Not since the inaugural game for the club last season did Sligo Rovers concede six goals without reply, until today, when champions Shelbourne won at the Showgrounds and recorded a comprehensive Women’s Premier Division 6-0 victory, writes Conall Collier.
There was no lack of effort throughout the 90 minutes from the Bit O’Red as the season reached the halfway stage.
Leah Kelly came into the starting 11 for Steve Feeney’s side in place of Alice Lillie who missed out through injury.
Shelbourne manager Noel King was able to take a relaxing seat in the stand as he continued to serve a sideline suspension and he hadn’t too much to upset his concentration as his team dominated once they hit the front in the ninth minute.
Amy Roddy’s challenge on Jemma Quinn earned Shelbourne a penalty that was confidently despatched to the net by Noelle Murray to give the defending champions that early lead without expending too much energy.
Eight minutes later Shelbourne added a second goal through Christie Gray who finished confidently to the net at the far post.
Lauren Boles had the first real shot on target for the hosts in the 28th minute, but Courtney Maguire saved well and Shels countered swiftly with Jemma Quinn finding the net to give the Dublin side a solid platform for the remainder.
Undaunted, the Bit O’Red pushed forward and Emma Hansberry went close soon after and then Emma Doherty headed over from a good position.
Shelbourne controlled the closing minutes of the first-half and experience was a key factor as they picked up some frees of the ‘soft’ variety to take a well-deserved 3-0 advantage to the dressing room.
Both sides had glimpses of goal early in the second-half before Megan Smyth-Lynch finished a free from a tight angle to the net when she beat Bonnie McKiernan at her near post in the 58th minute.
It got worse for the Bit O’Red with about 20 minutes remaining when a cross from Shelbourne substitute Siobhan Killeen deflected past McKiernan off Keela Scanlon.
Killeen made the opening again in the 80th minute and this time a Shelbourne player, Jemma Quinn, found the net.
Shelbourne finished with 10 players in added time after Jessie Stapleton was assisted from the pitch with an arm injury.
Sligo Rovers – Bonnie McKiernan; Leah Kelly, Amy Roddy, Keela Scanlon, Sarah Kiernan, Emma Hansberry, Lauren Boles, Keri Loughrey, Emma Doherty, Casey Howe, Jodie Loughrey. Subs – Fiona Doherty for Kelly 58 mins, Kate Nugent for Roddy and Aife Haran for Hansberry both 68m, Ciara Henry for Howe and Helen Monaghan for J Loughrey both 76m.
Shelbourne – Courtney Maguire; Keeva Keenan, Jessie Stapleton, Leah Doyle, Rachel Graham, Jemma Quinn, Noelle Murray, Megan Smyth-Lynch, Nadine Clare, Maggie Pierce, Christie Gray. Subs – Siobhan Killeen for Smyth-Lynch and Kerri Letmon for Doyle both 63 mins, Kayla Hamric for Murray and Taylor White for Gray both 72m, Katie Keane for Maguire 78m
Referee – Michael Connolly.