FAI Cup Report: Shamrock Rovers 0 - 2 Shelbourne

Shelbourne boss Noel King

Shelbourne boss Noel King Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

Ronan MacNamara reports from Tallaght Stadium

A clinical second half display from Shelbourne saw them swat aside a meagre Shamrock Rovers and book their place in the final of the Women’s FAI Cup.

Second half goals from Christie Gray and teenage sensation Hannah Healy accounted for Rovers in front of a record crowd of 1567 for a women’s game in Tallaght Stadium.

Shamrock Rovers, making their first voyage at senior level in nine years will end the campaign without silverware while Shels march on to the decider with last season’s double winners looking to retain their cup having relinquished the league title to Peamount before kick-off.

There was a little needle before the start after Shamrock Rovers dispatched of Shels 3-1 in Tallaght last week while they also plucked six players from their Dublin rivals in pre-season.

Five of whom started.

The first half had minimal goal mouth action with two tame Joy Ralph efforts either side of a deflected Stephanie Zambra effort, which hit the side netting, the best the Hoops could muster.

Shelbourne began with intent and almost hit the front after just eighteen seconds.

Christie Gray pounced on some early Rovers nerves and fired a shot narrowly wide of Amanda Budden’s goal from 25 yards.

Colin O’Neill’s back four were certainly unsure of themselves during the opening half and Shauna Fox almost put into her own net when a Megan Smyth-Lynch cross caused confusion between her and Budden.

The Shelbourne section of the West Stand thought they had broken the deadlock just after the half hour mark when Gray’s stinging effort from a tight angle rippled the side netting at the near post.

Shels emerged from the half time interval with a spring in their step and took a deserved lead when Gray headed home Megan Smyth-Lynch's superb cross to break the deadlock in a nervy game.

Youngest ever Women’s Champions League player Healy (15), should have doubled Shels’ advantage after the hour but she failed to control a ball from close range, allowing Budden to smother.

Rovers made a pair of changes on the hour to try and scramble their way back into this game and their first meaningful attack of the second half almost brought a stunning equaliser, but Aoife Kelly’s long-range effort was brilliantly tipped wide by Amanda McQuillan.

Just as the Hoops were coming into the game, a calamitous error in possession from former Red, Fox, allowed Healy to steal a march and slot into an empty net to send Shels on their way to another Women’s FAI Cup final.

And they will face Athlone Town in the decider after Ciaran Kilduff led his side to a 4-0 win over Sligo Rovers.


Shamrock Rovers: Amanda Budden, Jessica Gargan, Shauna Fox, Jessica Hennessy, Aoife Kelly, Alannah McEvoy (Jaime Thompson 61), Stephanie Zambra (Melissa O’Kane 61), Lia O’Leary, Aine O’Gorman, Joy Ralph, Scarlett Herron (Lauren Kelly 83)

Shelbourne: Amanda McQuillan, Keeva Keenan, Pearl Slattery, Leah Doyle, Rachel Graham (Nadine Clare), Megan Smyth-Lynch (Noelle Murray 77), Hannah Healy (Jemma Quinn 83), Kerri Letmon (Alex Kavanagh 83), Margaret Pierce, Christie Gray, Elizabeth Moore.