Bohemians 1 Cork City 3
CORK City booked their place in the FAI Women’s Cup semi-finals with a comfortable triumph over Bohemians at the Oscar Traynor Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Lauren Egbuloniu, Ciara McNamara and Nathalie O’Brien all found the net in the opening 45 minutes to set them on their way to victory. Abbie Brophy did pull a goal back for Bohemians, but it wasn't enough to halt City’s progress.
It was a quick return to the north Dublin venue for City, who edged a seven-goal thriller against Bohs in the Women’s National League exactly four weeks earlier. Thanks to a brace of finishes by substitute Laura Shine - as well as one each from Lauren Egbuloniu and Christina Dring - the Leesiders recorded a precious 4-3 victory.
Since then, Rónán Collins’ side have been in a rich vein form and currently occupy third spot in the WNL table. They were Cup champions as recently as 2017 but, given the pressure, Bohs applied in their previous meeting, City could ill-afford to think beyond this last-eight encounter.
In an effort to unsettle their opponents, the hosts deployed a high pressing game in the opening moments of the contest. This kept the Cork defence on their toes and Bohs striker Bronagh Kane lashed narrowly over the crossbar on the half-volley.
Yet from their first sniff of the target in the sixth-minute, the visitors broke the resistance of their Metropolitan counterparts. After racing onto a long delivery, Saoirse Noonan found herself through on goal.
While Courtney Maguire expertly denied the Douglas native with a fine stop, Egbuloniu was on hand to poke home the rebound. This lifted a significant weight off the shoulders of the Cork players, who proceeded to exert their authority in the remaining minutes of the opening period.
Time and again they found space in behind the Gypsies back-four with the pace and trickery of Egbuloniu and Sophie Liston causing them considerable strife. Egbuloniu had been a rejuvenated figure since returning from a long lay-off and she forced Maguire back in action with an excellent double save.
It seemed like only a matter of time until City extended their advantage and a second goal duly arrived on 19 minutes. After Christina Dring had an initial strike blocked from O’Brien’s enticing set-piece delivery on the left-wing, dependable centre-half McNamara drilled to the bottom left hand corner of the Bohs net.
Having relinquished a 2-0 lead in last month’s league showdown, City were keen to push on rather than resting on their laurels. Following much perseverance, they created additional daylight 10 minutes before the interval.
Bohs breathed a sigh of relief when a Noonan shot was cleared off the line, only for O’Brien to unleash an unstoppable finish beyond Maguire's reach.
As a result, City effectively had one foot in the penultimate round of the competition heading into the second half. Although response was expected from Bohs on the resumption, the triumvirate of Eabha O’Mahony, Becky Cassin and Noonan continued to dictate the flow of the game for their Munster rivals.
Dring did square for Egbuloniu to score on the hour mark, but it was eventually ruled out for offside. This was a let-off for Bohs, who were subsequently offered a glimmer of hope moments later.
Brophy discovered a pocket of space in the final-third and her powerful long-distance strike was too strong for City captain Maria O’Sullivan. The Ireland U19 netminder was busier after the break and she superbly turned away a Shaunagh Newman free-kick inside the final quarter.
Nonetheless, City were never in danger of letting their lead slip. Noonan, Dring and O’Mahony all went close to grabbing a fourth for their side and while Rebecca Creagh forced O’Sullivan into a close-range stop, Cork emerged as worthy winners in the end.
Courtney Maguire; Sinead O’Farrelly, Chloe Flynn, Niamh Kenna, Chelsee Snell; Shaunagh Newman, Sophie Watters; Abbie Brophy, Chloe Darby, Annmarie Byrne (Alannah Maxwell 67); Bronagh Kane (Rebecca Creagh 46).
Maria O’Sullivan; Zara Foley, Ciara McNamara, Danielle Burke, Nathalie O’Brien (Kate O’Donovan 82); Eabha O’Mahony, Becky Cassin (Lauren Walsh 82); Sophie Liston (Nadine Seward 85), Christina Dring (Eadaoin Lyons 85), Saoirse Noonan; Lauren Egbuloniu (Laura Shine 71).
Sarah Dyas (Louth).