Battling Rovers denied point in Tolka

There was heartbreak for Sligo Rovers at a wet Tolka Park on Wednesday night as hosts Shelbourne snatched a 90th minute Women’s Premier Division winning goal from Megan Smyth-Lynch’s speculative effort for a 2-1 victory, writes Conall Collier.

The ball looped over the head of 16-year-old debut ‘keeper Amber Hardy, who had an impressive outing the Bit O’Red. Emma Hansberry was sent-off a minute earlier for a second yellow card.

All that was in contrast to a bright opening half when Hansberry gave Sligo Rovers a third minute ead after a cross from Jodie Loughrey wasn’t cleared properly by Keeve Keenan and Hansberry rifled to the net.

Sligo Rovers defended resolutely for the remainder of the half with Shelbourne going close on 15 minutes when Alex Kavanagh, making her 150th appearance for the Dublin club, tested the quality of the woodwork.

Shelbourne manager Noel King started six of the team that won the FAI Cup semi-final on Saturday, but he brought in two more for the second-half, Smyth Lynch and Hannah Hedaly.

The Dublin women were back on terms three minutes into the second-half when Christie Gray capitalised on a loose ball in the penalty area and the net bulged.

A minute later Sligo Rovers missed a gilt-edged opportunity at the other end and they also could have had a free on the edge of the penalty area, but the referee wasn’t interested.

A draw looked the most likeliest result until that late goal gave Shelbourne a hard-earned victory.

Shelbourne – Courtney Maguire; Keeva Keenan, Pearl Slattery, Leah Doyle, Alex Kavanagh, Jemma Quinn, Nadine Clare, Keri Letmon, Leah Reilly, Christie Gray, Libby Moore.

Subs – Noelle Murray for Kavanagh, Megan Smyth-Lynch for Moore both
70 mins, Hannah Healy for Quinn 71m, Morgan Rees for Clare 78.

Sligo Rovers – Amber Hardy; Alice Lillie, Sarah Kiernan, Eimear Lafferty, Amy Roddy, Emma Hansberry, Lauren Boles, Jodie Loughrey, Emma Doherty, Keri Loughrey.

Subs – Helen Monaghan for J Loughrey 74 mins, Leah Kelly for McGrory 79m, Amy Hyndman for K Loughrey and Jessica Casey for Lafferty both