Cork City 1 Shelbourne 3
SHELS kept their SSE Airtricity Women's National League title challenge very much on track following this convincing victory over Cork City at Turners Cross on Saturday afternoon.
Although it was an improved second-half City performance, there could be no denying that Shels were the deserved victors over the 90 minutes of play here.
It was a dominant opening half display in particular, with Shels well and truly bringing their shooting boots to Leeside.
The Reds, without their former City goalscorer Saoirse Noonan for this particular fixture, had an early opportunity when Noelle Murray flashed her curling effort just wide of the mark as she tried to find the top corner.
City commenced in the early stages with determination, with Sarah McKevitt threatening during the opening few minutes.
On the 10 minute mark, Shels went close again, when Emily Whelan forced a good stop out of Abby McCarthy in the City goal.
Shelbourne’s attacking pressure in the opening quarter eventually paid off with 20 minutes played on the clock.
From a neat Alex Kavanagh through ball, Whelan fired home with a clinical low effort beyond McCarthy.
It was not long until Shels extended their advantage. Noelle Murray unleashed a long-range strike, which evaded the City netminder and ended up in the back of the net.
There was little City could do, as the Dublin side kept pushing forward for more. Whelan went close to finding the far corner following a ball into her path by Jess Ziu.
Shels went three goals in front on 42 minutes. On the receiving end of a good cross by Kavanagh, Ciara Grant controlled well before cooly slotting home from inside the penalty area.
Shortly into the second half City got a goal back and reduced the deficit. A cross into the box by Nathalie O'Brien evaded the reach of everyone, even the Shels keeper Amanda Budden.
On 55 minutes Shelbourne went close to getting another after Whelan was played through, but a decent good save from McCarthy was to keep her out. The Cork keeper was called into action to make another good stop shortly after a strike by Murray.
McCarthy was called into action for City and made a fine double save to deny quickfire Shels efforts from Ziu and Grant, while Abbie Larkin saw her effort blocked down well by the home defence from a good position on the edge of the box.
Nathalie O’Brien went close to getting a second and ensuring a grandstand finish for City by getting a well-drilled shot away that was saved well by Budden.
City face Shels next time out as well when the pair clash in the quarter-final of the FAI Women's Senior Cup at Tolka Park on Saturday.