Report: Christine Allen

Shamrock Rovers fell to their first defeat of the season on Saturday after a 2-0 loss to Peamount at Tallaght Stadium.

The Hoops made one change to the side that defeated DLR Waves a fortnight ago, with Shauna Fox replacing Stephanie Zambra who was named among the substitutes.

Avril Brierley claimed the first attempt on goal in the 4th minute, pulling wide and to the left of Amanda Budden’s post.

March Player of the Month Joy Ralph almost opened the scoreline in the 8th minute when she turned Duggan on foot of a long ball from Melissa O’Kane, reacting quickly to drive her foot through the ball as Burke back-pedalled.

The strike had Burke beaten, but pinged off the underside of the crossbar and fell harmlessly to the goalkeeper’s backline.

Peamount responded with an intense press and clocked off two shots from long range – Erin McLaughlin skying one effort over Budden’s bar, while Ellen Dolan cut too much under the ball and sent it sailing over the crossbar.

O’Leary and Ralph almost linked up to provide the opener, with O’Gorman pickpocketing the ball from Toni Ceno and laying it off to Ralph who charged in space down the right flank.

A deflection by Lauryn O’Callaghan did just enough to take Ralph’s delivery off course, the ball bouncing awkwardly for O’Leary as she lined up to shoot allowing Burke to smother.

The winger had another chance at goal when she deftly cut inside Jessica Fitzgerald and opted to shoot on her weaker right foot, her attempt flashing wide of Burke’s sticks.

The game continued at a frenetic tempo, Rovers goalkeeper Budden urging her teammates to ‘calm down’ in the 17th minute while Collie O’Neill instructed Ralph to stay up top.

The Hoops’ Number One would make several fine saves in both the first and second half but was beaten in the 19th minute when Jetta Berrill linked with McLaughlin who fired home to give the visitors the lead against the run of play.

And the visitors would double their lead before the break when McLaughlin was afforded too much time and space to curl an effort beyond Budden to give the Hoops a mountain to climb.

At the restart, Under 17s skipper, Katie O’Reilly replaced Scarlett Herron and soon found her footing down the right channel, cutting inside Rebecca Watkins and winning the physical contest with a strength beyond her years.

In the 52nd minute, O’Gorman played a weighted pass to O’Reilly who quickly read Ralph’s charge into the box and whipped it towards the awaiting striker whose momentum took her touch inches past the far left-hand post.

The Hoops dominated possession for the remainder of the second half and had several attempts flash high or wide of the goal, yet the Peas continued to look dangerous as they sat in and looked to hit on the counter.

In the 85th minute, the visitors had a chance to kill the game when Jessica Fitzgerald delivered a long ball in the direction of Freya Healy.

Healy then played the ball to McLaughlin who struck on the turn – the Ireland international denied by the on-form Budden.

In the 90th minute, with three additional minutes left to play, Hennessy almost registered a consolation when she found herself in space in the Peamount penalty area, but the centre half fired wide.

It was a disappointing defeat for the Hoops who will now look to pick up their first league win of the season next Saturday 11th May when they make the trip to Turner’s Cross to face Cork City, with kick-off set for 5 pm