Irish Eye
'Very talented' Noonan bags brilliant brace to become Championship's top scorer
There was no shortage of Irish interest away from the WNL and WSL this weekend.

durham-v-blackburn-rovers Richard Callis Saoirse Noonan scoring her second goal yesterday. Richard Callis

SAOIRSE NOONAN BAGGED a brilliant brace for Durham yesterday, marking herself out as the FA Women’s Championship’s leading goal-scorer with three goals in three games.

The Republic of Ireland international’s double was key as her new side earned their first win of the campaign, beating Blackburn Rovers 3-1.

Noonan curled in a stunning effort from outside the box to open the scoring with 33 minutes on the clock, and ultimately closed it on 64. Either side of the break, Northern Ireland international Sarah Robson (née McFadden) doubled Durham’s lead before Saffron Jordan pulled one back for Blackburn.

But it was Noonan who stole the show and sealed all three points for Durham, the north-easterners holding Irish goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon in reserve.

The former Cork City and Shelbourne star previously scored 10 minutes into her Championship debut, though has been on the Ireland fringes of late.

With one goal in three caps, Vera Pauw provided an update on her status in her last media briefing. The 23-year-old was included in the initial squad but not involved in either of the matchday squads against Finland and Slovakia, though the Irish manager insists she is “very close” to a breakthrough.

“We have discussed that and that is something between us,” Pauw said. “That is also something that we would like to discuss at her club. I plan to travel there and to discuss it, so that will stay between us.

But the best players play. The players that can make it at that level play and she is very close. She is very talented but we keep her with the squad because we have to believe that she can break through.

“She will get fitter and fitter and fitter and better and better and better [at Durham] and of course, that improves her chances.”

Elsewhere in the Championship yesterday, Lily Agg was sent-off late on in London City Lionesses 0-0 draw with Lewes. The Ireland midfielder was shown a second yellow card in the 85th minute, while Hayley Nolan played the full game for London City. Rianna Jarrett was absent from the squad as she continue her latest injury comeback. Emily Kraft lined out for Lewes.

Screen Shot 2022-09-19 at 12.17.46 Championship / Wikipedia. Championship / Wikipedia. / Wikipedia.

Chloe Mustaki helped Bristol City to a 1-0 win over Sunderland, three wins from three seeing them sit top of the table.

There was huge disappointment for Irish-heavy Birmingham. The Blues, aiming to bounce straight back up to the Women’s Super League [WSL], fell to a 3-0 defeat at Charlton, Mustaki’s former club. Louise Quinn, Jamie Finn and Harriet Scott all played the full game, while Eleanor Ryan Doyle was introduced as a substitute. Lucy Quinn was not involved. 

In the National Women’s Soccer League [NWSL] in the US over the weekend, Denise O’Sullivan was named Player of the Match but her North Carolina Courage side fell to a 2-1 defeat to OL Reign.

An own goal put them in the lead early on but goals from USA superstars Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe ultimately sealed the win for OL Reign.

“Great to have such a good turnout at the game last night. It would be even better if it happened every week instead of it happening when there is big stars in town from the other team,” O’Sullivan wrote on Twitter afterwards.

“But again Thank you to our fans for showing up , we appreciate it. We will bounce back.”

In Germany, Amber Barrett interestingly started at right-back as her new side Turbine Potstdam drew 1-1 with Werder Bremen in their Frauen-Bundesliga opener.

The Donegal striker scored a goal and provided an assist from the bench in cup action last week, but lined out in a different position yesterday and saw yellow as she got to grips defensively.

Kyra Carusa was among the goals and captained her HB Hoge side to a 5-1 win over Kolding IF in Denmark, the US-born Ireland striker recently returning from a hip injury.

In the only Scottish Women’s Premier League [SWPL] game of the weekend, Claire O’Riordan featured off the bench as Celtic ran out 6-0 winners against Hamilton Academical to move level with Rangers and Glasgow City at the top of the table.

And Niamh Farrelly started Parma’s 2-1 away defeat to Fiorentina in the Serie A Femminile, while Tyler Toland was an unused sub as Levante enjoyed a late 3-2 win over Alhama in the women’s La Liga.

There was plenty Irish interest through the opening weekend of the WSL, with 12 Girls In Green internationals on the books of seven clubs.

Follow the links to read reports from Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s games, while there’s aWomen’s National League [WNL] round-up here.

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