LOIW Report: Shelbourne 1 - 2 Galway United

Jenna Slattery celebrates scoring the winning goal for Galway United during their 2-1 win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Saturday, 25 March 2023.

Jenna Slattery celebrates scoring the winning goal for Galway United during their 2-1 win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Saturday, 25 March 2023. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Tolka Park

Shelbourne suffered a dent to their title hopes when they lost out 2-1 to Galway United at Tolka Park on Saturday.

Jessie Stapleton put the home side ahead early in the first half but two quick goals from Aoife Thompson and Jenna Slattery in the second half gave the Tribeswomen a huge win.

Noel King opted for just one change after his side held Shamrock Rovers to a 1-1 draw at Tolka Park last weekend as Jemma Quinn made her first start of the season coming in in place of Kayla Hamric.

Galway United manager Phil Trill made two changes to his side after their loss to Bohemians last week, goalkeeper Abbiegayle Ronayne was named on the bench with Jessica Berlin coming in to make her debut for the club.

Aoife Thompson also returned to the starting line-up in place of Anna Fahey having come off the bench during the game against Bohemians at Eamonn Deacy Park a week ago.

The Reds were straight at Galway United in the opening minutes and an early corner kick led to a goal, it was Alex Kavanagh who dispatched the ball from the flag in the third minute and the ball was almost curling enough to cross the line, but Jessie Stapleton made sure of it and connected with a powerful header to rattle the back of the net.

That lead could have been doubled just two minutes later when a Megan Smyth-Lynch through ball was placed right into Jemma Quinn’s path, the striker got there ahead of the Galway defence but her shot rattled the woodwork.

The home side had the ball in the back of the net again in the 13th minute, this time another wicked delivery by Kavanagh from a free-kick found the head of Pearl Slattery and she duly nodded the ball past Jessica Berlin but the flag was up immediately as the defender had drifted offside.

Despite the early set back Galway began to come into the game midway through the first half, Jenna Slattery’s free-kick in the 22nd minute, after a Noelle Murray foul on McGuinness, nearly caused trouble but it kept rising and whizzed just over the crossbar.

There was a worrying incident when Keeva Keenan and Kate Thompson collided in the 37th minute, both players received attention as both looked to hit the advertising hoarding – but after several minutes both players were cleared to play on.

Courtney Maguire pulled off a magnificent save just before halftime to deny the visitors an equaliser – Slattery struck a great shot from a free-kick in a dangerous position but the goalkeeper managed to get across goal and push the ball onto the woodwork to preserve Shelbourne’s lead.

A quickfire double from United just before the hour mark had the visitors in front – a long ball up the field in the 56th minute allowed McGuinness to play Aoife Thompson in one on one with goalkeeper, the striker rounded Maguire and set herself up for a tap in to bring the side level.

Just two minutes later another free-kick on the edge of the box was struck by Slattery, this time the midfielder sent the ball to the left and despite Maguire’s best efforts the ball nestled in the bottom corner.

The task to secure the win became significantly more challenging with 20 minutes to go after McGuinness received a second yellow card from referee David Dunne and was given her marching orders.

Shels went in search of a goal and second half substitute Kerri Letmon went close in the 72nd minute when she blazed down the right wing, Jessica Berlin stood strong to make the save.

The home side had another great chance to level it in injury time when Ruvimbo Mucherera took the ball down the left and into the box, she squared it to Sophie Watters who fired off a shot with the goal at her mercy, but Berlin was positioned well to deny Shelbourne.

Despite the late pressure United held out for the win – they face Athlone Town on Wednesday night while Shelbourne have a huge fixture against Peamount United.

Shelbourne FC: Courtney Maguire; Keeva Keenan, Maggie Pierce, Pearl Slattery (Leah F Doyle 60), Jessie Stapleton; Rachel Graham (Sophie Watters 81), Alex Kavanagh, Siobhan Killeen (Ruvimbo Mucherera 60), Megan Smyth-Lynch; Noelle Murray (Kayla Hamric 60), Jemma Quinn (Kerri Letmon 71).

Subs not used: Nadine Clare, Taylor White, Jenaya Robertson, Christie Gray.

Booked: Jemma Quinn (24), Alex Kavanagh (48), Rachel Graham (58), Noelle Murray (59).

Galway United Women: Jessica Berlin; Aoibheann Costello, Eve Dossen, Jamie Erickson, Therese Kinnevey (Amy Madden 75); Isabella Beletic, Gemma McGuinness, Lynsey McKey, Jenna Slattery (Nicole McNamara 81), Kate Thompson; Aoife Thompson (Siobhan Doolan 75).

Subs not used: Abbiegayle Ronayne, Kayla Brady, Roisin Jacob, Anna Fahey, Abbie Callanan, Jodie Griffin.

Booked: Therese Kinnevey (13), Jenna Slattery (34), Gemma McGuinness (51), Gemma McGuinness (69).

Sent off: Gemma McGuinness (69).

Referee: David Dunne.

extratime.com Player of the Match: Jenna Slattery (Galway United)