Report: Christine Allen

Shamrock Rovers secure their first win across all competitions in this campaign, beating DLR Waves 4-0 at Tallaght Stadium in the All-Island Cup

Collie O’Neill made one change to the side that lined out at Tolka Park, with Jaime Thompson replacing Shauna Fox who dropped to the bench.

Senior women’s international manager Eileen Gleeson was in attendance and observed beneath the shade of the West Stand.

The Hoops came flying out of the traps and were rewarded for their pressure with an early breakthrough.

In the 5th minute, Lia O’Leary picked out March Player of the Month Joy Ralph in space in the box with the striker guiding a looping header over Auskalnyte to give the Hoops the lead.

Minutes later, Michelle Doonan tried her luck with a long range effort with Budden off her line, with the Hoops Number One relieved to see the attempt drop wide.

As the first half ticked on, the women in teal were hungry for more, dominating possession in spells with quick one touch passages of play.

Rovers had several chances to score a second, O’Leary driving the ball at Waves keeper Auskalnyte who did well to limit the score, frustrating both Áine O’Gorman and Stephanie Zambra with her quick reflexes.

Up top for DLR, Doonan was marked closely by Jessica Hennessy and Maria Reynolds, lining out at the unfamiliar role of centre half, the tall and imposing defenders well aware of the firepower in the former Pea’s arsenal.

A switch of play ignited by a deft step over from Hennessy that linked well with another driving run from Thompson ended with a threaded ball through to O’Gorman, the Wicklow native doing just enough to get her boot to the ball and play in Lia O’Leary who had timed her run nicely at the back post to slot home her first of the season.

The Hoops were denied from adding a third before the break, with O’Gorman & Zambra thwarted in quick succession. The Sky Blues relieved to hear the half time whistle.

Before play resumed, the visitors made a triple substitution in an attempt to alter the trajectory of the game, DLR’s Tobin Jones marshalling her backline in an attempt to galvanise her defence.

Seven minutes into the second half, Joy Ralph was presented with an opportunity to bag her second of the day, when a dink from O’Leary and a deft pass from Herron played the striker through on goal. Auskalnyte did well to deny Ralph’s attempt but O’Gorman was on her toes to tap home the rebound to make it 3-0 after 52 minutes.

Michelle Doonan had a half a chance to pull one back for Heffernan’s side but Budden was quick off her line and smothered her efforts.

A double substitution for Rovers and DLR followed as the game entered into the final twenty, Lauren Kelly stepping into the fray up top with Joy Ralph switching to right wing.

Alannah Prizeman too made an appearance, Budden applauding her attempt on goal in the 79th minute, while Lauren Kelly almost netted a fourth for Rovers.

As the clock approached 90 minutes, O’Neill introduced two Academy players off the bench in Katie O’Reilly and Ella Kelly and it would be fifteen year old Ella Kelly who would be the one to secure Rovers fourth and final goal of the contest.

Muscling past Amber Cosgrove to take advantage of a driving run by her Under 17’s teammate and captain, Katie O’Reilly, Kelly calmly secured The Hoops fourth in the 90th minute, scoring her first senior goal to become not only the Club’s youngest ever goalscorer, but the youngest goalscorer in League of Ireland history.

The game ended 4-0 to the women in teal, who welcome Peamount to Tallaght Stadium on May 4th. Kick off is set for 4pm.