Assured win for United Women in their league opener

Jenna Slattery of Galway United celebrates with team-mate Julie-Ann Russell, right, after scoring their side's first goal, from a penalty, during the SSE Airtricity Women's Premier Division match between Athlone Town and Galway United at Athlone Town Stadium in Westmeath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Jenna Slattery of Galway United celebrates with team-mate Julie-Ann Russell, right, after scoring their side's first goal, from a penalty, during the SSE Airtricity Women's Premier Division match between Athlone Town and Galway United at Athlone Town Stadium in Westmeath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Galway United Women opened their League of Ireland campaign with an impressive 2-0 win away to Athlone Town last Saturday.

A penalty from Jenna Slattery and a header from Eve Dossen, both in the second half, were enough for United to get one over on their rivals who recently retained the President's Cup.

Julie-Ann Russell and Aislinn Meaney were to the fore of an impressive first-half display from United. They combined well in the opening seconds to create a chance that the striker shot over the crossbar.

Meaney’s pace and trickery caused the home team continued problems, and Jenna Slattery was close with a free kick in the first quarter. Despite this early pressure, United needed Jessica Berlin to bail them out at the back after a Kellie Brennan shot on target was deflected.

It was a more even contest thereafter. After the sides turned around at 0-0, Lynsey McKey caused carnage with a corner delivery, a source of plenty of joy for United last season. Athlone scrambled clear but a couple of minutes later, the deadlock was broken.

Isabella Beletic took a quick free in midfield, turning Therese Kinnevey lose. The full-back picked out the run of McKey who was upended in the box for a penalty kick. Slattery slotted to the bottom left of the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute.

Slattery was involved in the second 8 minutes later. Her deep free kick was partially cleared. Aislinn Meaney scampered to the touchline to retrieve the ball. She showed incredible ingenuity to dance through two defenders before planting her cross on the head of Eve Dossen. The United centre-half guided it confidently home.

It was enough for the perfect start to the season and Phil Trill’s team will look to add to this momentum when they host Cork City in Eamonn Deacy Park this Saturday at 5pm.

Cork had a tough opener at home to champions Peamount United, losing out 2-0. Bottom of the league last season, they nevertheless caused United some problems in their games. United had to rely on a last-gasp Slattery goal in Turner’s Cross to come away with a win. It is therefore unlikely that United will take anything for granted. They will be hopeful that a strong home backing will be there to spur them on.

The first set of fixtures threw up some interesting results with Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Wexford all failing to win. With Rovers hosting Wexford and Peamount facing Shels in Round Two, there is already an opportunity for United to make some early headway in a 22-game season.

 

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