WNL round-up: Athlone beat Wexford to close gap at the top

Shelbourne, Peamount United and Athlone Town are right behind the table toppers with three games left to play after this weekend's action was completed on Sunday
WNL round-up: Athlone beat Wexford to close gap at the top

CONTRASTING EMOTIONS: Scarlett Herron of Athlone Town, left, and team-mate Muireann Devaney celebrate at the final whistle as Wexford Youths players look on dejected after the SSE Airtricity Women's National League at Athlone Town Stadium in Westmeath. Pic: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The SSE Airtricity Women's National League title race is now officially made up of four teams with Wexford Youths holding a narrow lead.

Shelbourne, Peamount United and Athlone Town are right behind the table toppers with three games left to play after this weekend's action was completed on Sunday.

Athlone Town 2-1 Wexford Youths 

After beating Wexford last weekend in the FAI Women’s Cup semi-final, Athlone looked to get their first win over Wexford in the league and close the gap at the top of the table, and that’s exactly what they managed to do.

It was Wexford who took the lead early on in the game after a penalty was awarded by the referee. Aoibheann Clancy calmly stepped up and despite goalkeeper Niamh Coombes diving the right way, Clancy’s penalty was struck to perfection.

21 minutes in, however, Athlone struck one back. Róisín Molloy’s cross into the box fell back to Kellie Brennan, and Athlone’s number 10 fired it in to make it 1-1.

In the 81st minute, Athlone had a corner which Kayleigh Shine sent in, and Gillian Keenan met the ball in the air and scored the winner for the home side.

Whilst Wexford remain at the top of the table, Athlone's win closes the gap at the top.

Galway WFC 2-3 DLR Waves 

DLR Waves made the trip to the west to take on Galway WFC at Eamonn Deacy Park and came away with the win after a thrilling contest.

It was Galway who struck first in the seventh minute after great work by Julie-Ann Russell on the right-hand side, she dribbled into the box, squared to Elle O’Flaherty who finished to give Galway the lead.

Their lead didn’t last long, however, and in the 10th minute DLR’s Shauna Carroll dribbled past numerous players in the Galway box and struck high into the net to make it 1-1. Only a few minutes after, Carla McManus’s shot was saved onto the crossbar from goalkeeper Abbiegayle Ronayne, but Katie Malone followed in to put the Waves ahead.

In the second half, Galway managed to get one back early on, with Jamie Erickson rising highest in the box from a corner.

It looked as though the game would end a draw, with both teams cancelling each other out well, but in the 84th minute, Waves keeper Eve Badana put a long ball over the top for Avril Brierley to run onto, and Brierley did well to chip Ronanye in the Galway goal and win her side the game.

Peamount United 1-0 Bohemians 

It was vital that Peamount got the win in this one in order to stay within reach of the leaders, and it was a Stephanie Roche penalty in the first half that got them the win.

The Bohs defence worked hard at keeping Peamount out, although the home side had most of the possession.

On 27 minutes, Bohs had a great opportunity to go ahead in the game, when Rachel Doyle found Kira Bates-Crosbie in the box, but Bates-Crosbie put her shot over the bar.

Soon after, Lisa Murphy took down Alannah McEvoy in the box and Peamount were awarded a penalty. Roche slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0.

Right at the end of the game, Bohemians had a final chance to level it through Aoife Robinson, but she was quickly closed down by Peamount defender Chloe Moloney.

Shelbourne 2-1 Cork City 

This game was a must-win for Shelbourne and the pressure was evident at Tolka Park as Cork City made it extremely difficult for the Reds.

The home side started off quick, nearly going ahead just a minute into the game but Leah Doyle was judged to have been offside. Cork hit back however, with Christina Dring hitting the crossbar on 13 minutes.

It was Cork who opened the scoring at Tolka through a Becky Cassin penalty after Zara Foley was taken down in the box by Leah Doyle. Cassin made no mistake with the penalty, firing into the top left corner.

Shelbourne managed to get one back just before the break, with Cassin putting the ball into her own net following a fantastic Alex Kavanagh corner kick. 

The second half followed a similar pattern with Shelbourne looking for the winner although Cork did look threatening on the counter attack.

It was Megan Smyth-Lynch who was the hero for The Reds as, in the 87th minute, she struck a wonderful effort from outside the box to make it 2-1 to the champions. Late on Shels keeper Courtney Maguire did well to save a certain goal.

Sligo Rovers 1-1 Treaty United 

It was no surprise to see Sligo dominating in the early stages and they might have taken the lead after just three minutes when Paula McGrory somehow headed over from under the Treaty crossbar.

But six minutes later Cara Griffin put the Limerick side ahead with a stunning finish from wide on the right having been played through by Kaiesha Tobin.

Sligo ramped up the pressure on Treaty as the half progressed, and Fiona Doherty passed up a great chance to equalise on 35 minutes, shooting wide of the target when well placed. Gemma McGuinness then shot straight at Fennelly following good work by Doherty. But Treaty held their lead at the break.

Sligo started the second half on the front foot. McGuinness flashed a shot narrowly wide on 51 minutes, and on the hour Amy Boyle-Carr scooped the ball wide having done well to create space for the shot. But for all that Griffin might have sealed it for Treaty, missing a golden opportunity for the visitors with 20 minutes left.

They would live to regret that miss when, with just six minutes remaining, Leah Kelly floated a free into the Treaty box. Paula McGrory met it with a header and although Trish Fennelly saved it, she allowed the ball to spill and substitute Lauren McLellan slammed home the rebound.

And so it ended, with Sligo perhaps deserving of the draw, but Treaty nonetheless heartbroken having been denied their first win of the season.

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