Ruddy the match-winner in Peamount’s victory over Athlone
TIEGAN Ruddy’s final-quarter goal made all the difference at Lissywollen last night as Peamount United came from behind to earn a 2-1 triumph over Athlone Town in the Women’s National League.
Though there was an expectation that the Newcastle club were going to be too strong for the Midlanders, this was one of their toughest encounters to date in this year’s competition.
Given James O’Callaghan’s side had comfortably defeated perennial title challengers Wexford Youths on a score line of 4-0 at Greenogue on April 1, Athlone were rank outsiders to prevail in this game.
Yet the hosts – who occupied seventh spot in the table in advance of this contest – were in the ascendancy for large stretches of the opening period and appeared on course for a share of the spoils until Ruddy intervened later on.
Despite having to forfeit the three points they had originally garnered against Sligo Rovers on the opening day of the season, the Peas remain joint top in the WNL alongside defending champions Shelbourne.
There was just 12 minutes gone on the clock in the Westmeath venue when Athlone took a shock lead – Roisín Molloy firing home from close-range after Niamh Reid-Burke couldn’t hold an initial effort by Dana Scheriff.
This was an early set-back for Peamount, but as was fully anticipated, they started to grow into the contest as it wore on.
Dora Gorman and Stephanie Roche both went close for the visitors before an equaliser finally materialised just shy of the interval.
When the ball broke kindly into her path, Sadhbh Doyle made no mistake with a smooth finish that cancelled out their deficit.
Peamount were aiming to push on from this point, but Athlone still had plenty to offer in an attacking sense.
Scheriff had an excellent opportunity to edge the hosts back in front, only for experienced custodian Reid-Burke to produce an impressive save in the end.
Republic of Ireland international Aine O’Gorman subsequently rattled the Athlone post ahead of Ruddy producing the decisive moment of the tie on 77 minutes.
On the occasion of her birthday, the Maynooth University student superbly unleashed a free kick to the back of the opposition net.
Alannah McEvoy, O’Gorman and Doyle were all close to claiming a third in the closing moments, but Ruddy’s goal was enough to give them maximum points.