Paul Corcoran reports from Athlone Town Stadium
Galway claimed their first win in six games with a 2-1 victory away to Athlone Town on Tuesday night in the Women’s National League.
Chloe Singleton opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half with her first goal of the season but they were pegged back by Lucy Jane Grant’s second half free-kick and it took a late header from Galway’s Anna Fahey to separate the sides.
Both managers made just one change each coming into this mid-week fixture. Kellie Brennan got the nod after scoring Athlone’s equalising goal against DLR Waves on Saturday when she featured as a substitute, with Laoise O’hAodha dropping to the bench.
For Galway, Chloe Singleton came into the starting eleven with Aoife Thompson starting the game on the bench, Lynsey McKey was moved into a more advanced forward position in place of the striker after her stunning long range effort against Shelbourne at the weekend.
The Tribeswomen went close in the tenth minute when Chloe Singleton met a Julie-Ann Russell corner-kick with her boot with Abbiegayle Ronayne well positioned to block down the shot. The rebound fell to Becky Walsh who couldn’t keep her shot down and fired over from inside the box.
Athlone didn’t create much on the attacking front in the first half but Kelsey Munroe caused a scare in the Galway box with 17 minutes gone when she placed a long ball into the box from her own half, right in between Kellie Brennan and, goalkeeper, Hannah Walsh but Savannah McCarthy was just about in position to be able to race across the box and nod the ball into the safety of Walsh’s grateful hands.
Galway went in front in spectacular fashion with 21 minutes gone when Nicole McNamara played a perfect high ball just over the top of the Athlone defence and managing to play in Singleton on the right side of the box. The midfielder struck her shot beautifully leaving Ronayne no chance as the ball rattled the top left corner of the goal.
Lynsey McKey came close to doubling the lead in bizarre fashion on the half hour mark with a cross turned shot from the end-line on the right flank. The ball went high and looped over the Town’s ‘keeper before falling and dinging the left post and away from goal.
Galway had an early chance just after the re-start with Russell playing a through ball to the onrushing McKey who took the ball deep into the box before rattling off a shot and forcing a quick reaction save from Ronayne.
The home side were level just before the hour mark when half-time substitute Lucy Jane Grant stood over a long range free-kick to the right of the box. The defender struck a stunning shot right into the top corner leaving Walsh no chance to make a save.
Kellie Brennan came close to nudging Athlone into the lead ten minutes later after an excellent cross from Roisin Molloy found the forward deep inside the box. Brennan took aim on the volley but Walsh was able to make a good save at her near post to deny the home side the lead.
It looked like it would be a share of the points for the teams as the game wore on but the Tribeswomen had one final chance in the last five minutes from a corner-kick with McKey sending the ball deep into the box for the visitors on this occasion.
Anna Fahey was there to meet the ball in a crowded box with a textbook header into the bottom corner for her first ever senior Women’s National League goal and the three points for her team.
Athlone Town WFC: Abbiegayle Roynane; Fiona Owens, Kelsey Munroe (Lucy Jane Grant 46), Chloe Flynn; Laurie Ryan, Shauna Peare, Roisin Molloy, Jessica Hennessy (Aife Haran 46), Muireann Devaney; Emily Corbet (Laoise O’hAodha, 72), Kellie Brennan (Aisling Mahony 72).
Subs not used: Niamh Coombes, Sinead Todd, Ava Dolan.
Booked: Muireann Devaney (84).
Sent off: None.
Galway WFC: Hannah Walsh; Savannah McCarthy, Therese Kinnevey, Ruth Fahy, Shauna Brennan (Becky Walsh 10); Emma Starr, Chloe Singleton (Elle O'Flaherty 81), Julie-Ann Russell, Nicole McNamara (Anna Fahey 36), Meabh de Burca; Lynsey McKey.
Subs not used: Leah Hayes Cohen, Abbie Callanan, Saoirse Healy, Aoife Thompson, Aoife Lynagh.
Booked: Julie-Ann Russell (22) ,Anna Fahey (65) Chloe Singleton (65).
Sent off: None.
Referee: .John McLoughlin
extratime.com Player of the Match: Savannah McCarthy