Peamount 3 Cork City WFC 0
THIS was a difficult night for Cork City at PRL Park in Greenogue on Saturday as Ronan Collins’ Leesiders succumbed to a second straight defeat in Group One of the Women’s National League.
In a dress rehearsal for their FAI Cup showdown in Tallaght next month, first half goals from Lucy McCartan, Karen Duggan and Aine O’Gorman were enough to give the title-chasing Peamount United all three points.
A resilient Cork didn’t let their heads drop, but they ultimately couldn’t rein in the challenge of their impressive Newcastle counterparts.
City’s starting line-up for this game showed a number of changes from the side that defeated Treaty United in the Cup semi-final last weekend. In addition to Abby McCarthy deputising for suspended netminder Maria O’Sullivan, Shaunagh McCarthy and Lauren Walsh were both drafted into defence.
Kate O’Donovan joined recent Irish call-up Eabha O’Mahony in midfield, with Becky Cassin taking a more advanced position in behind lone striker Christina Dring.
The newcomers to the team adapted well initially as a strong defensive shape helping to limit Peamount’s attacking options.
The hosts eventually found space inside the City half, however, and broke the deadlock on 14 minutes. While Saoirse Noonan has made headlines for combining soccer and ladies football in recent weeks, Peamount midfielder McCartan is also a prominent GAA star with her native Westmeath.
After being picked out 25 yards from the target, she unleashed a powerful shot beyond the reach of McCarthy.
This was the catalyst for Peamount to take control and they doubled their lead three minutes later with another emphatic finish from Duggan.
Veteran Republic of Ireland international O’Gorman also got in on the act as she calmly fired to the bottom right-corner to leave City staring into an insurmountable 3-0 interval deficit.
Lauren Egbuloniu’s introduction on the restart provided the visitors with much-needed energy and she combined to good effect with Sophie Liston and Noonan.
Her indirect replacement of O’Donovan also allowed Cassin to drop back into a more orthodox central midfield role.
This prevented Peamount from cutting loose in the manner they may have envisaged, though Abby McCarthy was still kept busy between the sticks.
After failing to control a speculative Lauryn O’Callaghan strike on 69 minutes, she superbly turned away Alannah McEvoy’s follow-up effort.
City lost substitute Eadaoin Lyons to a shoulder injury in the closing minutes of the action and Collins will be hopeful it doesn’t rule her out of their showpiece reunion with Peamount in December.
Naoisha McAloon; Lauryn O’Callaghan, Claire Walsh, Niamh Farrelly (Dora Gorman 77), Dearbhile Beirne; Aine O’Gorman, Karen Duggan (Niamh Barnes 77), Lucy McCartan (Tiegan Ruddy 61), Megan Smyth-Lynch (Stephanie Roche 67); Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (Sadhbh Doyle 62), Alannah McEvoy.
Abby McCarthy; Zara Foley (Eadaoin Lyons 78), Danielle Burke, Shaunagh McCarthy (Nathalie O’Brien 67), Lauren Walsh; Eabha O’Mahony, Kate O’Donovan (Lauren Egbuloniu 46); Sophie Liston (Leah Murphy 78), Becky Cassin, Saoirse Noonan; Christina Dring (Jesse Mendez 75).