked: Jillian O'Toole (77).

Shamrock Rovers WFC: Amanda Budden (Summer Lawless 46); Shauna Fox, Jessica Hennessy, Melissa O'Kane, Lia O'Leary; Scarlett Herron, Aoife Kelly, Aine O'Gorman, Joy Ralph, Maria Reynolds (Alannah Prizeman 74); Lauren Kelly (Jaime Thompson 74).

Subs not used: Hannah Martin, Shannon Coady, Stephanie Zambra.

Booked: None.

Referee: Lucas Keating.