Ireland captain McCabe involved in both goals as Arsenal virtually seal Champions League football

The Dubliner scored one and won a last-gasp penalty penalty on a big day of top-flight action across the water.

Ireland captain Katie McCabe (second from right) with her Arsenal team-mates.
Ireland captain Katie McCabe (second from right) with her Arsenal team-mates.
Image: PA

IRELAND CAPTAIN KATIE McCabe continued her incredible individual season at Arsenal with a goal this afternoon as the Gunners virtually secured Champions League football for next season.

The Dubliner was involved in both goals as her side produced a late, late show to clinch a 2-1 victory at Arsenal in the Women’s Super League [WSL], England’s top-flight.

McCabe opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a fine chip,  Megan Finnigan headed an equaliser 15 minutes from time before, in the 94th minute, McCabe was brought down and captain Kim Little calmly converted from the spot.

It was a eighth straight win for the north London club and meant they ended the day three points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United with one match left, and with a vastly superior goal difference.

Elsewhere, Manchester City crushed Birmingham 4-0 to take the WSL title race to the final day of the season, but their victory was overshadowed by a serious-looking injury to striker Chloe Kelly.

With Chelsea playing in the Champions League, where they reached the final by beating Bayern Munich, City were looking to move a point clear of Emma Hayes’ side, who have a game in hand.

Kelly scored a quick double but had to be carried off the pitch in the second half with her knee in a brace after colliding with Rebecca Holloway, earning a penalty in the process.

After a long break in play, Caroline Weir saw her spot-kick saved, but late goals from Esme Morgan and Sam Mewis added gloss to the scoreline.

Ireland’s Harriet Scott played the 90-plus for Birmingham at the heart of the defence, while team-mate Ruesha Littlejohn — who’s in hot water at the moment — did not feature.

There’s a strong Irish contingent at City; international duo Megan Campbell and Tyler Toland on the books there, though the former has suffered further injury trouble this season while the latter is on loan at Glasgow City. Alan Mahon is assistant manager to Gareth Taylor, who recently offered an update on Drogheda native Campbell.

“It’s been a big disappointment for myself not being able to work with Meg,” he said. “We had it with other players with niggling injuries.

“Meg got close and was on the bench in the Continental Cup. She’s had some real ups and downs. As it stands, she’s having a few days rest after an inflammation of her knee.

“It’s really difficult to assess when she’ll be back because of the nature of the injury but she’s worked tremendously hard.”

Meanwhile today, United needed a Yana Daniels own goal to beat bottom-of-the table Bristol City 1-0 in a fiercely-contested clash.

Jane Ross fired a shot against the post from close range in the 79th minute and, in the resulting scramble, Daniels deflected the ball into her own net.

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Fara Williams netted from the penalty spot in her final home game as Reading — with Grace Moloney in goal — beat Brighton 3-2 (Rianna Jarrett was on the bench for the Seagulls, while Megan Connolly was not involved in the matchday squad).

Both sides lined up for a guard of honour ahead of Williams’ entry at the Madejski Stadium after England’s most capped player announced she will retire at the end of the season.

Williams opened the scoring before Danielle Carter doubled the Royals’ lead. Lee Geum-min then netted a two-minute brace to level proceedings, but Natasha Harding snatched the winner after 55 minutes.

Relegation battlers Aston Villa and West Ham — home to Courtney Brosnan and Leanne Kiernan — both missed a host of chances as they played out their second goalless draw in a matter of weeks.

- with reporting from Emma Duffy

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