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Galway WFC sealed a fourth-place finish for the Women’s National League 2018 season by putting seven past Limerick FC Women at Eamonn Deacy Park as an outstanding display from Aoife Thompson proved the difference.

Galway were the better side early on, and in the opening quarter hour Galway’s Thompson and Therese Hartley were locked in a tussle for possession on the edge of the area. Thompson won out to put herself one-on-one with the ‘keeper, but she was denied by a great Connolly save.

Moments later, there were shouts that Galway had put the ball over the line after a header from a corner, but the referee waved away the protests before Emma Starr tried her luck from 25 yards with a right-footed effort to try and break the deadlock but it was a wayward strike.

Shortly before the half-time break, Galway would earn their reward for dominating when Thompson turned the ball home from close range near the far post after Limerick had failed to clear their lines from a set-piece.

A collision between Shauna Fox and Karen Connolly inside the box led to a lengthy delay at the end of the first-half as the away ‘keeper received treatment, and although she finished out the half, she wouldn’t emerge for the second period.

Limerick began the second half with a series of corners which culminated in Megan Kelleher nodding the ball narrowly wide of the mark from inside the crowded six-yard area.

In the 53rd minute, however, the Shannonsiders would rattle the back of the net when Shannen Parbat got on the end of a beautifully directed through-ball from midfield before sliding the ball beyond Tina Hughes to level the scores.

However, the lead wouldn’t last too long as Thompson completed her brace not long after. Latching onto a delightful through-ball, she kept her composure before rounding the ‘keeper to slot into an empty net.

Galway would earn their third goal through fortunate circumstances when Lucia Lobato attempted a speculative strike from 30 yards. It was a tame effort, but substitute custodian Trish Fennelly would commit an unfortunate error to allow the ball slip through her grasp and roll over the line.

Thompson would seal her hat-trick in the 82nd minute to make it 4-1 when she tucked home a header from Shauna Fox that was parried into her path six yards out by Limerick’s Fennelly – and she made no mistake from point-blank range.

In the 88th minute, Limerick conceded an own-goal from a Sadhbh Doyle corner – and mere seconds later, Thompson was lurking inside the box to make it six when she forced a second own-goal, and she then went and scored again at the death to cap a remarkable individual performance with a four-goal haul.

Galway WFC: Tina Hughes, Shauna Fox, Meabh de Burca, Sadhbh Doyle, Aislinn Meaney, Emma Starr, Lucia Lobato, Aoife Thompson, Sinead Donovan (Chloe Singleton 56), Rachel Baynes (Elle O’ Flaherty 70) Tessa Mullins (Aoife Walsh 56)

Limerick FC Women: Karen Connolly (Trish Fennelly 46), Tara Mannix, Therese Hartley, Carys Johnson, Megan Kelleher, Maura Shine (Amber Kenny 70), Lauren Keane, Sophie Gleeson, Chloe Connolly, Meg Brennan, Shannen Parbat (Marie Curtin 56)

Star Player: Aoife Thompson

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