18th March, 2023
The first home game for DLR Waves kicked off at 4 pm at the UCD Bowl.
DLR Waves hosted Cork City FC in the League of Ireland Women’s first game at the UCD Bowl. The team starting line up for both teams had only one change each from last week.
DLR Waves had played really well in their first game of the league. The away game at Greenogue vs Peamount United was decided by a solitary at the 87th minute goal from the home team. Cork City FC played their second game of the league last week against Galway United and the storyline was very similar. Cork City lost on a 90th minute goal scored by Galway United.
DLR Waves and Cork City FC were looking for their first Win of the season. The home team , DLR Waves, had a dream start. A fantastic goal scored in the 3rd minute of the game by Joy Ralph from almost 25-30 yards. Cork City FC were playing from the back. The ball was carried forward by their player from outside the box as there was space in the middle. However the DLR Waves midfielder Neema Nyangasi made a great run from the left wing to intercept and win the ball in the final third. The ball fell perfectly on to the path of Joy Ralph. The striker took one touch , looked up and struck the ball from way outside the box. The ball went just over the stretched hands of the goal keeper to find the back of the net. It was indeed joy all around for the home team for taking an early lead.
The home team did not have to wait much to add to their tally. The second goal was scored from a corner in the 9th minute of the game.
Cork City FC did not lose heart and created few chances in the first half. The away team attacked from the wings and stretched the DLR Waves defense. There were 2-3 shots on target. In one of the attacks from the left wing, the Cork City FC player was quick to get past her marker and send in a great ball into the box. The attacking players of Cork City tried to get their head on to the ball, however it went teasing past all the players. Around the 35th minute, the captain of Cork City FC , Mangan, made a brilliant run through the middle of the pitch dribbling past 2-3 players and pulled a shot from the top of the box. The DLR Waves goalkeeper Bandana was there to prevent it from hitting the net.
DLR Waves having taken a 2 goal lead had settled in to a defensive formation and looking for opportunities on the counter attack. Cork City FC made their first changes in the 40th minute that saw their no. 23, Finana Bradley, and no. 28, Chloe Athkinson, coming on to make an impact. The score line read 2-0 to the home team at the end of the first half.
The second half saw end to end game played by both the teams. Cork City FC pressed high and started winning the ball high up in their final third. DLR Waves defense and goal keeper had a tough time handling the pressure. The home team also were playing a high teampo game. They used the width of the pitch and tried to open up Cork City defense. It was a physical battle in the midfield with the players from both sides fighting to win the ball and control the game. In the 76th minutes, the home team won a free kick. It was almost closer to the place from where Neema had won the ball which helped them score the first goal of the game. The defender , No. 17 O.Griffin, stepped up to take the resulting free kick. It was a great loopy ball into the box . Neema made a well timed brilliant run into the box and managed to get to the ball before the Cork City goalkeeper. The DLR Waves no.13 did make it count by finding the back of the net. It was 3-0.
On the other end of the pitch, Cork City players were trying their best to score. The wing backs pushed high, the midfielders and strikers played a higher line. There were 4-5 great chances inside the box. However some good defending and goal keeping kept them away from scoring. It looked like the away team almost scored in the 80th minute. The ball was won by the Cork City players near the centre and a perfect through ball split open the defense. The no. 23 Fiana Bradley made a great run to receive the ball inside the box. She unleashed a shot that could have found the back of the net. But a timely perfect sliding block by DLR Waves defender , Brophy, denied them.
The closing minutes of the game saw 3 back to back corners for the visiting team. The chances could not be converted by them. The final whistle was blown and the score read 3-0. A great start at the home for DLR Waves. Cork City FC will look for their first win in the upcoming game. Overall it was a good team game from both sides. DLR Waves defended well and made their chances count. Cork City players also put up a good fight however need to start scoring goals and hopefully that will happen in the upcoming game.
The post game saw the players signing autographs and clicking photos with the young supporters. The support is key for the players and hope to see all the seats in the stadium full for the upcoming games.
I was fortunate to meet Vera Pauw at the UCD Bowl. The Ireland WNT national coach was in attendance to watch the second half of the game. In a short interaction with the her, we discussed about the preparations for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup and the friendly matches coming up.
Talking about the DLR Waves vs Cork City FC game, Vera Pauw said “It is great to see the competitiveness. Lot of young players, promising talent and good to see them play.”
It was great to listen to the national coach telling the young player : “Don’t worry about the score, keep doing what you are doing”. Definitely a huge confidence booster for the young players.
I could see great potential in the players and the league is providing a fantastic platform for the players to showcase their talent.
I will look forward to attending and covering more League of Ireland Women’s game. The season has just started and hope to see another great nail biting finish to the league this year as well.