Galway WFC fell to a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Cork City FC Women as a stunning, long-range Savannah McCarthy effort and a Saoirse Noonan spot-kick proved the difference in both teams’ first WNL league match of the 2018 season.

Cork’s Noonan sparked the game into life in the fourth minute when she attempted an audacious over-head kick inside the area from a long throw-in, but Galway ‘keeper Tina Hughes was able to watch it swoosh wide beyond her left-hand post.

Minutes later, the Leesiders had another opportunity when Christina Dring was played through on goal by left winger Michelle O’ Driscoll, but her initial touch let her down as Tina Hughes came out to smother the danger inside the box.

Billy Clery’s troops found it difficult to get going in the opening 45, and the closest their fans came to cheering a goal was when Aislinn Meaney brought them to their feet with a mazy dribble down the middle, but her toe-poke through ball only reached an offside team-mate.

In the early throes of the second half, Frank Kelleher’s charges enjoyed the better of the possession and the chances. First, Saoirse Noonan thumped one into the side-netting of Hughes’ goal and then, less than a minute later, the visitors had their lead.

From a good 35 yards out, Savannah McCarthy looped a long-range effort over Hughes and into the back of the net to give the travelling contingent something to cheer about – silencing the home support in the process. Indeed, McCarthy’s performance was fantastic across the board as she played her part defensively, too, with some clever interceptions.

Nathalie O’ Brien tested Hughes’ reactions with a direct free kick from 25 yards on the hour mark, but the home side’s custodian was more than equal to it as she clutched it into her chest.

In the 64th minute, Cork had doubled their lead from the penalty spot through Noonan after Galway’s left back had committed a foul inside the area, leaving the referee with no other option than to point for a foul.

Galway tried to get back into the game, but never really got going as Cork’s defensive dominance showed – even the late half chances from distance that fell the hosts’ way inside the area were swept up by O’ Brien and Maggie Duncliffe as the visitors secured maximum points.

Galway WFC: Tina Hughes, Carlie Schecht, Aislinn Meaney, Shauna Fox, Emma Starr, Sadhbh Doyle, Lynsey McKey, Tessa Mullins (Elle O’ Flaherty 88), Meadbh De Burca, Lisa Casserly (Chloe Singleton 55), Lucy Hannon (Andrea Trill 55)

Cork City Women’s FC: Eve Badana, Hannah O’ Donoghue (Eadaoin Lyons 68), Nathalie O’ Brien, Maggie Duncliffe, Ciara McNamara, Savannah McCarthy, Katie McCarthy, Saoirse Noonan, Michelle O’ Driscoll (Kate O’ Donovan), Clare Shine (Danielle Burke 46), Christina Dring

Star player: Savannah McCarthy

Referee: Emma Cleary

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