Cork City 0 Shelbourne 3
SAOIRSE Noonan scored twice on her return to Leeside to help Shelbourne secure a 3-0 win against her former club Cork City in their first game back at Turner’s Cross on Saturday afternoon.
In front of the Republic of Ireland Manager Vera Pauw, who named Noonan and Éabha O’Mahony in her squad for their friendlies against Denmark and Belgium next week, the former City striker twice netted after Emily Whelan’s opener to claim the three points for Shels.
Rónán Collins made four changes to his side following their 3-3 draw away to Galway on the opening weekend of the season with three of those coming in defence.
Zara Foley, Danielle Burke, and Lauren Singleton were replaced by Nathalie O’Brien, Shaunagh McCarthy, and Ciara McNamara at the back while Lauren Egbuloniu, who scored last weekend, came in for Sophie Liston.
In the searing heat on Leeside, it was Shelbourne that started in blistering form and they could have been three goals ahead inside the opening quarter of an hour.
They took the lead in the fourth minute and it is a moment that young goalkeeper Abby McCarthy would want to forget as she got caught in possession in front of her own goal and the lively Emily Whelan poked her loose touch across the line.
City were extremely fortunate not to fall two goals behind moments later as Jessie Stapleton’s header from a corner looked destined for the far corner. Jess Gargan made sure it found the net from close range but the right-back was in an offside position so the goal was ruled out.
Alex Kavanagh’s dangerous cross from the right flank was missed in the middle by the on running Stapleton but Noonan was on hand to slot the ball past McCarthy from at tight angle at the back post.
The home side hardly created a goalscoring opportunity of note in the first half with their best moments seeing former City keeper Amanda Budden gathered as Christina Dring threatened to race through on her goal while Stapleton also did well to cut out a pass towards Sarah McKevitt inside the penalty area.
But it was a half dominated by Shels and City needed goalkeeper Abby McCarthy to produce a string of brilliant saves to prevent Rachel Graham, Whelan, and Noonan from adding to their lead.
The shot-stopper was beaten by Jess Ziu though but the attacker was desperately unlucky to see her powerful strike from the edge of the box cannon against the right post.
The second period started in a similar manner as McCarthy again denied a fierce effort from Whelan’s before Noonan flashed a header past the far stick.
The Rebel Army looked more of a threat as the second half wore on with Lauren Egbuloniu having their first attempt on target but her ambitious, long-range hit was easily saved by Budden.
But Noonan would have the final say as she grabbed her second and her side’s third, poking into the ball just inside the far post late on to earn her new side a deserved win.
Abby McCarthy; Nathalie O’Brien, Ciara McNamara, Lauren Walsh, Shaunagh McCarthy; Becky Cassin, Éabha O’Mahony; Eva Mangan, Christina Dring, Sarah McKevitt; Lauren Egbuloniu.
Laura Shine for Eva Mangan (68), Nadine Seward for Sarah McKevitt (78), Kate O’Donovan for Lauren Egbuloniu (89), Lauren Singleton for Christina Dring (89), Leah Murphy for Shaunagh McCarthy (89).
Amanda Budden; Jess Gargan, Pearl Slattery, Jessie Stapleton, Jamie Finn; Rachel Graham, Alex Kavanagh; Jess Ziu, Saoirse Noonan, Ciara Grant; Emily Whelan.
Mia Dodd for Alex Kavanagh (83), Rachel Baynes for Jamie Finn (89), Leah Doyle for Ciara Grant (89).