UCC Ladies Premier soccer squad secured a deserved victory against Garda College, Templemore, with a final scoreline of 4-1.
The action at the open set the tone for the rest of the match with the home side the brighter of the two teams, with Lydia Looney testing Garda goalkeeper, Jennifer MacNicholas, in the early stages. In the 10th minute, the first corner of the game was well-taken by UCC’s number ten McCarthy, and was cleared under pressure by the Templemore College’s Caroline O’Neill. Another corner soon after was taken short by McCarthy, and was again intercepted by O’Neill, who cleared only as far as UCC’s Ciara O’Connell, whose shot landed straight into the palms of MacNicholas.
UCC’s attacking efforts were rewarded in the 12th minute, when McCarthy exploited a weak clearance from O’Neill to slot the ball past the Garda keeper.
The goal sparked life into the UCC side, with good interplay between O’Connell, Lyons and Ciara Nevin, forcing Templemore’s Clodagh Doyle to make a vital clearance. Whilst the UCC goalie, Eve Badana, was rarely tested in the opening half of the game, the UCC Ladies consistently put pressure on the visitors’ keeper, with a Lyons’ shot just sailing over the crossbar. The Garda side’s defence remained resilient, however, featuring a good clearance by Sonia Buggy from a well-taken corner by UCC’s McCarthy. As the half hour mark approached, McCarthy received a slick pass from right-back Christine Coffey, with the number ten neatly slotting the ball under Garda College’s MacNicholas to give the home side a two-goal lead.
After a brief pause in play to tend to the injured Sarah Moloney of the Garda College, UCC’s attacking line continued to advance, with two shots from the diligent Meghan Bourque drifting wide. However, as half-time crept ever so nearer, the Garda College capitalised on a promising attack, with Moloney slotting the ball passed UCC’s Canadian keeper to bring the game to 2-1.
The second half mirrored the first, with UCC proving to be the more energetic of the teams, as Nevin sprinted down the right to set up Lyons, whose shot went timidly wide. Yet, smart interplay between the Templemore side’s centre-back, Michelle Cregg, and striker, Sarah Walsh, tested UCC’s defence. However, the home side responded with a long kick-out from Badana which reached McCarthy, who then weaved through the Garda College’s defence, passing to Lyons whose shot demanded an impressive save from MacNicholas.
As the second half progressed, the UCC Ladies continued to drive forward, finally extending their lead when Bourque’s rebounded shot off the Garda goalie landed at Looney’s feet, who drove the ball into the back of the net.
UCC’s lead was extended again when substitute Gráinne Cowhig, set up by playmaker McCarthy, scored, all but sealing a UCC victory. While the Garda College attempted to reduce the deficit, it was the home side who, most convincingly, finished the match on a scoreline of 4-1. UCC Ladies will go on to face the University of Ulster Jordanstown next week.
E. Badana; C. Coffey; K. Connors; C. O’Connell; E. Looby; M. Bourque; L. Looney; A. Brady; E. Lyons; K. McCarthy; C. Nevin.
Subs Used: G. Cowhig; E. O’Driscoll.
J. MacNicholas; C. Doyle; M. Cregg; S. Martin; A. Quinn; C. O’Neill; S. Moloney; M. O’Neill; S. Buggy; E. Crowley; S. Walsh.
Subs Used: K. Fitzpatrick; S. Clince; A. Mangan; A. Tarpey; P. Ryan.