Dave Donnelly reports from the UCD Bowl
Bohemians secured their first-ever point in the Women’s National League with a hard-fought scoreless draw against DLR Waves at the UCD Bowl on Saturday night.
Goalkeeper Courtney Maguire was the hero for Bohs as she pulled off three vital second-half saves after the visitors had slightly edged the first 45 minutes.
Maguire denied Caroline Healy, spectacularly, Katie Burdis and substitute Kerri Letmon late on to preserve her side’s clean sheet and bring their five-game losing run to an end.
It was a largely scrappy game played in blustery conditions in Belfield, and it was the away side who got to grips with the conditions more quickly.
Waves boss Graham Kelly was forced into some positional switches with Niamh Prior and Nadine Clare injured, Ciara Maher moving to centre-half and Rachel Doyle dropping deep in midfield.
The new partnership of Maher and Oleta Griffin was tested as Bronagh Kane raced clear to latch onto Ally Cahill’s long ball, but Eve Badana was out quickly to narrow the angle and save.
Waves’ first chance fell to winger Orla Casey, who dashed in from the right to meet Catherine Cronin’s cross, but she couldn’t steer the ball on target.
Badana was forced into action once more as a brilliantly-struck free kick from Chloe Darby was tipped over the bar by the Ireland international.
From the resulting corner, Sinead O’Farrelly met the ball completely uncontested but she couldn’t direct her header towards goal – a let-off for Waves.
They’d enjoy even greater fortune a minute from the break when Alannah Maxwell ghosted into the box unseen by Aoife Brophy but, from point blank range, she stabbed the ball wide of the target.
The home side emerged for the second half a team transformed and, with the wind now at their backs, they took a firm hold of the game.
They should have led inside two minutes captain Cronin finished a fine run by pulling back for Katie Malone on the penalty spot but she hesitated and pulled her shot wide with the goal gaping.
Healy, playing her first game in two years after overcoming a serious injury, was beginning to have more influence in the number ten slot.
She won a free kick 25 yards out and stepped up to take it herself, a wonderfully-struck effort matched by an even better flying save from the agile Maguire.
Three minutes later, Healy won another free in a similar area and this time Katie Burdis struck it left-footed, and once again the keeper was at full stretch to bat the ball away.
Substitute Shauna Carroll was unlucky not to get on the end of a floated Burdis corner and Malone saw her shot blocked as Waves once again failed to finish a flowing move.
Another substitute, Kerri Letmon, could have nicked it for Waves in the final minute but her shot was saved at the near post by the excellent Maguire and the points were shared.
DLR Waves: Eve Badana; Aoife Brophy, Ciara Maher, Oleta Griffin, Katie Burdis; Fiona Donnelly, Rachel Doyle (Aimee Maher 66), Caroline Healy; Orla Casey (Kerri Letmon 81), Catherine Cronin (Shauna Carroll 60), Katie Malone (Avril Brierley 81).
Subs not used: Erica Turner (gk), Ally O’Keeffe, Sinead Gaynor.
Bohemians: Courtney Maguire; Sinead O’Farrelly, Chloe Flynn, Katie Lovely (Niamh Kenna ), Chelsee Snell; Shaunagh Newman, Ally Cahill (Sophie Watters 74), Chloe Darby; Abbie Brophy, Alannah Maxwell, Bronagh Kane (Rebecca Creagh 84).
Subs not used: Rugile Auskalnyte (gk), Ciara Mulligan, Aoife Robinson, Robyn Bolger.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Courtney Maguire (Bohemians).