Cork City unlucky to lose again in the Women's National League

Athlone Town remain in the hunt for the title after victory at Turner's Cross
Cork City unlucky to lose again in the Women's National League

Cork City's Zara Foley controls the ball ahead of Emily Corbett of Athlone Town. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Cork City 1 Athlone Town 2

DESPITE another battling performance, Cork City fell to another defeat in the Women’s National League - their 16th of the season - as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Athlone Town at Turner’s Cross on Saturday evening.

A second-half finish from Christina Dring had levelled terms for City but a superb brace from Maddie Gibson was enough to earn Town the three points.

City started the game on the front foot and they were desperately unlucky not to take the lead in the sixth minute but Laura Shine’s header from Eva Mangan’s excellent corner was somehow turned against her crossbar by goalkeeper Niamh Coombes and scrambled clear to safety.

But similar to the cup quarter-final last Saturday, in which Athlone won 2-0, City failed to capitalise when they were on top and they were soon punished as Town took the lead.

Scarlett Herron shrugged off the challenge of Seward before immediately playing a sensational pass in behind Lauren Walsh.

Maddie Gibson quickly latched onto it and after her first touch took her away from the defender and through on goal she expertly slotted the ball into the far top right corner of the Shed End net.

City, to their credit, refused to let their heads drop although they did need keeper Abby McCarthy to race from her penalty and prevent Muireann Devaney from making it 2-0.

For all their possession, they failed to truly threaten to grab an equaliser before the break as Cassin and Christina Dring saw tame efforts stopped before Danielle Burke sent a volley from a corner wide of the near post.

Burke was then needed to clear a goal-bound Jessica Hennessy header off her line deep into first-half injury time before Seward did likewise to deny Devaney at the beginning of the second.

City soon made the most of those moments of resilient defending as they grabbed a leveller when Christina Dring hammered the ball home from a few yards out after Cassin nodded Mangan’s brilliant corner against the bar.

Athlone missed a glorious chance to retake the lead just eight minutes later when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Zara Foley blocked Devaney’s shot with her hand inside the box.

Abby McCarthy would get down low to her right to stop Corbett’s resulting penalty but she would concede the decisive goal with 15 minutes to go when Gibson broke clear before again rifling the ball into the roof of the net to keep Athlone in the hunt for the title.

Cork City's Laura Shine attempts to turn away from Jessica Hennessy of Athlone Town during the SSE Airtricity League Women's National League match. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Cork City's Laura Shine attempts to turn away from Jessica Hennessy of Athlone Town during the SSE Airtricity League Women's National League match. Picture: Howard Crowdy

CORK CITY: Abby McCarthy; Lauren Walsh, Danielle Burke, Heidi Mackin; Nadine Seward, Becky Cassin, Zara Foley, Eva Mangan, Aoibhin Donnelly; Christina Dring, Laura Shine.

Subs: Fianna Bradley for Dring (71), Orlaith Deasy for Donnelly (71), Lauren Singleton for Cassin (81), Ellie O’Brien for Seward (81).

ATHLONE TOWN: Niamh Coombes; Kayleigh Shine, Jessica Hennessy, Kelsey Munroe; Roisin Molloy, Scarlett Herron, Kate Slevin, Muireann Devaney, Gillian Keenan; Emily Corbett, Maddie Gibson.

Subs: Kellie Brennan for Corbett (68), Mairead Teehan for Munroe (68), Melissa O’Kane for Shine (68), Emma McGrath for Molloy (85).

Referee: Claire Purcell.

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