Rovers draw with Cork City in six-goal thriller

Three games unbeaten is new territory for Sligo Rovers, but they won’t get carried away with this 3-3 draw against Cork City in the Women’s Premier Division at the Showgrounds on Saturday evening, writes Conall Collier.

The Bit O’Red went in at the interval with a 3-0 advantage, but six second-half minutes of defensive lapses gifted Cork City a lifeline.

The first-half goals set the Bit O’Red up for what looked like a victory with a brace from Emma Doherty and a Casey Howe penalty, but there were warning signs also during that opening 45 minutes.

The first goal arrived in the 18th minute. Alice Lillie received the ball at the edge of the Cork penalty area from a corner and her centre was headed to the net by Doherty.

It was a deserved lead after the hosts forced a series of corners and it got better seven minutes later when the second goal arrived.

Once again Lillie was involved, this time she was impeded in the penalty area and Howe confidently converted the resultant spot kick.

However, sitting on a two-goal advantage saw the Bit O’Red produce some less than impressive defending and Cork City went close on a couple of occasions, but failed to hit the target.

Then the hill got very steep for the Munster women in first-half added time when another corner wasn’t cleared and Doherty got the necessary touch for her second and that 3-0 interval advantage.

However, 10 minutes into the second-half the Cork women found the net when Laura Shine finished after a free rebounded off the post.

That gave Cork a major lift and they surged forward with Kiera Sena finding the net two minutes later and the equaliser arrived direct from a corner in the 61st minute when Alex Mendez floated the ball into the net.

That left the hosts under pressure for the remaining 30 minutes, but they stood strong and almost fashioned a winner when Katie Melly’s header in added time was cleared off the line by a Cork defender.

Cork also had chances to win it, but in what turned into a scrappy encounter, the visitors deserved a point for the way they battled back from what looked like an impossible position at half-time.

Sligo Rovers – Bonnie McKiernan; Leah Kelly, Alice Lillie, Sarah Kiernan, Eimear Lafferty, Emma Hansberry, Lauren Boles, Keri Loughrey, Casey Howe, Jodie Loughrey, Emma Doherty. Subs – Paula McGrory for J Loughrey half-time, Katie Melly for K Loughrey 68 mins.

Cork City – Clodagh Fitzgerald; Lauren Walsh, Ciara McNamara, Alex Mendez, Keira Sena, Ellie O’Brien, Shaunagh McCarthy, Eva Mangan, Christina Dring, Heidi Mackin, Laura Shine. Subs – Fiana Bradley for Walsh half-time, Aoibhinn Donnelly for Sena and Heidi O’Sullivan for Dring both 65 mins.