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Carrigaline United A dig deep in Mallow

Writes Tara Maher

Cork's Junior GE Healthcare 1st Division kicked off last Wednesday, but due to a waterlogged pitch, Carrigaline United A and Park United's opening fixture was postponed until Monday night. 

The contest ended 2-2 on the night. Aoife Hill's brace wasn't enough for the Carrigaline team, as Park scored both their goals from set pieces. Lucy O'Sullivan put on a stellar performance between the sticks, and Park had another opportunity to go ahead, but Laura O'Callaghan made a superb block on the line. 

Both teams, disappointed not to take the three points, had to shift their focus to their next game in 48 hours. 

Carrig travelled to Mallow with 12 players last night. A number of players had picked up knocks since preseason, and with little recovery time since Monday's game, many of the players were apprehensive about coming up against a full Mallow squad. 

The only word you could use to describe the opening half an hour was heavy. The ground was hard, and the grass was long. It took time for both teams to get used to the conditions. 

Mallow took the lead in the first half and netted the ball again in the opening minutes of the second half. 

A two-goal deficit didn't deter the visitor's spirits but instead was used as an incentive to score. The scoreline didn't reflect how the game was being played.

Robyn Lucey pulled one back, and Amy O'Regan levelled the game with a powerful kick from five yards out that curled the Mallow keeper. 

It was all to play for. 

Saoirse Shovlin, in goal, denied Mallow the lead on several occasions as Carrigaline searched for a winner. 

Captain Rebecca Walsh came closest, but the ball was put over the bar. 

Mallow eventually broke the deadlock when a long ball was played over Carrigaline's defence. 

It was 3-2, but Carrigaline refused to give up without a fight. 

Robyn Lucey levelled the game once again and was later denied a hat trick. Carrigaline argued the ball had gone over the line, but Referee Cian O'Mahony blew the whistle for Mallow's goal kick. 

Having come from behind twice, Carrigaline knew what they could achieve when they didn't give up. 

They continued to push for a winner, and it looked likely when O'Regan saw a break in Mallow's defence. On her approach to the goal, she was taken down in the box, and O'Mahony pointed to the spot. 

Walsh stepped up and put the ball straight down the middle, earning Carrigaline all three points.

It was an impressive performance from Carrigaline. The side has welcomed a lot of academy graduates this year. Robyn Lucey, Ruth Daunt, and Róisin Goggin, who have come up from underage, have impressed over the opening two games, and playing with experienced Walsh, O'Callaghan, and Danni Claffey, they will cause trouble in Division 1. With the majority of the team playing together for the first time on Monday, they are a promising side. 

Carrigaline United A will play Macroom FC next Wednesday. 

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