Courtesy of Peter McNamara
Two first-half goals from attacker Solene Barbance paved the way for Peamount United to regain top spot in the Bus Éireann FAI WNL on goal difference at Greenogue on Sunday afternoon as the champions defeated Cork Women’s FC. Barbance connected with Grace Murray’s corner in the opening period to head beyond Cork goalkeeper Linda McNamara, who, despite conceding four goals, performed effectively, giving Eileen Gleeson’s unit the lead.
Murray, who provided the assist, was making her first start following a lengthy absence due to a heel fracture and the defender acquitted herself extremely well meaning Gleeson has another defensive option at her disposal to alleviate the loss of Louise Quinn. Barbance later extended Peamount’s advantage courtesy of a wonderfully constructed and executed solo effort when she lit up the venue with a moment of individual brilliance before slotting past McNamara. However, Cork, seeking their first away win in seven league games and second overall, were thrown a lifeline when awarded a penalty which left-full Lauren Murphy coolly buried giving Monica McGuirk little chance in the initial period after the interval.
Yet, Peamount, the top scorers in the section by some distance, were unperturbed by Cork’s improving display which included excellent performances from Denise O’Sullivan and Amy O’Connor, two players of the highest quality and that have an abundance of international experience under their belts. And, irrespective of Cork’s determination to force an equaliser, Peamount had other ideas and Stephanie Roche subsequently netted the hosts’ third to give them necessary breathing space.
Cork were nonetheless dogged despite trailing by two goals and performed better collectively than they had in previous meetings with the Dubliners. Nevertheless, Peamount added a fourth in the closing stages of an entertaining encounter through Aine O'Gorman. Peamount now have 25 points on the board from 11 outings and though they have a match in hand over second-placed Wexford Youths Women’s AFC, they have played a game more than Raheny United who are only two points behind them. Cork, on the other hand, remain rooted to the foot of the table but following the two-week break the Leesiders can now enjoy Maurice Farrell’s charges will play the vast majority of their seven remaining league fixtures at Turner’s Cross which they hope will enable them to pick up vital points.
Peamount United: Monica McGuirk, Grace Murray, Emily Cahill, Susan Byrne, Karen Duggan, Ruth Comerford (capt), Solene Barbance, Julie-Ann Russell, Stephanie Roche, Áine O’Gorman, Sara Lawlor. Subs: Amy McLoughlin, Claire Kinsella, Jennifer Ferrari, Emma Donohoe, Michelle Byrne, Jetta Berrill.
Cork Women’s FC: Linda McNamara, Nathalie O’Brien, Lauren Murphy, Emma Farmer (capt), Angie Carry, Claudia Hudner, Megan Kelleher, Keira Hannon, Lynsey McKey, Denise O’Sullivan, Amy O’Connor. Subs: Trish Fennelly, Laura Lynch, Eimear Knightly, Vicky McMahon, Amanda Budden, Katie Hannon. Referee: Rhona Daly (Dublin).