Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
There was a six goal thriller on the banks of the Corrib on Saturday afternoon as Galway and Cork City played out a 3-3 draw in the Women’s National League.
Cork City came from behind to draw level with Galway at two goals apiece with Lauren Egbuloniu and Eabha O’Mahony both on target in the first half.
Galway’s Rachel Kearns managed to complete her hat-trick just before half time to give the home side the edge going into the break.
There was an almost eerie lack of goals in the second half given what came before despite bundles of chances for either side including a missed penalty for Galway.
The visitors kept plugging away however, and they got their reward in the 85th minute when captain Becky Cassin struck a long-range effort over the head of Maja Zajc to claim a point for her side.
Galway grabbed their first goal of the game on the quarter-hour mark from a corner-kick drilled across the box by Shauna Brennan.
It was Kearns who met the ball with her head at the back post sending it into the top corner of the net.
The home side doubled their lead in the 22nd minute with Brennan and Kearns working combining once again to get the ball into the net.
This time Brennan pressed the Cork defence deep into their box before dispossessing Lauren Singleton.
Kearns had an easy time of it as Brennan was able to pass the ball across the goal for the forward to tap into the net.
The Rebels pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark despite Galway’s dominance of much of the play in the first half.
Sarah McKevitt took the ball towards the box before blazing by Savannah McCarthy and drilling the ball across the Galway box.
Substitute Egbuloniu was there to meet it and she slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Cork drew level with Galway just seven minutes later after Maja Zajc was caught out with her positioning in the Galway goal.
A deflected shot fell to O’Mahony outside the box who had most of the goal to aim for, the midfielder took her chance and fired the ball into the back of the net.
The sides weren’t level long however, as Kearns completed her hat-trick almost immediately from kick-off after Shauna Fox played a high ball into the Cork box midway into the opposing half.
Kearns managed to take the ball down on her chest while surrounded by Cork players, took the shot on the volley with her back to goal and swung the ball into the far corner of the net.
Zajc made up for her earlier error in a big way five minutes after the break when a misplaced pass from Aoife Thompson played in Christina Dring on goal.
The striker was one on one with Zajc, but the goalkeeper got enough of a touch on the striker’s shot to safely turn it behind.
Abby McCarthy pulled off two excellent saves on the hour mark to keep Galway from adding to their tally. Kearns was back in action once again with a good strike which the keeper palmed away.
McKey took hold of the rebound in front of goal and McCarthy again reacted quickly enough to tip the ball over the crossbar.
With just over 20 minutes to go Zara Foley took McKey down in the box drawing the penalty call from referee Joe Hession.
Kate Slevin was tasked with the penalty duties, but the teenager was unable to keep her composure from the spot and fired the ball over the crossbar.
McCarthy was called into action once again after a misplaced pass from Foley inside the Cork box gave possession to Kearns.
The goalkeeper reacted just about quick enough to smother Kearns’ blasted shot to prevent her from adding to her three goals.
With five minutes to go Cork City managed to grab their equaliser in spectacular fashion when O’Mahony threw the ball in to Becky Cassin who was 30 yards out from goal.
She hit it with her first touch into the air and just managed to dip the ball under the crossbar and out of reach of Zajc to give her side a share of the points.
Galway: Maja Zajc; Kate Slevin, Chloe Moloney, Savannah McCarthy, Therese Kinnevey, Shauna Fox (c); Aoife Thompson (Elle O'Flaherty 78), Chloe Singleton, Lynsey McKey, Shauna Brennan; Rachel Kearns.
Subs not used: Aoife Walsh, Elena van Niekerk, Tessa Mullins, Saoirse Healy, Trish Fennelly, Ruth Fahy, Sinead Donovan, Abbie Callanan.
Cork City: Abby McCarthy; Lauren Walsh, Lauren Singleton (Nathalie O'Brien 46), Zara Foley, Danielle Burke; Eabha O'Mahony, Sarah McKevitt, Eva Mangan (Laura Shine 70), Sophie Liston (Lauren Egbuloniu 5), Becky Cassin; Christina Dring.
Subs not used: Nadine Seward, Kate O'Donovan, Leah Murphy, Shaunagh McCarthy, Leah Hayes Cohen, Riona Crowley.
Booked: Becky Cassin (42) Lauren Walsh (90).
Referee: Joe Hession
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Rachel Kearns (Galway).