Shelbourne secured an important three points in their bid to challenge for the Só Hotels Women’s National League title as they defeated Cork City 7-2 at Bishopstown on Sunday afternoon.

A brace apiece from Rebecca Cooke and Niamh Prior as well as goals from Alannah McEvoy, Emily Whelan and Jessica Ziu saw Shels secure the win by an impressive score at the expense of a spirited City side, who responded through Christina Dring and Katie McCarthy.
This was the second meeting between these sides in seven days as Shelbourne defeated the Leesiders 3-1 in the quarter-final of the Só Hotels Women’s National League cup at this venue the weekend before.
As well as revenge, Rónán Collins’ side were looking to make it four wins in a row in the league following excellent victories on the road against Kilkenny, DLR Waves and Limerick.
But they needed goalkeeper Maria O’Sullivan to make a brilliant save in the seventh minute as she tipped Noelle Murray’s powerful strike over her bar.
The City number one did well to deny both Rebecca Cooke and Jessica Ziu as the half progressed but she was finally beaten in the 21st minute when Alannah McEvoy gave Shels the lead that their performance deserved.
The ball fell perfectly to her inside the penalty box and the striker expertly rifled her shot into the bottom left corner, giving the opposing shot-stopper no chance.
Cork regrouped following that set back as Eadaoin Lyons and Katie McCarthy both had chances to level the scores but neither could beat the keeper with their difficult efforts.
But Shelbourne remained dangerous going forward and they doubled their lead with 32 minutes on the clock as Emily Whelan planted her shot into the roof of the net from an acute angle.
And Dave Bell’s team made it 3-0 as the half time break approached thanks to a well-worked attacking move. Jessica Ziu latched onto Noelle Murray’s precise pass over the top of the defence and squared the ball to Rebecca Cooke who had the simple task of stroking the ball home from close range.
City, to their credit, continued to battle and they reduced the deficit in injury time at the end of the first period as Christina Dring blasted a fierce strike into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.
But Shelbourne responded well to that City goal as they restored their three-goal advantage at the beginning of the second half. Republic of Ireland international Jessica Ziu used her pace to race onto another defence splitting pass from Noelle Murray before coolly tucking the ball past the keeper.
Katie McCarthy became the third player in the history of the Cork City women’s football club to make 100 appearances and she marked the occasion with a typical smart finish to make it 4-2.
The attacking midfielder expertly controlled Shaunagh McCarthy’s great cross before slotting the ball into the far bottom left corner.
But Shelbourne finished the game strongly and they would add three further goals in the final ten minutes to seal the win in style.
Rebecca Cooke scored her second and her side’s fifth with a tidy finish when bearing down on goal before substitute Niamh Prior got in on the act as she tapped in number six before heading number seven into the net late on.
Cork City: Maria O’Sullivan, Savannah McCarthy, Danielle Burke (Kate O’Donovan 82), Ciara McNamara, Maggie Duncliffe (Shaunagh McCarthy 63), Christina Dring, Eadaoin Lyons (Rachel O’Regan 53), Katie McCarthy, Eabha O’Mahony, Zara Foley, Emma Farmer.
Shelbourne: Amanda McQuillan, Pearl Slattery, Jamie Finn, Alex Kavanagh, Jess Ziu, Rachel Graham, Alannah McEvoy (Niamh Prior 75), Noelle Murray (Rebecca Creagh 84), Emily Whelan, Kate Mooney (Fiona Donnelly 84), Rebecca Cooke.
Referee: Ricky Crean.


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