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DLR Waves picked up their first three points of 2019 with a 2-0 victory over Kilkenny United in challenging conditions at Jackson Park.

First-half goals from Leanne Payne and FAI under-16 player of the year nominee Nadine Clare helped Graham Kelly’s side to a win in their first home game of the season.

The game was moved from the Jackson Park grass pitch to astro following a late pitch inspection, and Waves made the best of a strong backwind to take a two-goal lead into the break.

Waves kept Wexford Youths at bay for an hour in their opening fixture last Saturday before the champions found a way to break them down to seal a 3-0 win.

This tie, against a Kilkenny side beaten 10-1 at home by Shelbourne on the opening day, saw Waves dictate for the most part, although a hard-working Kilkenny side offered stern resistance.

Payne and Ciara Maher had already forced saves from Kilkenny keeper Lauren Davies when the former broke the deadlock after just seven minutes.

Catherine Cronin’s cross from the left found its way to the back post where Payne, playing on the right of a front three rather than her more regular central station, tapped into an empty net.

Ann-Marie Byrne called Waves keeper Erica Turner into action for the first time with a shot from distance but the home side created the better chances, with Clare and Maher both forcing saves.

Aisling Dunbar was brilliantly-denied her first goal of the season by Davies, before Waves were handed a massive let-off when Carla McManus stormed through and crashed a shot off the post.

Following numerous stoppages during the first half, Clare bagged her first Waves goal in injury time, curling her shot from the edge of the box high into the net.

Kilkenny played with more attacking verve with the wind at their backs and struck the woodwork for a second time when Bronagh Kane’s shot grazed the top of the crossbar.

Kane Lyons’ side switched to three at the back for the final ten minutes as they sought to force a goal and a nervy finale, but Waves held out for a morale-boosting first win.

DLR Waves: Erica Turner; Aisling Dunbar (Eimear Lafferty 58), Ally O'Keefe, Róisín McGovern, Jenny O’Keefe; Ciara Maher, Sophie O’Donoghue (Aisling Spillane 75), Nadine Clare; Kerri Letmon, Catherine Cronin, Leanne Payne (Michaela Fox-Walsh 70).

Kilkenny United: Lauren Davies; Aoife Brophy, Shauna Martin, Erin Best, Emma Boyle; Kayla Cooling (Tara Long 79), Nicole Plunkett (Leah Doyle 58), Naima Chemaou; Ann-Marie Byrne (Kerri Duffy 75), Carla McManus, Bronagh Kane.

 

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