Shelbourne Ladies secure opening draw in UEFA Women’s Champions League
Shelbourne Ladies 0-0 Medyk Konin
It was a good start to the UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifying round for Shelbourne Ladies as they held on to secure a point in Group 4 against strong Polish opponents Medyk Konin.
The Continental Tyres Women’s National League champions started with a strong line-up in a game played in Seaview in Belfast as they looked to make the best possible start to a round of qualifying that consists of three games in a week.
Mark Leavy’s team had Seana Cooke sent off and saw Kystyna Sikora blast a penalty kick over the crossbar late on, but they had done enough by that stage to earn their point. And this result could stand to them as they still have to play PK-35 Vantaa of Finland and tournament hosts Linfield.
Only the group winners will advance to the knock-out stages of the Champions League, but Shels showed that they are up for being in that mix. With the talented Roma McLaughlin paired alongside the experienced duo of Pearl Slattery and Rachel Graham in midfield, the Dublin outfit were strong throughout.
American ace Gloria Douglas used her pace to stretch the opposition and also set up McLaughlin for a chance that looked to be on its way in before goalkeeper Emily Dolan palmed it away.
The introduction of Alex Kavanagh and Rebecca Creagh (pictured above) added more bite to Shels’ play, although they suffered a set-back when Cooke was shown a straight red card for a handball.
Still, Shels would not be knocked down and they stood firm to earn an opening point.
Shelbourne Ladies: McQuillan; Cooke, Finn, Ruddy, Prior; Slattery, Graham (Craven 68), McLaughlin; Killeen, Kiernan (Kavanagh 45), Douglas (Creagh 82).
Medyk Konin: Dolan; Dudok, Kaletka (Balcerazk 64), Slavchenka, Chudzik; Gawroriska (Kindzierski 45), Pakulska, Casidee, Ficzay; Kostova, Sikora.
Referee: Sofia Karagiorgia (Cyprus).