Cashel Town Ladies FC had a historic victory in their first ever competitive game against Nenagh Celtic in the Tipperary Ladies Shield preliminary round, last Sunday in Nenagh. Despite working hard all over the winter, the ladies travelled away with a little trepidation after a few recent setbacks, but through sheer hard work, and no little skill came out the winners by the odd goal in five in what was a pulsating game. Not only did they win, but they did it the hard way, coming from behind twice, to score the winning goal in the dying minutes of injury time.
The ladies started the game well and seemed up to their task, having a couple of half chances in the opening minutes, but were rocked back on their heels when the Nenagh team scored from what was their first foray into the Cashel half. A speculative cross from the right wing was turned into her own net by Cashel captain Mary Barron, giving the Cashel keeper no chance of keeping the team’s level. This could have been devastating for Cashel, but they hit back immediately, and within five minutes were level through a fluid passing movement from left to right, which was expertly finished by Cashel’s Ashleigh O’Brien into the bottom corner of the Nenagh goal. The rest of the half passed with Cashel having the better of the play, but through bad luck and dogged defending, Cashel were unable to grab the lead their hard work deserved.
In the second half, Nenagh started by throwing all the had at the Cashel girls, but more often than not, the Cashel back four repelled all the Nenagh attacks with ease. Cashel then seemed to begin to take hold of the game again, and began to have the better of the play, and it seemed only a matter time before they would get their reward. However, disaster struck for a second time, when a high lobbing ball deceived Kelly Anne Fennel in the Cashel goal, and Nenagh retook the lead with twenty minutes left on the clock. A blow like this could have knocked the Cashel girls, but they showed over the rest of the game, why they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
The introduction of substitutes Brigid Peters, Siobhan Griffin and Anne Marie Fitzgerald gave Cashel a new impetus, and when Anne Marie and Nicole White began to run directly at the Nenagh defence, they caused problems. All this work was rewarded, when Cashel forward Aoife O’Halloran chased after a well-played through ball and rounded the Nenagh keeper to slot home the equaliser, for her second goal in three games.
With extra time looming, the Cashel girls decided to go for the kill, and scored deep into injury time, when midfielder Aoife O’Gorman beat three players and coolly slotted home, sparking wild celebrations on the touchline from the vocal Cashel travelling support. Every one of the girls played a huge part in this victory, and it was hugely deserved. They will now play the next round at home in Palmershill this weekend, and would love to see a crowd cheering them on as they continue their bid for Shield glory.