Women's Premier Division round-up: Peas, Bohs and Galway begin campaigns with victories

Peas skipper Karen Duggan

Peas skipper Karen Duggan Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

“Oh, magic in those boots... Christie Gray!”

Darren Cleary, LOITV.

Shelbourne and Sligo Rovers shared the spoils at Tolka park in a tight nil all draw.

The bulk of possession was held by the home side, who’s passages of play were appealing for the neutral, Canadian native Christie Gray smoking The Bit O’Red defence like it were a Maple leaf filter, rolling her studs across the ball for fun and flicking it past their backline with the outside of her right boot on more than one occasion.

A band of supporters who take their place in the Ballybough End religiously, welcomed the players with much aplomb, adding spice to the atmosphere.

When Eoin Wearen’s background technical staff analyse the players heat maps post-game, they may book Noelle Murray’s sensor in for repair, the ground covered by the Cabra woman too vast for it to be deemed accurate for the non-believer.

Murray had a sliotar of a chance in the opening minutes, a miskick by the goal scoring machine saving Tommy Hewitts side from early injury.

Pearl Slattery and Jess Gargan were solid at the back for The Reds, allowing the forward players to rove and fire missiles into Sligo’s six-yard box.

Sligo to their credit were extremely well organised, withstanding the Drumcondra gusts with the stoicism of the stone walls that stand at the bottom of the Benbulbin.

Tallaght native Rebecca Devereux struck wide following a deft move by Maggie Pierce, while the closest chance for the home side came in the 75th minute when a move which started from a sweeping pass from Pierce to the left flank resulted in a deflection that landed at Gray’s feet.

“No flaaaagggg!” Commentator and long-time Shelbourne fan Cleary exclaimed, before the number 23 scuffed the ball wide of the far post, spectators behind the netting left cradling their heads in their hands.

Alex Kavanagh bossed the midfield for last season's FAI Cup runners up, delivering laser sharp balls with a self possessed unharried air into the danger zone.

Yet the women from the west were impenetrable, and the home side could not find a circuitous route past the Rovers rampart.

When Sligo did threaten, injured Courtney Maguire’s replacement Amanda McQuillan showed why she has made more than 100 appearances in Dublin 9 between the sticks, proving that she can be relied upon when called.

A penalty shout for The Reds was waved away by referee Alan Patchell and the game ended 0-0 in the season opener for both teams.

Two new managers looked to get their respective campaigns off to a flying start when Bohemians travelled the M11 to face Wexford FC in Ferrycarrig Park.

The lilac tarpaulin that is so synonymous with the Youths home, gave a semblance of brightness in what was a dark and dull afternoon 7km from Wexford Town.

The slick pitch betrayed a slight bobble, as the visitors from Dublin 7 wrangled with the ball in slanting rain, The Gypsies sporting pristine white socks until the mud sprayed.

Bohs had a number of fresh faces in their line up, to include Shamrock Rovers steal Tiegan Ruddy, Aoibhe Fleming, Aoibhe Brennan, Sarah McEvitt and former Wexford winger Shauna Carroll.

Incoming keeper Jayne Merren started on the bench, with centre-half Abby Tuthill starting, new manager Hugh Strong hoping for a performance to match his surname.

Wexford passed the ball with pace, holding and playing through the lines, but the women in black and red intercepted their efforts, dominating possession in the centre of the park early on.

Shauna Carroll started lively, the number 19 sweeping a cross into the box, Aoibhe Fleming denied by a crucial block by Wexford’s Teegan Lynch.

League newcomer Ciara Smith looked confident at right back, signalling and marshalling in the windswept rain.

Very little separated both sides until the women in purple watched former Under 19 Irish international Fiona Donnelly spring back and let fly from 35 yards out, the ball sailing over the goalkeeper's outstretched hand and into the back of the net.

1-0 to Ken Kiernans eleven.

For the Youths in the opening minutes and throughout the fixture, Ellen Molloy weaved in and out between the centre of the park and wings, fearless in one v one battles and determined to find a way past Kiernan’s well organised defence.

Ciara Rossiter jumped on her bike at every opportunity, tearing down the flanks faster than the trucks that zoomed past her eyeline on the N11, pursuing every hopeful pass - and had success, whipping in a number of dangerous crosses.

One such ball found Ceola Bergin, who, showing composure, side footed the ball towards goal.

Unfortunately for the Roscrea native, it was straight at Rachael Kelly, who was an excellent gatekeeper between the sticks.

A goal from Kylie Murphy which was deemed offside, the ball lofted beautifully to the skipper by the creative Molloy, was the closest Wexford came to levelling the fixture, Rossiter too sending a chance high and over the crossbar.

In the 89th minute, Aoibhe Brennan called for the ball confidently on the edge of the box, before firing it into the top right bin and securing the full complement of points for the visitors,

Three cheers in Jackie Jameson’s Bar.

Elsewhere in the Women’s Premier Division DLR Waves held Shamrock Rovers to a 1-1 draw at the UCD Bowl, extratime.com reporter Christine Allen was in attendance and her report can be found here.

The champions, Peamount United, began their title defence with a victory over Cork City. Goals from Erin McLaughlin and Karen Duggan sealed the victory for James O’Callaghan’s side.

In Athlone – Galway United got off to a flyer as they ran out 2-0 winners over the Town. The Tribeswomen had to be patient but they got the breakthrough midway through the second half when Jenna Slattery converted from the penalty spot, and they doubled their lead when Aislinn Meaney showed off some impressive skill to set up Eve Dossen.