Andrew Dempsey reports from Tolka Park
Shelbourne brought an end to DLR Waves’ unbeaten start to their 2021 campaign with a 2-1 win over their Dublin rivals.
Shelbourne took a first-half lead through Emily Whelan before Noelle Murray made sure of the win in the second-half with a composed spot-kick.
The result puts Shels back on the winning column after suffering a reversal last weekend, despite the best efforts of Carla McManus who produced a moment of brilliance late on with her long-range strike from distance.
The Reds come into the game after a week off in the aftermath of their 2-1 defeat away to Peamount United.
However, they had won their opening two league games of the season, with wins over Athlone Town and Cork City.
Graham Kelly’s side have yet to taste defeat this term, with two wins and a draw from their first three games.
Waves opening league game of the season saw them pick up a 1-1 draw at home to Wexford Youths.
They would follow up that point with a late win over Galway WFC, before then edging their way past Cork City last week.
But they came into today’s game without the services of Kate Mooney who tore her ACL earlier in the week.
And it was Waves who started well in the early stages, pressing their hosts with intent – despite the best efforts of Saoirse Noonan to carve out chances from the left flank.
Kelly’s charges had the first effort on goal of the game, but Katie Malone could not trouble Amanda Budden enough in the Shels goal.
Malone was at the heart of some more good play from Waves, but she could not capitalise on a poor defensive touch from Jessie Stapleton in the Shels defence.
The Reds would however show signs of life midway through the first-half, as Jessica Ziu just saw her effort creep wide of goal after she was found by a low cross.
Emily Whelan then went close herself, but she could not get the required touch on a cross from the right flank to trouble Eve Badana.
And Whelan would soon find the back of the net, as she fired home into the back of the net with a fine finish.
The Shels forward got on the end of a great ball from winger Jessica Ziu, before slotting home past Badana in the Waves goal to give the hosts a one-nil lead at the break.
Encouraged after their opener, Whelan ought to have doubled the hosts lead, but she just fired over the bar from outside the six-yard box.
Waves threat remained however, and they should have levelled moments later, as Cronin saw her effort saved by the strong hands of Budden in the Shelbourne goal.
Jamie Finn then came close, but her shot was tipped over the bar by Badana – to earn the Reds a corner.
And Shels won a spot-kick from the corner, as referee Mark Moynihan adjudged there to have been a handball by the Waves defence.
Noelle Murray would make no mistake, slotting home with relative ease to give Noel King’s side a 2-0 lead.
Kelly’s side continued to press despite going two behind, with Rachel Doyle seeing her shot from close range blocked by a strong Shels block.
Whelan almost added the gloss to a home win with just over ten to play, but she could not make the most of her opportunity, shooting over.
Waves would grab a late consolation in the 83rd minute through substitute Carla McManus – a quite incredible consolation to say the least.
McManus picked up the ball just inside Shelbourne half of the pitch, before unleashing a rocket on goal that caught out Budden in the Waves goal.
But they could not grab that elusive equaliser as a battling DLR fell to their first defeat of the season against title hopefuls Shelbourne.
Shelbourne FC: Amanda Budden; Jessica Gargan, Pearl Slattery, Jessie Stapleton; Jamie Finn, Rachel Graham, Ciara Grant, Jessica Ziu; Noelle Murray, Saoirse Noonan, Emily Whelan.
Subs not used: Rachel Baynes, Mia Dodd, Leah F Doyle, Sophie Lenehan, Ella O'Connell, Taylor White.
DLR Waves: Eve Badana; Aoife Brophy, Jessica Gleeson, Niamh Prior; Rachel Doyle, Fiona Donnelly (Zoe Leonard 62), Catherine Cronin (Shauna Carroll 76), Nadine Clare, Niamh Barnes; Kerri Letmon (Carla McManus 62), Katie Malone (Avril Brierley 84).
Subs not used: Rebekah Carroll, Rugile Auskalnyte, Oleta Griffin, Nicole Keogh, Ciara Maher.
Referee: Mark Moynihan.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Emily Whelan (Shelbourne).