WNL: Limerick Enjoy Dream Start To Life In Women’s National League

Lauren Keane hit a brace which was added to by goals from Sylvia Gee and Megan Kelleher as Limerick made a dream start to life in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League with a 4-0 trouncing of Kilkenny United at the Markets Field on Sunday afternoon.

On a pleasant day at the Garryowen venue, the Shannonsiders were intent on marking a historic day for the club with victory, and they set about their business on 11 minutes when Aisling O’Connor’s superb cross from the right was clipped to the net by Keane from close in.

Dave Rooney’s side had a chance for a second before the midway point of the half when Sophie Hudner got to the ball ahead of ‘keeper Megan Butler, but from a tight angle she saw her shot blocked behind for a corner.

Butler, unfortunately, suffered a nasty injury close to half-time which forced her off. Kilkenny looked for a response before the break and they almost got it through Ailbhe Claney but Trish Fennelly got down smartly to save at her near post.

On 49 minutes, Limerick extended their advantage when Kilkenny failed to clear; the ball dropped invitingly to Sylvia Gee in the area and she smashed a shot to the net from 15-yards.

The three points were made certain past the hour-mark when Keane took advantage of a slip by the visitors to poke the ball beyond the ‘keeper, and Limerick would go on to add a fourth when Megan Kelleher rose to power a header to the top corner on 72 minutes.

The Limerick FC squad and management team ahead of their opening match in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League v Kilkenny United, Markets Field, Sunday 11 March 2018.

Afterwards, in his post-match press conference, Rooney said: “Technically there are going to be better teams than us, we know that, but nobody is going to outwork us in any match this season.

“It’s a proud moment for everybody. The club have done everything that I wanted. I was told straight away that everything that the men’s senior team get, you have as well. I’m working out of the same office as Tommy Barrett, we have video analysis, access to gyms, nutritionists, strength and conditioning and now the Markets Field as well.

“We have everything. This isn’t window-dressing for the club. We are very, very serious about girls’ football. I’m delighted to be leading it and delighted to be a part of it. It’s been a proud day for all the squad.”

Limerick: Trish Fennelly, Tara Mannix, Marie Curtin, Megan Kelleher (Shauna Rooney 80), Carys Johnson, Lauren Keane (Megan Carroll 72), Sylvia Gee, Therese Hartley ©, Aisling O’Connor, Rebecca Horgan (Rebecca Mahon 60), Sophie Hudner. Goals: L Keane (11, 64), S Gee (49), M Kelleher (72). Booked: M Kelleher (59). Unused Subs: Karen Connolly (GK), Alanna Morris, Claire Kelly, Sabrina McCarthy.

Kilkenny United: Megan Butler (Niamh Coombes 40), Colleen Richards, Erin Best, Shauna Martin, Jennifer O’Neill, Ailbhe Claney, Gillian Keenan, Sarah O’Donoghue (Michaela Walsh HT), Niamh Kelly, Nicole Plunkett, Carla McManus. Unused Subs: Sarah Ryan, Bronagh Kane, Carrie Pedley.

Referee: Robbie Broe.

Report Date: Sunday 11 March 2018