Report: WNL: Rovers 3-2 Shelbourne

Super Sligo Rovers took the Women’s National League points with a thrilling 3-2 victory against defending champions Shelbourne at a frenzied Showgrounds this evening in front of the TG 4 cameras in a thriller.

Defending champions Shelbourne arrived at the Showgrounds determined to get back on the winning track after two draws in the last seven days.

By contrast, hosts Sligo Rovers had conceded five goals last time out against neighbours Galway and were equally determined to make the game competitive.

While the hosts started positively and had an early chance, Shelbourne hit the front in the 11th minute when Pearl Slattery headed powerfully to the net from a corner.

Six minutes later it was 2-0 for the Dublin women when Alex Kavanagh slotted to the net with a well-placed free from outside the penalty area. Referee Declan Toland harshly penalised Sligo Rovers defender Kerri O’Hara and that gave Kavanagh the opportunity.

Shelbourne continued to dictate for the remainder of the half, but as the clock ticked over 45 minutes Sligo Rovers got back into contention when Gemma McGuinness out-muscled a Shelbourne defender and toe-poked the ball to the net from about six yards.

It got worse for Shelbourne eight minutes into the second-half when minnows Sligo Rovers grabbed a sensational equaliser. Emma Doherty did the damage as she evaded a couple of defenders and rifled to the net.

Emma Doherty then fired Sligo Rovers into the lead on the hour with another superb strike only seconds after Shelbourne had introduced three substitutes which included new recruit Heather O’Reilly.

For the remainder it was end-to-end as Sligo Rovers stood up to Shelbourne with immense displays that were inspired by Lauren Boles as the Bit O’Red delivered a thriller for the live television audience.

Sligo Rovers – Amy Mahon; Leah Kelly, Ruth Monaghan, Orna O’Dowd, Gemma McGuinness, Lauren Boles, Emma Doherty, Kerri O’Hara, Paula McGrory, Amy Boyle-Carr, Helen Monaghan. Sub – Sarah Kiernan for R Monaghan 33 mins, Emma Hansberry for McGuinness and Jessica Casey for O’Hara both 73 mins, Fiona Doherty for E Doherty 85 mins

Shelbourne – Amanda Budden; Jess Gargan, Jessie Stapleton, Pearl Slattery, Shauna Fox, Alex Kavanagh, Rachel Graham, Megan Smyth-Lynch, Keeve Keenan, Leah Doyle, Emma Starr. Subs – Noelle Murray for Kavanagh, Heather O’Reilly for Keenan and Abbi Lareekin for Smyth-Lynch all 60 mins, Izzy Glennon for Starr 78m, Lia O’Leary for Doyle 85m.

Referee – Declan Toland.
Assistant-referees – Ciaran O’Reilly, Richard Storey.
Fourth official – Damien MacGraith.