Cork City FC Women 2 Athlone Town 2
A last-gasp finish from Christina Dring prevented Cork City from being cut adrift at the bottom of the Women’s National League as they held Athlone Town to a 2-2 draw at Turner’s Cross on Saturday afternoon.
Goals in each half from Katelyn Keogh - which was later cancelled out by Éabha O’Mahony - and Roisin Molloy looked to have earned Athlone the win but Dring’s late goal ensured City avoided back to back defeats as the sides drew 2-2 for the second time this season.
Manager Paul Farrell made just one change to his side that started their 1-0 defeat away to DLR Waves last time out with Lauren Egbuloniu coming in to spearhead the attack in place of Christina Dring.
This was Egbuloniu’s and Sophie Liston’s final game for the club before they head to college in America but it was also potentially Éabha O’Mahony’s last outing as she is set to make a similar move soon.
City completed the signing of defender Tiffany Taylor, who has previously played Southampton and Portsmouth, prior to kick-off but although she completed her quarantine in time to take part in training on Friday and the pre-match warm-up, she wasn’t included in the matchday squad.
As for the match itself, City started slowly in the searing heat at the Cross and their sloppiness in possession almost cost them dearly inside the opening minutes.
Athlone’s Katelynn Keogh caused the City rearguard numerous problems and she went close to scoring in the seventh minute but after turning cleverly inside the penalty area, her low shot was saved by goalkeeper Abby McCarthy.
McCarthy has arguably been City’s player of the season so far and she was again called into action just shy of the quarter of an hour as she brilliantly turned Keogh’s fierce drive over her crossbar.
But unfortunately for the keeper, she paid the price for a brief moment of hesitancy which deservedly allowed Athlone to take the lead in the 20th minute.
Chloe Flynn cleverly dropped a long pass in behind the defence and McCarthy failed to clear it after rushing outside her box.
Muireann Devanney poked the ball to Keogh, who coolly took the ball away from Lauren Walsh before rolling it into the back of the Shed End net.
McCarthy soon showed her quality again as she produced another incredible save to punch another thunderous strike from Keogh over.
Those great saves proved to be important as the Leesiders snatched an equaliser against the run of play with 34 minutes on the clock.
The goal came in fortuitous circumstances and it was their first sight at goal but that mattered little to the hosts, who were just relieved to see Republic of Ireland international Éabha O’Mahony’s shot from the edge of the box deflect into the bottom left corner after Sarah McKevitt’s cross broke kindly to her.
They almost completed the comeback a minute later but Becky Cassin’s could only send her diving header wide of the far stick having been found brilliantly by O’Mahony’s free.
Town continued to look the more dangerous side before the break and Keogh twice went close to helping them retake the lead but after her header was hacked off the line by Shaunagh McCarthy, she blasted her next attempt into the side netting from a tight angle.
The Rebel Army started the second period brightly and O’Mahony may feel she should’ve given City the lead but she scuffed McKevitt’s pullback wide of the far right post and just out of the reach of Liston.
But that bright passage of play was all too rare and Athlone soon regained the lead when Roisin Molloy bundled home from close range following a corner kick although it did seem like McCarthy was fouled in the lead-up.
City failed to react to that disappointing goal and Athlone ought to have added to their tally but substitute Emily Corbett missed a hat trick of chances in the closing stages.
And Town would be punished in injury time as Christina Dring flicked Egbuloniu’s cross past the keeper at the near post to earn City a draw.