Wearen: “We probably knew a few weeks ago that this could be a crucial game”

By Gina Bagnulo

It was a gripping Saturday for Shelbourne at Tolka Park as Eoin Wearen’s side beat Galway United 1-0 continuing their 8 game winning streak in all competitions.

This fixture was a significant one as both sides had occupied the top two spots of the Women’s Premier Division (WPD) table since the season’s start in March.

Despite the first half being being a cagey and goalless affair, the opening minutes of the second half would be anything but ordinary.

The defining moment came 9 minutes after the restart when half-time sub Christie Gray crossed the ball for Roma McLaughlin who fired home to give Shels the lead.

The visitors pushed hard for a leveller creating multiple opportunities for themselves to score. Galway’s Julie-Ann Russell was a handful and asked questions of the Reds defence, but Shels shot stopper Amanda McQuillan was equal to the task.

The Reds held on to record a narrow but fully deserved 1-0 victory in front of a crowd of 452 people on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Tolka.

Manager of Shelbourne FC, Eoin Wearen commented on the significance of this victory against a high level of competition:

“I think Galway have been unbelievable in the first half of the season and we probably knew a few weeks ago that this could be a crucial game in terms of who comes out on top today: will they either stay first or stay second? We’re just delighted to get the win in the end and so proud of the girls for their performance today because we really had to dig in. I don’t think we were at our best in the first half. but in the second half, we really came out and showed them what we’re about so yeah, i’m delighted.”

One player who changed the course of the game was Christie Gray who was brought on to the pitch at the half-time break. Wearen revealed the tactical switch gave the Reds the impetus to push on:

“Absolutely tactical. In recent weeks Lucy O’Rourke has been phenomenal for us in that position. Christie is a completely different type of player and we just felt that there was space behind in that left channel that Christie might be able to exploit as opposed to Lucy and she did that. She made the impact in the second half that we expected and hopefully that she expected of herself as well and yeah, she was excellent in the second half.”

Roma McLaughlin, who scored the match winner beamed with pride:

“Today was definitely our biggest test. Credit to the Galway team, they were very very strong today and they made us work for it so yeah, we’re definitely delighted to get those three points today.”

“I was so happy, I think you could tell by the celebrations. It’s been a long time coming for me and that goal has meant a lot for me.”

This weekend, Shels will have to contend with Athlone Town in the All Island Cup quarter-final at Tolka Park. The midlands side who previously beat the Reds to win the WFAI Cup in November are currently third in the competition so far.

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