Good times keep rolling in at Sligo Rovers, with Bit O’Reid dealing a major blow to beat league leader Shelbourne 3-2 after going 2-0 down in the first 18 minutes.
The game looked dead and buried when the Dubliners dominated the opening round, but the Rovers kept on rising and pulled off a giant skull.
It was a huge occasion at Showgrounds to broadcast the game live on TG4 – the first from Steve Feeney.
Rovers boss named Amy Boyle-Carr in the starting 11 for the first time since being signed by the former Republic of Ireland for the club during the week.
Alana Doherty missed her spot, while Emma Hansberry was only fit enough for the bench.
For the visitors, new signing World Cup winner Heather O’Reilly started the game on the bench after being incredibly involved in Noel King’s side during the week.
The American came out of retirement to sign for the league champion as she wants to add Champions League football to her CV.
The top of the league, the Shales, were always going to be the heavy favorites for this tie given their league form.
But Bit O’Reid closely watched them in their first league meeting, with a late winner from Kiva Keenan denying Rovers a valuable point at Tolca Park in April.
With the game live on TV, Rovers were eager to put on a show and this time with an incredible buzz about the club, a huge crowd turned up to cheer for Rovers.
But Rovers was the one who started well, and Emma Doherty came close with two minutes on the clock when she was released by Pixie O’Hara, but saw an offside by the linesman.
Megan Smyth-Lynch pulled her shot wide before Shauna Fox’s header was over the bar as the visitors began to take control.
It was one-way traffic, and the Dubliners took the lead in 12 minutes.
Smith-Lynch’s corner was nodded to Mahone with precision by Captain Pearl Slattery, making it 1-0.
Again, Shales dominated goal after goal, and he doubled his lead in 18 minutes.
Awarded a questionable free-kick on the edge of the box, and a confident Alex Kavanagh sent it off Mahone’s hands into Rovers’ goals, the Mayo native certainly felt he should have done better.
Feeney was forced to make a change at 34 minutes when Ruth Monaghan was forced out, with Sarah Kiernan coming in her place.
It appeared that Shales would enter the break with a 2-0 lead, and comfortably so, until injury time Rovers pulled one back.
Rovers was looking delighted with the ball behind the Shells defence, and was likely to need to close the Shells defense to score a goal.
A length ball from Helen Monghan took a strange bounce in the shells half and made its way to McGuinness, who chased it down and released the ball as Amanda Budden left her line to defend the shot.
You could hear a pin drop at The Showgrounds as everyone waited to see if the shot was in, and the celebration was loud as the ball hit the far post to cut the deficit in half at half-time. Was crawling
Rovers started the second half brilliantly, and were back on level terms at 55 minutes. Amy Boyle Carr won the ball in midfield and picked up a run from Doherty, who needed no invitation to pursue the ball.
The 18-year-old chose his spot and confidently overtook Budden to get Rovers back in the game.
Noel King turned his pack at the hour mark, but for his shock, Bit O’Reid advanced only seconds after making three changes.
The clearance from Lauren Boles’ defense passed to Doherty, who beat three defenders shooting into the net, surprising Shelbourne with 30 minutes left.
They may be new to the league, but this Rovers side is full of confidence, and it was evident on 63 minutes when Pixie O’Hara led her way with great footwork, slamming opponents right, left and center before shooting. shook it. His effort took a smack off the crossbar, unfortunately for Feeney’s side.
Sligo Rovers: Amy Mahone, Carey O’Hara (Jessica Casey, 73), Orna O’Dowd, Ruth Monaghan (Sarah Kiernan, 34), Helen Monaghan, Leah Kelly, Lauren Boles, Amy Boyle-Carr, Paula McGrory (Katie Mealy) ) , 94), Gemma McGuinness (Emma Hansberry, 73), Emma Doherty (Fiona Doherty, 85).
Shelbourne: Amanda Budden, Jess Gargan, Shauna Fox, Pearl Slattery, Leah Doyle (Lia O’Leary, 85), Keiva Keenan (Heather O’Reilly, 60), Rachel Graham, Emma Starr (Izzy Glennon, 78), Alex Kavanagh (Noel Murray, 60), Megan Smith-Lynch (Abby Larkin, 60), Jesse Stapleton.
Referee: Declan Toland.