Ziu scoops award for May but Shels lose ground at top

by Aaron Dunne

Jess  Ziu may be leaving the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League soon, but she is determined to go out on a high having won the Player of the Month Award for May 2022.

The Shelbourne winger is due to join West Ham United in the England’s Women’s Super League this summer and her departure will be a big loss for her team – and the League in general.

A dynamic attacker, Ziu has been in sensational form this season – including three goals scored in the month of May – as her team has opened up a lead at the top of the table.

Ziu said: “I’m really happy to have won the Player of the Month award. I’ve got one game left so I’m really happy that I could get an award in before I left. And I’m happy that all of my performances, assists, goals and teamwork are getting noticed.

“We’ve started off really well. Noel (King, manager) trusts in all of us and hopefully we can keep our heads down, not let any of it get to us and extend the lead at the top even more.”

Leanne Sheill, SSE Airtricity Marketing Manager, said: “Congratulations to Jess Ziu on being named the SSE Airtricity Women’s National League Player of the Month for May. Her performances have been crucial in leading Shelbourne to the top of the League so far this season with four wins from four in May and not conceding a goal during the month!

“We’d like to wish Jess the best of luck in her next upcoming move as she ventures overseas. If her performances this season are anything to go by, we’re sure she will flourish with her new club! We’re thrilled to be sponsor of the League this season and we can’t wait to see how the rest of the season will unfold.”

Ziu was selected ahead of Athlone Town striker Emily Corbet and Galway WFC’s Chloe Singleton in the voting process.

Ziu’s Shelbourne suffered a surprise home defeat to Wexford last Saturday who close the gap at the top the table with Shelbourne to five.

 DLR Waves and Bohemians played out scoreless draw at the UCD Bowl on Thursday night in a game of few chances, while Peamount beat Sligo 5-0.

It was a tense first half, with Shelbourne dictating the play and controlling possession for the most of the half. Shels’ Saoirse Noonan and Keeva Keenan both had great chances to put their side ahead in the opening twenty minutes, but couldn’t convert.

Wexford goalkeeper had to be on her toes throughout the game, making great saves to deny multiple Shels chances. Jess Ziu came close in the 36th minute, but her shot was impressively saved by Williams.

It was 0-0 going into the second half, with both sides with a good bit to do in order to get on top in the game.

Finally, the winning goal came for Wexford in the 76th minute. The ball was lobbed up the pitch by Freya De Mange and Shels goalkeeper Amanda Budden came off her line to make the clearance. Applying pressure however was Youths forward Jess Lawler, who went to block Budden’s clearance, and the ball deflected off Lawler and straight into the back of the net.

Shelbourne had chances to get the equaliser late on in the game, but couldn’t convert. This result means that there’s only a five point gap between The Reds at the top, and Wexford in second place going into the mid-season break.

Shelbourne and Galway played out an entertaining draw, while Peamount got back on track down at Turner’s Cross in a dramatic week 13 of the WNL.

DLR Waves 0-0 Bohemians    

DLR Waves and Bohemians played out scoreless draw at the UCD Bowl on Thursday night in a game of few chances. It was the second time these sides had failed to score against each other this season with a similar result at Dalymount Park back in April.

With both teams lacking a cutting edge in attack the plaudits must go to the defences and particularly the Waves ‘keeper, Rugile Auskalnyte, who kept a clean sheet in her first league appearance for the Waves.

Hope of a goal-fest took an early hit when Bohs’ striker and captain, Sinead Taylor had to be substituted after just 20 minutes, and without her both Rebecca Cooke and Bronagh Kane struggled to make an impact in the wide positions.

Meanwhile, the DLR attack was changed three times in an effort to find a goal threatening formula. First of all Katie Malone switched to the lone striker role with Kate Mooney dropping to a wide midfield position. Then, with an hour played both Mooney and Avril Brierley were replaced. Finally, with 15 minutes left, youngster Joy Ralph was introduced and it was she who caused the most problems for the Bohemians defence as the clock ran down.

In a game that was littered with minor injuries it felt that no real pattern emerged with both teams having spells of dominance without ever proving themselves dangerous. Shots on goal were either weak or misdirected and you could sense the frustration of the players as momentum flatly refused to grace either side with its presence.

A draw was a fair result and both teams are likely to remain in mid table unless they can find a creative spark to ignite their front line against the top half teams.

Cork City 2-1 Treaty United

There was a lot at stake for both teams in this Munster Derby. With just two wins between them after 13 rounds of matches the pair are propping up the WNL table and each will have seen the other as a prime target for much needed points.

Although four points behind City, Treaty had arguably put in the better performances over the past few weeks and it was they who went ahead just eight minutes in when Aislinn Meaney scored from the penalty spot.

Cara Griffin spurned an opportunity to double Treaty’s lead on 28 minutes when she had been played clean through by Jesse Mendez. But City keeper, Maria O’Sullivan, came charging out to close the angle and managed to deflect the winger’s effort wide.

There followed a period of pressure from the home side that produced two chances in quick succession. Christina Dring set up Lauren Singleton on 40 minutes but Alix Mendez put in a saving tackle.

From the resulting corner City centre back Danielle Burke fired in a powerful volley that Michaela Mitchell in the Treaty goal did well to hold.

Just before the break Griffin again came close for the Limerick side, clipping the top of the City crossbar.

City dominated the second half with Eva Mangan setting the tone just two minutes after the restart, twisting her way past three opponents before shooting into Mitchell’s arms.

Nadine Seward couldn’t quite put away a cross from Singleton’s after 58 minutes, and a loose touch by Alix Mendez almost gifted Singleton an equaliser three minutes later.

But City did draw level on 63 minutes when Treaty failed to clear a corner and Burke, again supporting her attack, rifled in a low shot from the edge of the area.

The winner came just ten minutes from the end when City were awarded a free kick out on the right, some 25 yards from goal. With City players crowding the Treaty box Lauren Singleton must have been tempted to float the ball in looking for an attacking header, but instead she curled her shot on goal and it sailed over Mitchell’s outstretched arms and into the net.

Treaty will be disappointed to have given up a winning position against such close rivals but City deserved their win, showing admirable determination to come from behind in a physical game that was not for the faint of heart.

Galway WFC 0-0 Athlone Town

Galway WFC and Athlone Town played out a scoreless draw at a blustery Fahy’s Field on Saturday afternoon in a game that will have disappointed those who turned up to watch.

Both sides have been enjoying a series of positive results of late but this game offered little in the way of genuine excitement.

Galway had the strong wind behind them in the opening half and it was no surprise that they dominated the play.

With 11 minutes played striker Lynsey McKey forced a smart save from Athlone keeper, Niamh Coombes. And ten minutes later Chloe Singleton fired narrowly wide of the visitors’ goal.

The best chance of the game came just after the half hour when Singleton and Julie-Ann Russell combined on the right before Jenna Slattery pounded Singleton’s cross off the crossbar and over.

Having had the advantage of the wind in the first half, it was Galway’s turn to defend when the same second half began. But Athlone failed to truly trouble Abbie Ronayne in the home goal.

Indeed, as the second period wore on Galway began to assert themselves. Driven on by the creative axis of Russell and Singleton, and supported by the tireless efforts of Therese Kinnevey, they started to carve out openings in spite of the elements.

On 64 minutes McKey shot just over having been sent through by Russell, and two minutes later Singleton was wide of the target having likewise been set up by Russell.

Athlone had another hairy moment on 72 minutes when Coombes misjudged a high dropping free kick but was rescued by her defenders.

At the final whistle Galway were the more disappointed of the teams while Athlone will have been pleased to battle their way to a point.

Shelbourne 0-1 Wexford Youths

What is always a much anticipated game between these two sides certainly did not disappoint, as Wexford collect all three points to close the gap at the top the table with Shelbourne to five points.

It was a tense first half, with Shelbourne dictating the play and controlling possession for the most of the half. Shels’ Saoirse Noonan and Keeva Keenan both had great chances to put their side ahead in the opening twenty minutes, but couldn’t convert.

Wexford goalkeeper had to be on her toes throughout the game, making great saves to deny multiple Shels chances. Jess Ziu came close in the 36th minute, but her shot was impressively saved by Williams.

It was 0-0 going into the second half, with both sides with a good bit to do in order to get on top in the game.

Finally, the winning goal came for Wexford in the 76th minute. The ball was lobbed up the pitch by Freya De Mange and Shels goalkeeper Amanda Budden came off her line to make the clearance. Applying pressure however was Youths forward Jess Lawler, who went to block Budden’s clearance, and the ball deflected off Lawler and straight into the back of the net.

Shelbourne had chances to get the equaliser late on in the game, but couldn’t convert. This result means that there’s only a five point gap between The Reds at the top, and Wexford in second place going into the mid-season break.

Sligo Rovers 0-5 Peamount United

Peamount score a brace for the second week as they score five against Sligo at The Showgrounds.

The first half was all Peamount; great passing, good link-up play and confidence was evident in the game. Seven minutes into the game, Peamount got their first. A great cross into the box from Lauryn O’Callaghan was met by Stephanie Roche who headed her side into the lead.

The Peas’ second came shortly after, Alannah McEvoy crossed a low, inviting ball into the box and Roche was there again to get her second through a composed finish.

Thirty minutes into the first half, Peamount got their third. A great delivery from a corner kick was met by Alannah McEvoy who headed home.

Sligo had a good opportunity to get one back in the game, after Fiona Doherty’s fantastic effort from far out came off the crossbar. It was 0-3 to Peamount heading into the break.

Sligo perhaps looking to start to second half much differently to the first, and things didn’t go to plan when Peamount’s fourth goal came only a few minutes after the second-half whistle had blown. The ball unfortunately deflected off Sligo defender Amy Roddy and into the back of the host’s net.

It was a hat-trick for Steohanie Roche after teammate Michelle Doonan was brought down in the Sligo box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Roche made no mistake to convert and in the 74th minute it was 0-5 to The Peas.

Sligo didn’t let their heads drop in the game to their credit, and kept pushing to create good chances. Unfortunately there was nothing to show for it in the final score, as Peamount go into the mid-season break as confident as ever.

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