Peamount United took a significant step forward in their quest to win back-to-back Women’s National League titles as they thumped Shelbourne 6-1 at Tolka Park on Saturday.
The Reds came into the game unbeaten and one point clear at the top of the table but they were simply overrun by a relentless, and inspired, Peas side.
Eleanor Ryan Doyle and Steph Roche both struck doubles, while Lucy McCartan and captain Aine O’Gorman were also on target in an all-consuming performance from James O’Callaghan’s side.
Jess Gargan pulled a goal back late on for Shelbourne but they were well-beaten by that point and O’Gorman ensured Peamount had the last word on what was very much their day.
The penultimate game before the league splits next month was always likely to produce drama: the form team in the league so far this season versus the reigning champions.
Dave Bell’s Reds had only trailed once all season – in their 1-1 draw in Galway at the beginning of the month – but they found themselves behind within three minutes.
Sadbh Doyle broke free down the left and cut the ball back to the edge of the box, where McCartan arrived before taking the ball around a defender and sliding the ball left-footed into the far corner.
Shels bounced back well and had plenty of the ball in a well-contested half, but they were dealt a hammerblow ten minutes before the break when Ryan Doyle doubled the Peas’ tally.
Karen Duggan strode upfield and picked out O’Gorman on the right hand side, and the skipper’s looping cross fell perfectly for the midfielder to nod home.
It remained 2-0 at the break and, though they were comfortable, Peamount weren’t content to sit back and protect their draw.
The introduction of another current international, Steph Roche, early in the second half was sign of the visitors’ intent.
Within nine minutes of her introduction, the well-travelled striker made it 3-0 as Shelbourne failed to deal with an O’Gorman cross and Roche had the simple task of tapping into an empty net.
The introduction of another sub, Megan Smyth-Lynch, who yield results within seconds of her introduction as the winger’s corner fell to the feet of Roche and she lashed home a fourth.
Barely more than a minute later, it was 5-0 to Peamount and this time it was Ryan Doyle celebrating her second goal of the game, and it was the pick of the bunch.
Shelbourne were caught trying to play out from the back and turned over possession in their final third, allowing Roche to tee up Ryan Doyle to shoot.The playmaker took a step and opened up her body before planting a beautifully-struck right-footed effort right into the top corner past a helpless Rachael Kelly.
Shelbourne continued to battle and got some degree of reward nine minutes from time as Jess Gleeson’s firmly-struck free kick was diverted into the net by her namesake Gargan.
Peamount restored their five-goal lead with four minutes remaining as Smyth-Lynch picked out O’Gorman with a sublime pass and the winger ran in one-on-one before coolly slotting home.
Shelbourne will at least have an opportunity to get their revenge soon – the sides meet again in the FAI Cup in Greenogue on Saturday.