Cork City WFC 2 Wexford Youths 2
CORK CITY WFC avoided a fourth defeat in succession in the Women’s National League as they held Wexford Youths to a 2-2 draw in Bishopstown on Sunday afternoon.
A stunning late goal from Katie McCarthy - in her first appearance of the season following a serious injury that kept her out for 392 days - was enough to earn City a point from an enthralling contest.
Rónán Collins’ side came into this game on the back of three straight defeats in the league but they were victorious in their last fixture at this venue when they beat Treaty United 2-0 to secure their place in next month’s FAI Cup final.
The home side started on the front foot and they got their reward inside the opening two minutes as they took the lead following an excellent team move.
City kept possession brilliantly before midfielder Becky Cassin upped the tempo by releasing Saoirse Noonan down the left-hand side.
The Republic of Ireland international sent a dangerous cross towards the near post and under pressure, the lively Lauren Egbuloniu cleverly turned the ball home from close range.
The Leesiders were looking to complete the double over Wexford Youths having emerged 2-1 victors thanks to goals from Eabha O’Mahony and Saoirse Noonan in the game at Ferrycarrig Park back in September.
The duo almost helped City score their second in the seventh minute but after Noonan won the corner, O’Mahony’s delivery was headed over the crossbar by Christina Dring.
Goalkeeper Maria O’Sullivan returned to the starting eleven having been harshly suspended for the game away to Peampount United last time out.
The captain was soon required to make two excellent saves, getting down low to her left on both occasions to deny Sinead Taylor and Aoibheann Clancy’s fiercely struck efforts.
The visitors were dealt a huge blow just past the half an hour mark as they were reduced to ten players after centre-back Orlaith Conlon was shown a straight red card for fouling Egbuloniu as the striker looked to race clear on goal.
The FAI Cup finalists looked to capitalise on the extra space but they couldn’t double their advantage before the half-time break with Cassin, O’Mahony, and Dring all going close with their strikes.
Youths regrouped during the interval and with the help of their double substitution, they snatched an equaliser shortly after the restart.
The talented Blessing Kinglsey latched onto a pass down the right flank, charged forward and her superb cross appeared to be diverted in from a couple of yards by City defender Lauren Walsh, who was placed under immense pressure from Kira Bates Crosbie.
With 10 minutes to go, Aisling Frawley - moments after hitting the bar - found the far bottom-right corner with a deftly clipped shot which looked set to be the winner.
But in the closing stages, Gray slipped clearing the ball.
It fell perfectly for Katie McCarthy and after she got it out of her feet, she calmly lifted her effort back over the keeper and into the back of the net to earn City a draw.
CORK CITY: Maria O’Sullivan, Nathalie O’Brien, Danielle Burke, Zara Foley, Eabha O’Mahony, Christina Dring, Saoirse Noonan, Sophie Liston, Becky Cassin, Lauren Egbuloniu, Lauren Walsh.
Subs: Katie McCarthy for Christina Dring (73), Shaunagh McCarthy for Nathalie O’Brien (82).
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Kiev Gray, Ciara Rossiter, Orlaith Conlon, Nicola Sinnott, Lynn Craven, Edel Kennedy, Ellen Molloy, Aoibheann Clancy, Lauren Kelly, Aisling Frawley, Sinead Taylor.
Subs: Blessing Kinglsey for Sinead Taylor (ht), Kira Bates Crosbie for Lauren Kelly (ht), Vanessa Ogbonna for Aisling Frawley (83).
Referee: Graham Kelly.