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As soon as one stepped onto the pitch at Jackson Park, perched on the side of the Dublin mountains, one knew that conditions were going to have a large impact on the outcome of the game.  Clashes between these two top Women's National League teams have never disappointed, but today the result was largely going to come down to who could cope with the windy conditions and soft pitch.  UCD Waves won the toss, and had the advantage of playing with the wind at their backs in the first half.  
 
UCD settled into the game immediately, and managed to put themselves ahead within the first minute.  UCD's Irish international Julie-Ann Russell attacked up the right wing, before squaring the ball across and past Youths' goalkeeper Tamara Furlong where Niamh Prior was able to put the home team ahead for 1-0.
 
Wexford did not quite get a handle on the conditions until about ten minutes in.  Rianna Jarrett, who had her best performance since returning from injury, was able to drop deep to collect the ball in the middle of the pitch. However, the UCD midfield and defence did an excellent job of disrupting any service to two Youths' forwards Jarrett and O'Riordan, and largely prevented any play between the two throughout the game.  On 13 minutes, the Youths had their first attempt on goal, with Kylie Murphy managing to get a cross from the right to Jarrett's feet, but two UCD defenders ensured she could not get a shot away.
 
On 26 minutes, UCD had a huge chance to extend their lead when a superbly weighted crossfield ball found another UCD Irish international Aine O'Gorman for a one on one, but this saved impressively by Tamara Furlong.  For the remainder of the first half the two sides settled, with UCD edging the game over Wexford in terms of physicality and chances earned.  On 44 minutes, Aine O'Gorman took an excellent free kick from distance, which cannoned off the crossbar and over.
 
The first half ended 1-0 to UCD, which the visitors would probably be happy with given the extreme wind at the backs of UCD.  Wexford would have their attempt to attack in the second half, they hoped.
 
UCD goalkeeper Monica Maguirk demonstrated the difficulty when her attempted throw out to her left full back landed a good 10 yards short, falling to the feet of Rianna Jarrett.  The UCD centre halves were quick to cover the danger, and Jarrett was again prevented a chance to pull the trigger.  On 50 minutes, UCD had found their way deep into the Youths' half, and the wind was to play havoc again for Wexford.  A seemingly simple catch for Tamara Furlong was blown out of her arms dangerously across the ground in front of goal, but no UCD forward was able to scramble it across the line.
 
On 55 minutes Wexford had their first proper chance in the second half, when Kylie Murphy made an excellent solo run before smashing it just over the bar.  Just before the hour mark Wexford made their first change with Linda Douglas replacing Ruth Fahy, and Ciara Rossiter moving from the wing to her usual position at full back.  Wexford struggled to make use of their tailwind, and UCD were still doing sterling work to prevent any real play between the Youths' attackers of Frawley, Jarrett, O'Riordan, and Douglas.
 
As the second half continued it looked as though the Youths' 12 game unbeaten streak was to be broken, but one magnificent chance appeared on 83 minutes.  A short throw-in found Ciara Rossiter with some room to work with on the wing, who sent in a wicked cross which was meant with a stunning diving header from Rianna Jarrett, which levelled the sides at 1-1.  
 
A very tense last 7 minutes followed, with all the pressure coming from Wexford.  The game was to end level at 1-1, being a very fair reflection on what was a scrappy and arduous game.  Best for Wexford was Rianna Jarrett, who is starting to show some of her pre-injury talent and physical presence, but it is very difficult to pick out an individual performance from such a difficult game.  A great deal of credit must go to the entire UCD Waves team, who are showing themselves to be a force to be reckoned with in the season to come.
 
Final score: 1-1
 
Teams
Wexford Youths Women:  Tamara Furlong, Ruth Fahy (58), Jessica Gleeson, Edel Kennedy (78), Nicola Sinnott, Aisling Frawley, Emma Hansberry, Kylie Murphy, Ciara Rossiter, Rianna Jarrett, Claire O'Riordan.  
Subs:  Rebekah Cassin (78), Orlaith Conlon, Aoibhinn Webb, Linda Douglas (58), Rachel Hutchinson, Shauna Wall, Megan Whitty
 
UCD Waves: Monica Maguirk, Karen Duggan, Niamh Prior, Emily Cahill, Alison Brien, Caroline Thorpe, Julie-Ann Russell, Chloe Mustaki, Jetta Berrill, Aine O'Gorman, Orlagh Nolan
Subs: Eleanor Ryan Doyle, Susan Hackett, Catherine Cronin, Sarah Clune
 
Author: Ronan McCarthy
 
 
 
 
 
 

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