Peamount United were cruelly knocked out of the UEFA Women’s Champions League as they lost 6-5 on penalties to Glasgow City after holding them scoreless all the way to a shoot-out.
On a night when they showed tremendous spirit, Peamount missed out on a bit of luck at the very last moment when Lauryn O’Callaghan’s spot-kick was saved by Glasgow keeper Lee Alexander.
It was a cruel blow for the Women’s National League champions who will undoubtedly feel they deserved more from the tie. The Dublin outfit held their own against a Glasgow side who are 13-in-a-row Scottish champions and made it all the way to the quarter-finals last year.
The praise will mean nothing to the Peas who will be devastated over the result but will have the chance to turn their attention to a League defence and Sunday’s FAI Women’s Senior Cup Semi-Final against Wexford Youths.
In what is their first involvement in this competition since 2011/2012 season, manager James O’Callaghan selected a strong line-up but gave a surprise start to Offaly teenager Becky Watkins up front.
The game-plan of shutting Glasgow down in midfield and moving the ball forward quickly in transition play worked well. In fact, for large parts of the game it was Peamount who looked the stronger of the two sides. There were parts of the game where the Dublin side had to dig deep and put their bodies on the line and they did so spectacularly. On the few occasions that Glasgow did threaten, Reid-Burke in goal was outstanding and assured behind a resolute defence.
Glasgow introduced Republic of Ireland international Tyler Toland for the start of the second half, while Clare Shine did not feature for a team that has won the Scottish Women’s Premier League 14 times.
It was Peamount who started the better of the two sides with Aine O’Gorman picking out Alannah McEvoy, but the Wicklow duo could not provide a goal as McEvoy’s header lacked the necessary power.
O’Gorman, who has surprisingly yet to score in this competition, tried her luck with a shot on 25 minutes but it was saved by Scotland international goalkeeper Alexander.
Glasgow struggled to find any sort of momentum early on but they are the type of team who can score goals from nothing and striker Kirsty Howat should have done better with a header on 33 minutes.
After the interval Peamount came out on the front foot with Duggan missing the target and then O’Gorman went close with a cheeky free-kick that tried to catch Alexander out at her near post.
Lucy McCartan also unleashed a shot from distance, but Glasgow had the best chance when substitute Mairead Fulton fired at goal from close range only to be denied by a great save by Niamh Reid-Burke.
With time ticking down, Reid-Burke was on full alert again to save a stinging effort from Howat and that forced the game into extra-time.
Both teams had chances in that period, but Reid-Burke was not going to let anyone spoil her clean sheet. And so it went to a penalty shoot-out where O’Gorman missed and then Reid-Burke saved well to stop Joanne Love. But O’Callaghan then saw her effort saved as the kicks entered into sudden death.
Peamount can take huge heart from their performance, but it just wasn’t to be on this night.
Glasgow City: Alexander; McLauchlan, Ross, Love, Wyne; Kerr (Foley 95), Wojcik (Toland 46), Crichton, Wade (Fulton 71); Colvill, Howat.
Peamount United: Reid-Burke; O’Callaghan, Farrelly, Walsh, Beirne (Doyle 83); O’Gorman, Duggan, McCartan, McEvoy; Ryan-Doyle; Watkins (Smyth-Lynch 73).
Referee: Sabina Bolic (Croatia).
Glasgow City: Ross, Howat, Crichton, Fulton, Love (saved), McLauchlan, Wyne
Peamount United: Smyth-Lynch, McEvoy, O’Gorman (saved), Ryan-Doyle, Duggan, Walsh, O’Callaghan (saved)