Cork City WFC denied a point at the death by Smyth-Lynch wonder strike for Shelbourne

On level terms during the interval after Becky Cassin’s 24th-minute penalty was cancelled out by an own goal, the Leesiders were on course for a point until Smyth-Lynch came up with the goods for Shels in the dying moments.
Cork City WFC denied a point at the death by Smyth-Lynch wonder strike for Shelbourne

Cork City captain Becky Cassin scored an equaliser for City from the penalty spot

Shelbourne 2

Cork City 1

Megan Smyth-Lynch struck an outstanding 87th-minute goal at Tolka Park on Saturday to cruelly deny Cork City a share of the spoils with champions Shelbourne in the Women’s National League.

On level terms during the interval after Becky Cassin’s 24th-minute penalty was cancelled out by an own goal, the Leesiders were on course for a point until Smyth-Lynch came up with the goods for Shels in the dying moments.

The hosts did find the net inside the opening 60 seconds of the action, but left-back Leah Doyle was adjudged to be offside when firing home from close-range. 

While this was an early let-off for City, Danny Murphy’s side were agonisingly close to taking the lead in the 13th-minute.

Finding herself through on goal off a diagonal pass, Christina Dring unleashed a left-footed effort that rattled the Shels crossbar.

This helped to raise the City confidence levels and they eventually broke the deadlock just past the first-quarter mark. 

After intercepting a Courtney Maguire free-kick following an injury stoppage, Zara Foley was hauled down in the area by Shauna Fox.

The Shels bench weren’t happy with the manner in which the game had restarted, but Cassin displayed great composure in dispatching the resulting spot-kick. 

Although Shelbourne’s Republic of Ireland international Abbie Larkin forced a low save out of Abby McCarthy on the half-hour, the feet of Maguire denied Dring as she looked to pounce on the stroke of 40 minutes.

The visitors had looked set to bring a slender cushion into the break, but disaster struck at the end of the opening period as a Cork player sliced the ball into her own net off a Shelbourne corner. 

Despite parity being restored, the fact that Shels introduced Jemma Quinn and Smyth-Lynch off the bench for the start of the second half was a measure of how well City had performed up to this point.

In a similar vein to Doyle at the beginning of the game, Shels striker Noelle Murray had a goal chalked off on the resumption for being ahead of the last defender. 

Even though City were called upon to do a lot more defending as the action progressed, McCarthy and her back-three of Lauren Walsh, Danielle Burke and Orlaith Deasy were dealing admirably with what was thrown at them.

Larkin continued to possess a potent threat, however, and a delicate lob from Murray landed just over the woodwork with 15 minutes remaining. Lively City substitute Ellie O’Brien had a firm shot slaved by Maguire on 86 minutes, before Smyth-Lynch decided the tie with a wonder strike from distance that left McCarthy with no chance.

SHELBOURNE: Courtney Maguire; Keeva Keenan, Pearl Slattery, Shauna Fox, Leah Doyle; Alex Kavanagh, Jessie Stapleton; Abbie Larkin (Taylor White 77), Emma Starr (Megan Smyth-Lynch 46), Lia O’Leary (Jemma Quinn 46); Noelle Murray.

CORK CITY: Abby McCarthy; Lauren Walsh, Danielle Burke, Orlaith Deasy; Chloe Atkinson, Eva Mangan, Becky Cassin, Kelly Leahy (Nadine Seward 68), Lauren Singleton (Ellie O’Brien 76); Christina Dring, Zara Foley.

Referee: Gavin Colfer.

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