Commanding Brosnan helps keep United at bay

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper gets an opportunity to show her class as Everton grind out a valuable point

Until Sunday, Courtney Brosnan had been largely confined to the occasional cup appearance for her club, not playing a league game for Everton since October, the same month she had the night of her life in Glasgow with that penalty save that nudged the Republic of Ireland in the direction of World Cup qualification.

It has, then, been a frustrating spell for the 27-year-old on the club front, Emily Ramsey, Everton’s loanee from Manchester United the preferred choice for the goalkeeping slot.

Ramsey, though, was ineligible for Sunday’s meeting with United, her parent club, so Brosnan got to start just her sixth Super League game of the season. And she took her chance in style, flawless and commanding in a 0-0 draw with United, who had gone in to the game as the league leaders.

There were mixed fortunes, though, for her Republic of Ireland understudies, Megan Walsh keeping her Brighton place for their impressive 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, holding off the challenge of new signing Lydia Williams, the Australian international.


But Grace Moloney was back on the bench for Reading for their 2-0 defeat by Liverpool, a week after her FA Cup shoot-out heroics against Leicester, Northern Ireland’s Jacqui Burns regaining her spot.

In better news, Megan Connolly played the full 90 minutes for Brighton, the midfielder now back to full fitness after sustaining fractured ribs and a bruised kidney against Finland back in September.

But neither Niamh Fahey nor Diane Caldwell, cornerstones of the Irish defence, featured in the game, their clubs yet to provide news of any potential injury issues.

Another Irish defender had a good day of it, Megan Campbell’s other-worldly thrown-ins helping decide the game for Liverpool, one of them causing sufficient panic in the Reading defence to result in her side’s second goal.

Come Sunday evening, Irish captain Katie McCabe found herself left on the bench once more for Arsenal’s game against West Ham, Australian Steph Catley preferred to her again in the left-back slot. At this rate, she might be willing Chelsea to resubmit that “substantial” transfer window bid come summer.

McCabe replaced Catley in the 68th minute, but West Ham held out for a scoreless draw, a result that leaves Arsenal five points behind leaders Chelsea, but with a game in hand.

In the Championship, there was a debut for Kyra Carusa, a transfer window signing from Danish champions HB Køge, for London City Lionesses in their 3-1 win over Sunderland, Lily Agg marking her 50th appearance for the club with a goal in a victory that keeps them top of the table.

Birmingham City stayed in touch, though, their 4-0 win away to Lewes keeping them just five points adrift of London, Lucy Quinn among their scorers when she came on in the second half, Louise Quinn, Jamie Finn and Harriet Scott all starting for Birmingham.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times