Galway 3 Cork City 3
A STUNNING long-range strike from captain Becky Cassin in the 86th minute was enough to earn Cork City a point in the opening game of the 2021 Women’s National League season against Galway on Saturday afternoon.
A hat-trick from the brilliant Rachel Kearns looked to have won it for Galway, but goals from Lauren Egbuloniu and Eabha O’Mahony before Cassin’s heroics earned City a draw at Eamonn Deacy Park.
City started slowly and deservedly fell behind after 15 minutes when Kearns powered a bullet header from Shauna Brennan’s corner into the roof of the net.
Galway doubled their lead midway through the first half when Brennan cleverly rolled the ball into the path of Kearns, allowing the striker to slot home from close range.
But the Leesiders would grab a lifeline after half an hour as substitute Lauren Egbuloniu, who earlier replaced the injured Sophie Liston, made it 2-1 against the run of play with a composed finish.
The dangerous Sarah McKevitt - making her competitive debut for the club - skipped past former City midfielder Savannah McCarthy down the left before picking out Egbuloniu, who expertly tucked the ball into the bottom right corner.
McKevitt was again involved as she tried an ambitious effort following a mishit clearance by the Galway keeper and as it fell kindly for O’Mahony, the Republic of Ireland international composed herself before drilling the ball inside the far right post.
But within 21 seconds of the restart, Galway regained the lead with an incredible strike from Kearns, who volleyed the ball on the turn into the far bottom left corner for her hat-trick.
City ought to have levelled at the beginning of the second half but Dring was denied when through on goal before they needed Abby McCarthy to make a sensational double save on the hour mark.
Galway should’ve made sure of the victory on 69 but Kate Slevin blasted over from the penalty spot and they would pay the ultimate price for that miss as Cassin’s half volley from 30 plus yards sailed over the keeper late on to earn City, who then survived a late scare when Elle O’Flaherty hit the bar in injury time, a point.
Maja Zajc, Shauna Brennan, Shauna Fox, Therese Kinnevey, Chloe Moloney, Kate Slevin, Rachel Kearns, Savannah McCarthy, Chloe Singleton, Lynsey McKey, Aoife Thompson.
Elle O’Flaherty for Aoife Thompson (79).
Abby McCarthy, Zara Foley, Danielle Burke, Lauren Walsh, Lauren Singleton, Becky Cassin, Eva Mangan, Éabha O’Mahony, Christina Dring, Sophie Liston, Sarah McKevitt.
Lauren Egbuloniu for Sophie Liston (5 inj), Nathalie O’Brien for Lauren Singleton (h-t), Laura Shine for Eva Mangan (69), Shaunagh McCarthy for Lauren Egbuloniu (89).