League Report: Shelbourne 0 - 0 Shamrock Rovers

Stephanie Roche

Stephanie Zambra Credit: Matthew Lysaght (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Tolka Park

Shamrock Rovers will have to wait longer for their first Women’s Premier Division win of the season after they played out a 0-0 draw with Shelbourne at Tolka Park.

The Hoops are now four games into the campaign without a win, and they will need to start picking up victories in what is a relatively short league season.

Shelbourne manager Eoin Wearen opted for one change from his side’s 1-1 draw with Athlone Town at the end of March. Roma McLaughlin came in for her first start of the season in place of Hannah Healy.

The visitors to Tolka Park opted for an unchanged side from their 2-2 draw with Treaty United before the international break.

The pace was high from the outset in this derby game, and it was the home side that got forward for the early chances.

In the third minute Alex Kavanagh found Pearl Slattery’s head from a free kick but the Reds captain nodded the ball just over the bar.

Two minutes later Leah Doyle tested Amanda Budden for the first time of the afternoon with a free kick of her own, the former Shels shot stopper denying the goal.

Rovers came into the game thereafter with Stephanie Zambra firing just wide in the sixth minute with Lia O’Leary having an effort cleared by Slattery in the tenth minute.

The game descended into a bit of a scrappy affair with referee Ryan Maher calling numerous fouls and Shelbourn’s Maggie Pierce picking up a yellow card for an offence in the 17th minute.

Shels had the ball in the back of the net in the 20th minute, Kavanagh finding Slattery in the box once again with the captain volleying the ball into the net – but the assistant referee had his flag up immediately for offside.

A clearance struck Jess Gargan’s hand inside the box in the 24th minute with Aine O’Gorman tasked with the resulting penalty kick. The Hoops’ captain struck the spot kick to the left, but Amanda McQuillan pulled off a great save to deny the visitors to a huge home crowd roar of approval.

The teams tended to cancel each other out for most of the rest of the first half although Scarlett Herron could have had Rovers in front when she arrived at the back post to meet Melissa O’Kane’s cross in the 40th minute.  The left back galloped forward but arrived just a second too late to get a clean shot on goal.

There were very little chances to begin the second half with the first shot on target coming in the 67th minute when substitute Hannah Healy played Christie Gray through on goal – the defender raced forward but her shot was saved by Budden.

At the other end Rovers broke away with Joy Ralph flying down the right flank before drilling a cross to Lia O’Leary who couldn’t keep her effort down as the ball went over the bar.

Maria Reynolds stormed up the field late on and linked in with Jaime Thompson before slipping the ball through to O’Gorman in the 88th minute – there was trouble on the cards for Shelbourne only for a last-ditch sliding challenge by Slattery to break up the play in the box.

In injury time Leah Doyle sent a searching ball into the box as they tried to exert some pressure on the visitors – Jemma Quinn tried to get onto the end of it but she lost her footing and the danger was gone for Rovers.

Just before full-time the Reds had a free-kick in a very dangerous area on the edge of the box, Noelle Murray struck the ball at goal but Budden was able to shuffle across and deny the home side a winner.

The sides now turn their attention to the All-Island Cup next weekend as Shelbourne host Cork City in their Group B encounter while Shamrock Rovers will host DLR Waves in their Group C encounter.

Shelbourne W: Amanda McQuillan; Leah F Doyle, Jessica Gargan, Pearl Slattery; Christie Gray (Katie McCarn 77), Alex Kavanagh (Rachel Graham 54), Keeva Keenan, Maggie Pierce; Rebecca Devereux (Jemma Quinn 62), Roma McLaughlin (Hannah Healy 63), Noelle Murray.

Subs not used: Caoimhe Magee, Lucy O'Rourke, Nadine Clare, Mia Dodd, Kerri Letmon.

Booked: Maggie Pierce (17), Pearl Slattery (52).

Shamrock Rovers WFC: Amanda Budden; Shauna Fox, Jessica Hennessy, Melissa O'Kane; Scarlett Herron, Aoife Kelly, Lia O'Leary, Maria Reynolds; Aine O'Gorman, Joy Ralph, Stephanie Zambra (Jaime Thompson 64).

Subs not used: Summer Lawless, Hannah Martin, Alannah Prizeman, Ella Kelly, Lauren Kelly, Shannon Coady.

Booked: Melissa O'Kane (79), Jessica Hennessy (94).

Referee: Ryan Maher.

Attendance: 313

extratime.com Player of the Match: Pearl Slattery (Shelbourne)