League Report: Cork City 2 - 1 Shamrock Rovers

Laura Shine celebrates a goal during Cork City's 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers on Saturday, 11 May 2024.

Laura Shine celebrates a goal during Cork City's 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers on Saturday, 11 May 2024. Credit: David Ribeiro (ETPhotos)

Shamrock Rovers Women continue to search for their first league win of this campaign having lost 2-1 away at Turners Cross to a determined Cork City on Saturday.

The Hoops made one change from their 2-0 defeat at home to Peamount United, Katie O’Reilly making her first senior start for the Hoops following an impressive second half performance against the Peas.

Joy Ralph, who has started every game across all competitions for the Hoops this campaign took her place on the bench for the first 45, Collie O’Neill opting to rest his number 19.

The sides took to the turf under a blaze of sunshine, the home side decked in white with Rovers sporting their black and turquoise away shirt.

O’Neill’s eleven started with four at the back, Scarlett Herron once again slotting into left back with Lia O’Leary and O’Reilly taking up position on their left and right wings respectively.

Danny Murphy’s Cork City lined out with three ahead of goal minder Clodagh Fitzgerald, making no changes from the side that lost 3-0 at home to Treaty United.

The visitors started on the front foot, pressing high, but it was Cork who would break the deadlock in the 9th minute, when Eva Mangan whipped a free-kick towards the back post, finding Dorothea Greulich who headed the ball into the net.

“Let’s f*cking go!” Amanda Budden roared between the sticks on the restart, and her side listened, skipper Aine O’Gorman skipping past Alix Mendez and playing the ball to Aoife Kelly.

Maria Reynolds called for the pass in midfield and Kelly swung it inside, Reynolds linking with O’Reilly on the right whose heels were nipped.

An equaliser almost came for the Hoops in the 15th minute when O’Gorman drifted the free-kick into the six yard box. Shauna Fox did well to make contact, but the ball skimmed past Fitzgerald’s left hand post.

Rovers began to dominate in possession, applying pressure on the wings through O’Reilly, and O’Leary, the Portmarnock native shining brighter than the Northern Lights on the left flank, as Jaime Thompson and O’Gorman circled up top.

Herron muscled Laura Shine on the left, driving forward at every opportunity and left nothing in the tank for the Dublin 24 outfit.

The visitors looked like dead certs to score and were rewarded for their efforts when Reynolds played a visionary ball from the centre of the park to O’Gorman on the right.

The Wicklow native turned and powered it across goal, Thompson’s touch deflecting to O’Leary who, with the accuracy of an archer, fired home on the volley straight past Fitzgerald.

You sensed a renewed vigour for the visitors as Herron scooped the ball into her arms and charged towards the half-way line.

Murphy’s side barely got a touch for the remainder of the first half, however their defensive backline shut Rovers down when it mattered to keep the score level.

O’Neill’s side looked set to kick off another attack on the right channel as the half-time break beckoned, until a mistimed intercept was pounced on by Colleen Kennedy , the twenty-seven year old showing that Tennessee Fire as she rounded Fox and kept Hennessy at bay, her shot rocketing past Budden into the top right bin to put the home side in front once more.

Joy Ralph replaced centre back Hennessy after the break, O’Neill looking to add more firepower to his arsenal.

The measured ringing of a church bell contrasted sharply with the frenetic tempo of play, Aoibhin Donnelly battling Melissa O’Kane down the left flank, while Orlaith O’Mahony worked hard for the Rebels, skipping past O’Reilly at one juncture on the left.

Rovers then went up a gear.

O’Kane took charge in the centre while O’Leary powered up the left.

Ralph posed a constant threat and almost levelled the contest in the 64th minute, her shot at the far left hand post deflected wide for a corner.

“Right on top of her, g’wan!” Budden urged from the other end, as The Hoops crowded at the goalmouth.

City defended the corners well with head and boot and countered in the 67th minute, Kelly deemed to have tugged the shirt of the pacy Chloe Atkinson as she tore down the left lane.

The Mayfield native would prove paramount in the next passage of play, cutting inside and playing a deft pass to Eva Mangan.

Budden would come to the rescue with her left boot and keep Rovers in the game.

Despite relentless pressure from the visitors, City kept a cool head in the final twenty, Fitzgerald doing well to save an O’Gorman header on foot of an O’Leary whip in the 85th minute.

However tempers looked certain to spill over in the 91st when goal scorer Kennedy shouldered Ralph with force, Reynolds doling one back on behalf of her teammate as Budden raced over to confront the twenty seven year old.

Referee Glen Geraghty booked the number 22 Rebel and the players settled.

In the dying seconds, Zambra looked to curl the ball into the top right hand corner from a free-kick at the edge of the box, but Fitzgerald read its passage and collected it calmly.

A mighty roar hit the rafters at Turners Cross as the final whistle blew, the three whitewashes doled out by the Hoops in 2023 smarting a little less with this victory.

Murphy’s side now sit on par with Peamount and Athlone on ten points, while the Hoops remain two from bottom on four.

Cork City FC Women: Clodagh Fitzgerald; Niamh Cotter, Heidi Mackin, Alix Mendez (Lauren Walsh 89), Kiera Sena; Aoibhin Donnelly (Chloe Atkinson 60), Dorothea Greulich, Eva Mangan, Orlaith O'Mahony, Laura Shine (Christina Dring 60); Colleen Kennedy.

Subs not used: Hannah Walsh, Shaunagh McCarthy, Ciara McNamara, Jesse Mendez, Barrett Eidson, Aoife Robinson.

Booked: Alix Mendez (83), Colleen Kennedy (90).

Shamrock Rovers WFC: Amanda Budden; Shauna Fox, Jessica Hennessy (Joy Ralph 46), Scarlett Herron (Alannah Prizeman 80), Melissa O'Kane (Lauren Kelly 80); Aoife Kelly, Aine O'Gorman, Lia O'Leary, Katie O'Reilly (Stephanie Zambra 79), Maria Reynolds; Jaime Thompson.

Subs not used: Summer Lawless, Fiona Owens, Ella Kelly.

Booked: Amanda Budden (59), Katie O'Reilly (65), Aoife Kelly (68), Jaime Thompson (77), Shauna Fox (82).

Referee: Glen Geraghty.