WNL – Peamount United 2 – Shelbourne 1
By Dave Donnelly
PEAMOUNT United captain Aine O’Gorman credited a strong defensive performance in the second half as the champions moved level at the top with early-season pacesetters Shelbourne.
The winger was on target in the first half, after Eleanor Ryan Doyle had opened the scoring early on, as the Newcastle side made it two wins from two so far.
Former Irish international Ciara Grant netted for the visitors as they looked to maintain their unbeaten start to the season but the home side held out for a vital victory.
It was the best outcome James O’Callaghan’s side could have imagined from an opening two games that saw them away to four-times champions Wexford Youths and perennial challengers Shels.
“We had our first game of the season down in Ferrycarrig Park, and it’s never an easy place to go, so I was delighted to come back from there with the three points,” O’Gorman told the Dublin Gazette.
“And Shels are one of our biggest rivals in the league and we know we’re always going to be up against it against a good team, so we’re just relieved to grind out the result.
“It’s always a good battle between us. We have to be on the top of our game going in to play against them.
“Their squad has changed a little bit this year and Noel King is a good calibre of manager, so it was a slightly different style of play to what we’re used to.
“We created a few chances in the first half, and we took our chances, and there’s a lot of credit down to the goalkeeper [Naoisha McAloon] and the back four digging in and showing character.”
Peas needed to show that character in the early stages as the visiting Reds showed no fear in the face of last season’s double winners.
Emily Whelan was inches from connecting with a Grant cross early doors, while Mia Dodd saw her speculative effort clear the crossbar.
Peamount came into the game and defender Della Doherty, a recent promotion from the Under-17 squad, glanced a header wide before Ryan Doyle broke the deadlock.
O’Gorman was the creator as she exchanged passes with Steph Roche before sliding the ball across the six-yard box, where Ryan Doyle was able to force the ball home at the second attempt.
Ryan Doyle was then awarded a penalty as she was hauled down in the box by Shels captain Pearl Slattery, but having dusted herself off to take the spot kick she was denied by Amanda Budden.
Peas did double their lead shortly afterwards as Megan Smyth-Lynch’s free kick was only cleared to the edge of the box, and O’Gorman planted a fine left-footed shot into the corner of the net.
The second half belonged to Shels and they pulled one back as McAloon couldn’t hold Emily Whelan’s long range strike and Grant bundled home the rebound.
Shels threw everything they could at Peamount in the final 15 minutes but the Peas rearguard held out for a deserved win that leaves the sides deadlocked on six points.
PHOTOS -Martin Doherty