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Noonan returns to haunt her old club with late winner

Shelbourne knock out last year’s beaten finalists Cork in the FAI Cup quarter finals.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

SAOIRSE NOONAN netted a late winner against her former club as Shelbourne progressed to the semi-finals of the FAI Cup at the expense of last year’s beaten finalists Cork City.

The Cork native slotted into an empty net 11 minutes from time as the Reds eventually got their reward following a fine performance from City keeper Abby McCarthy.

Teenager McCarthy pulled off a string of top-class saves to keep the scores level but could do nothing about Noonan’s clinical finish in the closing stages.

Republic of Ireland international Jessica Ziu had twice been denied by the post as the home side dominated at Tolka Park, while debutante Sarah Rowe went close a number of times.

Ziu, restored to the starting line-up following the departure of Emily Whelan for Birmingham City this week, hit the woodwork inside seven minutes.

The winger stabbed the ball past the advancing McCarthy but the City defence were grateful to see the ball bounce back off the post.

McCarthy then made a super double save, first pushing away Noonan’s effort before denying Alex Kavanagh at the back post.

City were restricted to efforts from distance, and Becky Cassin put one such over the bar, before Noonan was again denied by McCarty at the other end.

Noonan was foiled once again as McCarthy was again in top form to keep out her header, but City continued to offer a threat at the other end.

Sarah McKevitt might have done when Laura Shine blocked down Amanda Budden’s clearance, but she couldn’t find the target.

And Shaunagh McCarthy had a chance just a moment later as she dispossessed Jess Gargan, but she couldn’t get the ball out of her feet quickly enough to worry Budden.

Eve Mangan, who scored a stunning goal in the defeat to Galway two weeks ago, saw her effort from range well-saved by Budden after the break.

Rowe, who replaced Kavanagh at the break, forced two saves in quick succession from McCarthy, the second a world-class stop to pull the shot out of the top corner.

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Ziu then hit the post for the second time as it appeared Shels were set to endure a frustrating day in front of goal.

But they got the goal they craved 11 minutes from time as Rowe won a 50/50 with McCarthy and the loose ball sat up perfectly for Noonan to slot into an empty net.

Jessie Stapleton saw her free kick hit the roof of the net late on, while Rowe shot wide as Shels finished the game on the front foot to seal their spot in the final four.

Wexford Youths host Athlone Town at 6.30 and DLR Waves travel to Galway for the 7.30, while Treaty United host holders Peamount United tomorrow.

Shelbourne: Amanda Budden; Jess Gargan, Pearl Slattery, Jessie Stapleton, Rachel Graham; Chloe Mustaki (Leah Doyle 90+1), Ciara Grant, Noelle Murray; Jessica Ziu, Alex Kavanagh (Sarah Rowe 46), Saoirse Noonan.
Cork City: Abbie McCarthy; Leah Murphy (Lauren Walsh 77), Danielle Burke, Ciara McNamara, Nathalie O’Brien (Kelly Leahy 89); Eve Mangan, Becky Cassin (Lauren Singleton 89), Christina Dring; Sarah McKevitt, Shaunagh McCarthy, Laura Shine.

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