Lisburn Rangers Ladies 2-4 Cliftonville Ladies
Marissa Callaghan became Cliftonville Ladies’ second hat-trick hero in 48 hours as the Reds progressed to the Electric Ireland Irish Cup semi-finals with a 4-2 victory over Lisburn Rangers this evening.
Just two days after Rachel McConnell netted a treble in a Danske Bank Women’s Premiership defeat of Derry City Women, Northern Ireland captain Callaghan toasted three goals of her own at Stanley Park, where the visitors staved off the threat of a Cup upset to reach the last four.
Lisburn Rangers had taken an early lead when Megan Weatherall’s foul on Dickson allowed Mulholland to break the deadlock from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t long before Cliftonville were level thanks to Callaghan’s looping effort on 18 minutes.
Within 60 seconds, the Reds were in front. Having equalised from a corner, another set-piece routine provided the opening for Louise McDaniel to rifle home.
Six minutes into the second-half, Callaghan saw a free-kick come back off the crossbar with Erin Montgomery unable to steer the rebound goalward before Megan Moran headed into the side netting from a corner by Yasmin White, who came to Cliftonville’s rescue with a goal-line clearance soon later.
Rangers goalkeeper Corry made a fine save to stop McConnell putting the away side 3-1 up but there was nothing she could do to stop Callaghan from doing just that with a firm finish 15 minutes from time.
The hosts hit back immediately, however, as Reilly reduced the deficit and, in an end-to-end finale, substitute Toni-Leigh Finnegan was unfortunate to see a strike cannon against the bar.
Cliftonville were living dangerously as the clock ticked down, but Callaghan would ensure some late breathing space when she sealed her hat-trick with a close-range header.
Cliftonville: Norney, White, Davis, Moran, Weatherall, McHenry, Callaghan, McConnell, McDaniel, C McGuinness, Montgomery (Finnegan, 74 mins). Unused subs: Copeland, McKimm, Reilly, Madden.