The Donegal Women’s League came back from the brink twice in the first half only to be undone by Peamount United this afternoon in the Continental Tyres Under-17 Women’s National League.
Donegal Women’s League 3 Peamount United 5
Donegal came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to be level at half-time but, ultimately a hat-trick from the outstanding Abbie Clarke proved the difference at Leckview Park.
In spite of a much improved, gritty and determined display, Donegal left empty handed.
They were 2-0 down by the 15th minute as Clarke struck gold from a pair of free-kicks. Clarke’s first effort, in the fourth minute, after a foul on Della Maria Doherty, dipped down beyond Donegal ‘keeper Neve Scanlan.
And on 15 minutes, Clarke was at it again, knocking in off the inside of the post to double the lead and Donegal were aggrieved at the awarding of both set pieces.
Donegal shook their heads and came right back into the contest.
Aoife Kelly finished well to bring hope to the home side and Kelly’s goal certainly had a calming effect.
On the half-hour, Michelle McDevitt fired past Ciara Glackin from a corner kick and Donegal were level.
Disaster struck, though, as Peamount regained the lead within two minutes, Hazel Cawley’s shot looped over Scanlan and into the net.
As the clock ticked for added time at the end of the first half, Donegal were energised and enriched all at once as Kelly got around and away from Glackin to tuck home and level the tie again.
After a difficult opening to the campaign, it was just what the doctor ordered for Donegal.
The danger had been averted early on when Jess Lawler broke away only to be denied by Scanlan while the follow up, by Rebecca Watkins, was blocked down.
Scanlon denied Casey Palmer and managed to keep out the rebound by Cawley, but Peamount got their noses ahead just seven minutes into the second half as Clarke sealed her hat-trick in style, finding the far corner from distance out on the stand side.
Bronagh Gallagher sought a way back for Donegal, but fired wide after a promising move.
Somehow, Peamount’s Rachel McGrath fired over from close range after getting on the end of a Doherty cross, while Cawley was off-cue with another shot.
Ten minutes from time, substitute Mia Chambers clinched the win. Chambers raced in and, after having her first shot saved by Scanlan, the Peamount attacker applied the finish.
Scanlan finished in some discomfort after appearing to suffer an injury to her left leg in the second half. The sight of the ‘keeper receiving treatment after the final whistle from physio, Eddie Crawford, will be a worry for the Donegal management.
Watkins hit the post late in the game for the visitors while the hosts will reflect on a more encouraging afternoon at the office ahead of an away derby at Sligo Rovers next weekend.
Donegal Women’s League: Neve Scanlan, Alannah Kee (Étáin Haicéid 74), Michelle McDevitt, Catherine Grier, Mollie Page, Aishling Irwin, Ciara McGarvey, Bronagh Gallagher, Megan Masterson, Aoife Kelly, Danielle Hynd.
Peamount United: Ciara Glackin (Emma Ring 75), Fiona Owens, Shannon Guildea (Ciara Marston h-t), Abbie Clarke, Ava Dolan, Chloe O’Connor (Casey Palmer h-t), Rachel McGrath, Della Maria Doherty, Rebecca Watkins, Hazel Cawley (Mia Chambers 58), Jess Lawler (Eimer Hanson h-t).
Referee: Vincent McLoughlin.Tags: