Sligo Rovers took the Women’s Premier Division (WPD) points this evening at the Showgrounds with a performance that was laced with character, determination and skill for a 2-1 victory against Dublin side DLR Waves, writes Conall Collier.
First-half goals from Casey Howe and Jodie Loughrey were the platform for success with a battling rearguard action in the second-half that restricted the Dublin side to a 54th minute Cliodhna Donnelly goal.
Sligo Rovers manager Steve Feeney signed off on his last home game as the Bit O’Red turned on the style for a deserved victory that must have encouraged new manager Tommy Hewitt who took a watching brief in the stand.
Feeney will complete his two-year tenure at the helm next weekend in the televised TG4 live game away to 2023 champions Peamount Utd where a victory will move the Bit O’Red up to eighth in the table.
The hosts lined out without Emma Hansberry who was suspended for this game following her dismissal on a second yellow card in the last outing against Shelbourne while the impressive team captain Lauren Boles was making her 50th appearance and both Leah Kelly and Bonnie McKiernan started.
DLR Waves, playing a second game in three days, also had absentees with the trio of Neema Nyangasi, Freya Roche and Robyn Bolger out through injury while Eve Badana and Hannah Tobin-Jones returned to the side.
Sligo Rovers dominated the opening half and were well worth that two-goal interval lead.
There was eight minutes on the clock when Casey Howe rifled a superb effort to the roof of the DLR net after a defence-splitting pass from Emma Doherty created the chance.
Goal number two arrived 10 minutes later and this time Jodie Loughrey applied the finish after good advantage play by referee Michael Connolly.
Sligo Rovers resumed the second-half smartly with Emma Doherty bringing a good save out of Badana while at the other end Eve O’Brien had a good chance for DLR Waves before substitute Cliodhna Donnelly fired home in the 54th minute following hesitant defending by the hosts.
DLR continued to press forward, but lost Eve O’Brien in the 76th minute when she was stretchered-off and was replaced by Nadine Raymond.
However, Emma Doherty had a good chance soon after, but she was denied at the expense of a corner with DLR looking for an offside flag.
For the remainder, the Sligo Rovers players stood strong, although Bonnie McKiernan required attention after making a brave save and there were chances at each end in six minutes of added time, but on this occasion the Bit O’Red battened down the hatches and prevailed.
Sligo Rovers – Bonnie McKiernan; Sarah Kiernan, Alice Lillie, Leah Kelly, Eimear Lafferty, Amy Roddy, Lauren Boles, Jodie Loughrey, Casey Howe, Emma Doherty, Kerri Loughrey.
Subs – Keeva Flynn for J Loughrey 73 mins, Jessica Casey for Roddy 85m, Ciara Henry for Kelly 88m.
DLR Waves – Eve Badana; Hannah Tobin-Jones, Jess Gleeson, Isobel Finnegan, Rebecca McMahon, Bronagh Kane, Amber Cosgrove, Ruth McDonnell, Michelle Doonan, Eve Conheady, Eve O’Brien.
Subs – Nicole Keogh for Kane, Amy Ryan for McDonnell and Cliodhna Donnelly for Finnegan all half-time, Nadine Raymond for O’Brien 76 mins.