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UCD Waves continued their fine start to the season with a well-deserved 2-1 win away to Peamount United – a victory that saw them claim top spot in the Women’s National League on goal difference.

The visitors got off to the perfect start by taking the lead after just two minutes when Orlagh Nolan swung in a free kick from the right-hand side that Peamount failed to deal with. The ball bounced all the way through to Dearbhaile Beirne who prodded past Naoisha McAloon from eight yards.

They should have doubled their advantage shortly afterwards when the hard-working Julieann Russell’s cross found striker Kerri Letmon free in the box but her attempt was straight at the keeper.

Russell was involved again midway through the first half when she picked up the ball and ran through the middle of the pitch before unleashing a shot from fully 25 yards that had the keeper beaten but not the crossbar.

UCD were pressing Peamount hard and starving Amber Barrett of service up front. The home side did have a chance to pull a goal back, however, when Megan Lynch delivered a cross towards the back post from a free kick. Centre back Chloe Moloney had ghosted into the box but the cross was just too high for her.

Peamount were desperately trying to get a foothold in the game but their attempts left them exposed at the back. UCD broke from a corner through Russell but, sensing danger, Emma Byrne pulled her back, for which she picked up the game’s first yellow card.

UCD dominated the first half but they went into the break with just the one goal lead.

Peamount came out in the second half looking to get back on terms, and they almost did it when Heather Payne won the ball on the edge of the box before knocking it past the in-coming Rebekah Carroll. Payne managed to get a shot away but her attempt was deflected onto the outside of the post. Keeper Brooke Dunne had to be alert to stop the home side scoring from the resultant corner as Eleanor Ryan Doyle’s header hit a defender and almost crossed the line.

Barrett then had her first sniff of goal but just as she was about to pull the trigger on the edge of the box, Emily Cahill got back to put in an excellent tackle.

UCD looked to have sewn up the game on 62 minutes when Beirne’s opportunistic strike appeared to slip through the hands of McAloon and into the back of the net. Captain Aine O’Gorman then had a chance to make it 3-0 when Beirne found her free in the area, but her shot flew high over the bar.

Peamount gave themselves a lifeline with seven minutes remaining as Barrett raced clear of her marker and waited for Dunne to leave her goal, before coolly poking past the netminder. Peamount were back in the game but they couldn’t find another and it was in fact UCD who should have added to the score lineA when substitute Lauren Kelly found herself in acres of space but shot straight at McAloon.

Peamount United: Naoisha McAloon; Lauryn O’Callaghan, Jade Reddy (Claire Kinsella 71), Louise Corrigan [C], Chloe Moloney, Emma Byrne, Niamh Farrelly, Heather Payne, Eleanor Ryan Doyle, Amber Barrett, Megan Lynch (Niamh Barnes 78).

Unused Subs: Vanessa Hullon, Monica McGuirk, Margaret Doyle, Lauren Kealy.

UCD Waves: Brooke Dunne; Jetta Berrill, Karren Duggan, Rebekah Carroll, Emily Cahill, Julieann Russell, Dearbhaile Beirne (Lauren Kelly 78), Aine O’Gorman [C], Orlagh Nolan, Kerri Letmon (Sophie O’Donoghue 82), Aishling Dunbar (Catherine Cronin 73).

Unused subs: Erica Turner, Sinead Gaynor.

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