Dylan O’Connell reports from Bishopstown Stadium
Cork City made it three wins on the bounce and moved into fourth place in the Women’s National League thanks to a 2-0 win over Athlone Town in Bishopstown.
Goals in either half from strikers Lauren Egbuloniu and Saoirse Noonan saw the Leesiders to victory over a determind and dogged Athlone team.
Athlone Town arrived on Leeside looking to build from last weekend’s 3-2 win over Treaty United at Lissywollen, their first ever win in the Women’s National League.
City were looking for their third consecutive win following results away to Bohemians and Treaty United, which had raised the Rebel Army up to fifth in the table.
The home comforts saw City attack from the whistle. Saoirse Noonan did very well from the whistle to break through and set up Lauren Egbuloniu.
Athlone goalkeeper Niamh Coombes was quicker, however, and she darted from her line to clear the danger.
Athlone grew into the game and soon created chances. Kellie Brennan nearly poked her side in front following a handling error from Maria O’Sullivan, but the ball trickled past the City shotstopper and hit the post.
Sophie Liston was fantastic for City going forward, constantly running and pulling the game wide. Kayleigh Shine from Athlone did well to track back and cover any attempted crosses by the forward.
At the other end of the pitch, Robyn Heatherington was in excellent form for Athlone, the forward constantly running and pressurising Ciara McNamara in defence.
The 24-year-old, who has captained the team for the last four seasons, matched the quick footed attacker at every turn and never conceded so much as half a chance.
Time and time again in the first half the home time were frustrated by the tiniest of margins. Christina Dring was denied by the cross bar after her cross curled towards goal.]
Minutes later, Roisin Jacob just got a touch on a through ball from Noonan to deny Egbuloniu the opportunity to go one on one with Coombes.
Ciara McNamara mirrored Jacob at the other end of the pitch moments later, when she got in the way of a one two between Kayla Brady and Brennan to hoof the ball away from danger.
The breakthrough for City game on the stroke of half-time when Noonan poked the ball through for Egbuloniu, who shot off the post and the ball trickled in.
It took a spectacular shot from Noonan from 30 yards to make it 2-0 to City, and the catalyst for City to fully take ownership of the game and began fully commanding the play and possession.
This led to a number of chances for the Rebel Army, but each time they would come up just short at the final moment.
Noonan should have made it 3-0 in the closing moment of the game, but the striker fired narrowly wide when facing goal.
Cork City Women: Maria O’Sullivan, Nathalie O’Brien (Shaunagh McCarthy 68), Danielle Burke, Ciara McNamara, Zara Foley, Eabha O’Mahony, Christina Dring (Kate O’Donovan 84), Saoirse Noonan, Sophie Liston (Leah Murphy 84), Becky Cassin (Nadine Seward 84), Lauren Egbuloniu (Laura Shine 55).
Subs not used: Abby McCarthy (gk), Eadoin Lyons, Lauren Walsh.
Athlone Town: Niamh Combes, Emma Donohue, Kayleigh Shine, Chloe McNamee (Amy Hyndman 58), Roisin Jacob (Aife Harangue 65), Paula Doran (Leah Brady 60”), Kayla Brady, Killie Brennan, Fiona Owens, Allie Heatherington (Sineal Farrell 65), Robyn Heatherington (Kateyln Keogh 58).
Subs not used: Zara Lawless, Jessica Turner.
Referee: Jason Mannix.
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Saoirse Noonan (Cork City).