Brendan Graham reporting from Tolka Park
A Rebecca Creagh hat-trick helped Shelbourne to defeat Limerick WFC 5-0 on Saturday afternoon with their constant pressure and persistence eventually paying off in the second half.
From the first minute to last, Shelbourne put a young Limerick side under pressure, keeping them pinned into their own half as they looked to create chances down the wings early on.
Their first major chances of the game came after ten minutes with Karen Connolly doing very well with a double save to deny Alannah McEvoy and Niamh Prior from giving Shels the lead.
Full back Jessica Gargan who had a very solid game for Dave Bell’s side found McEvoy with a cross to her feet. McEvoy drilled a low shot close to goal but Connolly made a great save low down to deny the midfielder. Seconds later Connolly had to be sharp again, this time keeping out Niamh Prior with an ambitious long range effort from outside the box.
Conditions got worse as the half progressed and although they didn’t see much of the ball, Limerick, to their credit, did very well in the opening half dealing with everything that was thrown their way and keeping Shels scoreless.
Considering Shels put ten past Kilkenny last weekend, they will have been more than happy going in at the break with the game still scoreless.
Limerick striker Aoife Horgan was doing her best with limited service up front for the away side and almost found a way through as the first half drew to a close. Carys Johnson did well winning the ball in midfield before finding Horgan just inside the box. Horgan tried to weave her way through the Shels defence but the experienced Pearl Slattery watched her all the way and timed her tackle perfectly to eliminate any danger in front of goal.
Shels began the second half just as they ended the first with Alex Kavanagh and Rachel Graham putting in some ferocious tackles to ensure they won the midfield battle for their side as they went in search of the opening goal.
It came shortly after and just on the hour mark Rebecca Creagh opened the scoring for her side. Lively all game, her efforts were rewarded when Kate Mooney found her with a cross straight to her feet just inside the box. Creagh made no mistake slotting the ball past Connolly to give her side the lead.
Once they got the first, the second and third came pretty quickly and within ten minutes the home side were 3-0 up. Alex Kavanagh with a composed finish past Connolly to double their lead before Creagh got her second of the game from close range minutes later.
With ten minutes to go Creagh ensured she would be taking home the match ball with her third of the game reacting quickest to poke the ball at full stretch past Connolly who had made a great save seconds earlier from substitute Fiona Donnelly.
Having come so close minutes earlier, Donnelly made no mistake with minutes remaining getting herself onto the end of a McEvoy cross for Shelbourne’s fifth of the game.
The result puts Dave Bell’s side top of the table with maximum points from two games. Limerick occupy seventh and still await their first points of the new campaign.
Shelbourne: Amanada McQuillan;Jessica Gargan, Jamie Finn, Niamh Prior (Chloe Mustaki 72), Pearl Slattery;Alex Kavanagh, Rachel Graham, Lynn Craven (Niamh Walsh 68), Alannah McEvoy;Kate Mooney (Fiona Donnelly 69), Rebecca Creagh
Limerick WFC: Karen Connolly,; Tara Mannix, Marie Curtin, Shannon Parbat (Sabrina McCarthy 70), Chloe Wills (Clodagh Doherty 69);Megan Kelleher, Lauren Keane (Mora Shine 52). Carys Johnston, Meg Brennan; Sylvia Gee, Aoife Horgan