Dave Donnelly reports from Jackson Park
Cork City ran out handsome 3-1 winners over DLR Waves on a miserable Saturday evening at Jackson Park.
Goals from Rachel O’Regan, Eabha O’Mahony and Saoirse Noonan were on target for City, while substitute Kerri Letmon pulled back a late consolation for Waves.
The sides went into the game equal on points, Waves’ narrow 2-1 win over Limerick having drawn them level with the visitors on 16 points, albeit with an inferior goal difference.
Any prospect of Graham Kelly’s side making it two wins on the bounce were all but dashed before half time as goals from O’Regan and O’Mahony put the Rebel Army fully in the driving seat.
Waves had, in fact, hauled back a 2-0 half-time deficit to win 4-3 when the sides met at Bishopstown in June but the torrential rain put paid to any ambitions for free-flowing football.
The home side started brightly as a slow rain trickled down on the Kilternan surface and Orla Casey shot marginally wide before Maria O’Sullivan bravely dove at the winger’s feet moments later.
Sophie O’Donoghue saw her shot deflected wide for a corner and, from the resulting delivery, Ally O’Keeffe was inches from making contact at the back post.
City hit the front with their first genuine attack of the night as a slick move ended at the feet of O’Regan, who fired home from close range.
The visitors took control of the first half from there as O’Mahony troubled Sophie Lenehan with a long-range drive before the keeper did brilliantly to deny Christina Dring one-on-one.
Cork doubled their lead when the lively O’Regan won a free kick on the right and O’Mahony floated in a teasing free kick to the back post that sailed over Lenehan and nestled in the top corner.
The second half was considerably more scrappy as rain battered down on the Dublin mountains venue, but City continued to threaten as O’Mahony saw another strike from range saved.
Noonan was denied a spectacular third as her overheard kick was headed off the line by defender Nicole Keogh.
Letmon had an immediate impact on her introduction with 25 minutes remaining, forcing two quick stops from the underworked O’Sullivan.
Noonan got her goal with 11 minutes remaining, a smart finish after substitute Eadaoin Lyons teed her up with her first touch.
Waves struck back immediately as a powerful shot from Letmon proved too much for O’Sullivan to handle, and the ball trickled into the net, but the home side couldn’t force a grandstand finish.
DLR Waves: Sophie Lenehan; Nicole Keogh; Ally O’Keeffe, Róisín McGovern, Niamh Prior; Sinead Gaynor, Fiona Donnelly, Sophie O’Donoghue (Kerri Letmon 65); Orla Casey (Katie Burdis 74), Catherine Cronin, Leanne Payne.
Subs not used: Shauna Carroll, Chelsee Snell, Nadine Clare.
Cork City: Marie O’Sullivan; Nathalie O’Brien, Ciara McNamara, Sarah Jones, Eabha O’Mahony; Zara Foley, Emma Farmer (Maggie Duncliffe 83), Katie McCarthy (Liz O’Connor 85); Rachel O’Regan (Eadaoin Lyons 78), Saoirse Noonan, Christina Dring.
Subs not used: Kate O’Donovan, Megan Howard, Danielle Burke, Riona Crowley.
Attendance: 60 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Eabha O’Mahony (Cork City).