Peamount United once again showed why they are the benchmark in the Bus Éireann FAI WNL producing a rousing second-half display at CIT to clinically inflict a sixth league defeat on Cork Women’s FC.
Republic of Ireland senior internationals Sara Lawlor, Stephanie Roche and captain Louise Quinn each scored twice as Eileen Gleeson’s table-toppers overturned an early one-goal deficit to win their ninth match of 11 in the section.
The sides were level at the break at one goal a-piece. Roche subsequently gave Peamount the lead on 57 minutes but Cork were still in the game at that point, however.
That was until a four-minute second-half spell in which Peamount scored three times between minutes 76 and 80 through Lawlor, Quinn and Roche to leave people scratching their heads as to how Cork collapsed so easily.
In truth, much of it was down to Amanda Budden’s uncharacteristically poor goalkeeping, the net-minder was at fault for at least two of Peamount’s six goals at crucial times despite having served the team so well the previous weekend.
Cork were by far and away the better side in the opening half. Bell’s unit performed as if they were the title-chasers and not Peamount bombarding the leaders for the vast majority, though the Dubliners did have one or two half chances on the counter-attack.
An error-ridden defensive display from the visitors was the product of the hosts’ offensive mind-set, captain Denise O’Sullivan’s tour de force a particular highlight of Cork’s first-half performance.
And it was O’Sullivan that opened the scoring on four minutes capitalising on central defender Susan Byrne’s short pass back to goalkeeper Linda Meehan.
The Republic of Ireland senior international beat Meehan to the ball, rounded her and steered home off balance from an acute angle giving the Leesiders an ideal start.
Cork’s lead lasted just seven minutes though as Sara Lawlor neatly chipped over the advancing Budden, a finish that complemented an intelligent counter-attack.
Undeterred, Cork continued as they started, pinning Peamount back into their own half with a flurry of attacks orchestrated in the main by the irrepressible O’Sullivan.
Meehan first denied Katie McCarthy who launched a missile goalwards, the goalkeeper parried around the post for a corner.
Shortly afterwards, a favourable break midway through the Peamount half resulted in O’Sullivan teeing up Valerie Mulcahy unmarked inside the area to shoot however the striker hesitated instead of hitting first-time and eventually side-footed wide.
Moments later an excellent pass through the middle by Sylvia Gee to Mulcahy was well controlled by the striker but despite getting a decent shot off from seven yards Meehan blocked with her legs.
The Leesiders were well on top by this juncture but as the half-time whistle drew ever closer there was a fear those misses would come back to haunt them.
And they did.
Twelve minutes into the second-half Budden spilled Caroline Thorpe’s long-range shot and failing to recover quickly enough to retrieve it Stephanie Roche was the only player to react, calmly placing into the corner.
It took Peamount 19 more minutes before they added to their advantage but once they did the floodgates opened.
Left-full Grace Murray’s corner was headed away from goal but only as far as Lawlor who chipped past the cluster of bodies into the far corner.
Two minutes later Budden failed to punch far enough from goal after Laura Lynch headed the ball back to her and Louise Quinn was on hand to lob it back over her head into an empty net.
Roche’s side-volley from the edge of the area made it 5-1 on 80 minutes and Quinn scored her second eight minutes later heading from six yards to the roof of the net following Grace Murray’s free-kick.
Denise O’Sullivan scored a late consolation courtesy of a powerful header, the captain meeting Lauren Murphy’s corner with venom however it merely added gloss to the final scoreline.
Cork Women’s FC: Amanda Budden, Amy McCarthy, Mary Barrett, Marie Curtin, Emma Farmer, Sylvia Gee, Lynsey McKey, Claudia Hudner, Valerie Mulcahy, Denise O’Sullivan (capt), Katie McCarthy.
Subs: Lauren Murphy for McCarthy (61), Laura Lynch for Gee (77), Susan Donovan for Mulcahy (84).
Peamount United: Linda Meehan, Stacey McGlone, Grace Murray, Karen Duggan, Susan Byrne, Caroline Thorpe, Ruth Comerford, Louise Quinn (capt), Wendy McGlone, Stephanie Roche, Sara Lawlor.
Subs: Jenny Critchley for Comerford (36), Claire Kinsella for Lawlor (83), Emma Donohue for Byrne (83).
Referee: Aidan O’Regan (Cork).
Peter McNamara is a freelance sports journalist that works predominately for the Evening Echo in Cork covering mostly soccer and GAA at all levels. Peter writes extensively on the topics of Gaelic football and hurling for the newspaper. He is the former sports editor of local radio station 93.1 Life FM where he produced and co-presented the live Sporting Life show every Monday and Friday which stills run today. As well as that, Peter has worked as a sub-editor for the Evening Echo and has been working in the media industry for over four years now. You can contact him via e-mail at email@example.com, on facebook or follow him on Twitter @petermcnemo07