The next seven days could all but secure European football for Shamrock Rovers in 2018.Sun, Sep 24 2017
A late strike from Lucy McCartan gave Peamount United all three points and a 1-0 win over Shelbourne on Saturday evening as they remain top of the Continental Tyres Women's National League.
Two failed clearances were both stopped by the rushing McCartan, who broke into space in the box and slotted home past Amanda McQuillan after refusing to give up on the ball.
The result came off the back of a missed penalty from Shels' Leanne Kiernan, and leaves the Peas two points clear of second-place Wexford Youths and six ahead of the reigning champions.
The away side put on the initial early pressure, with the combination of Amber Barrett and Heather Payne doing damage early on.
Many of Peamount's most effecting balls were directed towards Barrett, and it was the number nine that had the first chance for the Peas with a weak effort in the second minute.
With seven minutes gone a Peamount free kick was won 25 yards out and an excellent curling strike from Megan Lynch was sent high over the wall before crashing unfortunately off the crossbar.
Payne started the game well, her running causing Shels problems and a sublime flick past Lynn Craven to set up a blocked Barrett shot was indicative of the early confidence they were showing.
The 17th minute was the game changer, when a fabulous solo run from Niamh Prior left the ball on a plate for Kiernan, but she just couldn't quite direct her header on goal. Shels began to come back into the game from there.
Craven, Kiernan, Prioir and Siobhan Killeen would all test Naoisha McAloon in the Peamount goal before the half was over, Killeen's chip from 30 yards out coming closest but ultimately not troubling the Peamount stopper.
Roma McLoughlin had a great chance off a Kiernan cross in the 37th minute but sent her volley on the half turn just wide, before Barrett nearly nicked a goal for Peamount with three minutes to go until the break but she couldn't turn a Lynch free kick inside the left upright.
Shels began the second half as they ended the first – on top – with another McLoughlin volley going close.
With half an hour to go it looked like Shelbourne had been handed the game after a penalty was awarded for handball when Kiernan's attempt at a cross came off the forearm of Chloe Moloney.
Kiernan took the penalty herself but skied it high and to the right, straight out of Tolka Park, and a massive chance was wasted.
Straight down the other end Barrett led a Peamount break that saw McQuillan fumble the ball and McCartan send the rebound over as both teams suddenly sprang into life.
In the 70th minute Prior was denied a certain goal at the back post by an excellent sliding challenge from Kiernan's low cross, then straight up the other end for the Peas Barrett had the ball in the net but she was ruled offside.
The breakthrough finally came with ten minutes to go, with McCartan's tenacity bringing her the goal that the game deserved, and Shelbourne went into overdrive looking for an equaliser in a tense final ten minutes.
McLoughlin had a glorious chance with six minutes to go with the ball falling to her from six yards out, but she struck the post with a side-footed shot that rebounded out and was cleared by Payne.
Prior fired over from an Alex Kavanagh corner and Killeen had a late shot blocked, before an audacious chip from Lauryn O'Callaghan needed to be headed off the line by Jamie Finn.
One final chance came in the final minute of injury time with a deep cross from Courtney Higgins headed wide by Pearl Slattery, confirming an important win for the Peas.
Shelbourne: Amanda McQuillan; Seana Cooke, Pearl Slattery, Fiona Donnelly (Alexandra Kavanagh 56), Lynn Craven; Niamh Prior, Rachel Graham (Courtney Higgins 67), Roma McLoughlin, Jamie Finn, Siobhan Killeen; Leanne Kiernan.
Subs Not Used: Niamh Reid Burke, Niamh Walsh, Tiegan Ruddy, Kate Mooney, Chloe McNamee.
Peamount United: Naoisha McAloon; Lauryn O'Callaghan, Louise Corrigan, Chloe Moloney, Lauren Kealy; Lucy McCartan, Megan Lynch (Louise Masterson 72), Niamh Farrelly (Emma Byrne 85); Claire Kinsella (Eleanor Ryan Doyle 56), Amber Barrett, Heather Payne.
Subs Not Used: Monica McGuirk, Carla McManus, Jane Reddy, Margaret Doyle.
Booked: Louise Corrigan (35), Amber Barrett (90+3).
Referee: Lee Duffy.
Attendance: 150 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Niamh Prior (Shelbourne).