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With league leaders Galway losing twice in a row to UCD Waves, Wexford Youths made the trip to Cork knowing that a win would move them into a fantastic position to take control of the Women's National League. Wexford had no less than four matches in hand going into this game, and were quite confident of a win. Cork have had major struggles since joining the league, failing to register a single league win in both the 2014-15 or 2013-14 seasons. This year, Cork have won 4 of their 11 matches, and are showing some signs of promise.

 

Wexford Youths made two changes to the team that started the abandoned match away to Shelbourne, with Orlaith Conlon replacing Lauren Dwyer at full back and Rachel Hutchinson being given a position just behind Claire O'Riordan, possibly an experimental move ahead of the all important WNL Shield Final on Wednesday night.

 

Wexford started very brightly and their first good chance came in the second minute. Claire O'Riordan linked up well with Linda Douglas with a slick back-heel pass, but Douglas' effort went just wide of the post. Conditions were tough in the very exposed Bishopstown stadium, and this was to have a major effect on the game in the 6th minute. Edel Kennedy made a speculative shot from a fair distance out, which was caught by the wind and kept out of Cork goalkeeper Trish Fennelly's hands. It slipped just under the cross for 1-0 to Wexford, Edel Kennedy the first goalscorer.

 

A sustained period of pressure by Cork City followed, and an equalizer at times looked likely. Cork's Evelyn Daly forced an excellent save from Tamara Furlong on the half hour mark, but Wexford's defence held strong. Cork's confidence took a serious knock at 37 minutes, as Wexford doubled their lead somewhat against the run of play. Orlaith Conlon made an excellent interception at left back, and found Rachel Hutchinson in space in the Cork half. Hutchinson played a superb through ball to Claire O'Riordan for a one-on-one with Trish Fennelly. Fennelly made a good stop for the first shot, but O'Riordan pounced on the rebound and stuck it away for 2-0 to Wexford, with the game looking safely in the visitors' hands at half time.

 

Heavy rain made conditions even worse in the second half, with few chances appearing for either sides early on. Wexford made their first change at around 60 minutes, with Becky Cassin coming on for Rachel Hutchinson. 5 minutes later, Claire O'Riordan got a chance for her second goal of the game, with another one-on-one with Trish Fennelly. On this occasion, Fennelly blocked the shot well to keep the lead at just two.

 

Wexford put the game beyond any doubt at approximately 70 minutes. An Emma Hansberry corner was not dealt with by the Cork defence, and Edel Kennedy was given a free shot at the back post to make the score 3-0 to the visitors. Wexford looked quite comfortable for the remainder of the game, with Edel Kennedy completing her hat-trick shortly afterwards. Kennedy made yet another speculative shot from about 20 yards out, with the Cork goalkeeper Trish Fennelly getting a strong hand to the ball. However there was simply too much power on the shot, and it trickled over the line for 4-0 to Wexford, hat-trick for Kennedy. There were two more substitutions for Wexford before the end, Shaunna Wall making a very impressive appearance on the left wing in place of Emma Hansberry, and Ruth Fahy made a brief appearance in place of Kylie Murphy. Will Doyle's side will be pleased to have gotten through the game with no new injury concerns and look strong going into Wednesday's WNL Shield Final.

 

After the game, Edel Kennedy had this to say about her game: "Just delighted to get the win today. Like always it was a very tough physical game. Cork have improved immensely and teams don't get it easy when they travel down there. So happy to get another three points on the table.”

 

“We are all looking forward to Wednesday. Should be an exciting game like always. Its always great to be involved in finals so hopefully we can come out victorious."

 

Teams

 

Wexford Youths: Tamara Furlong; Nicola Sinnott, Edel Kennedy, Jess Gleeson, Orlaith Conlon; Linda Douglas, Kylie Murphy (Ruth Fahy), Emma Hansberry (Shaunna Wall), Aisling Frawley; Rachel Hutchinson (Becky Cassin), Claire O'Riordan

 

Substitutes not used: Lauren Dwyer, Amy Walsh

 

Cork City W.F.C: Trish Fennelly; Nathalie O'Brien, Lauren Murphy, (Lauren Homan) Ciara McNamara, Zoe Murphy; Evelyn Daly, Saoirse Noonan (Danielle Burke), Barbara O'Connell (Tara O'Gorman), Megan Kelleher, Ciara Desmond; Maggie Duncliffe

 

Substitutes not used– Angie Carry, Lorna O'Connell, Kate O’Donovan, Amy O’Reilly,

CURRENT STANDINGS

League of Ireland First Division

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6 Longford 28 8 37
7 Wexford FC 28 -25 19
8 Athlone Town 28 -50 17

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Under 19 - Southern Division

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8 Cabinteely 18 -14 18
9 Wexford FC 18 -15 16
10 Bray Wanderers 18 -24 10

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8 Kerry League 20 -20 22
9 Wexford FC 20 -17 19
10 UCD 20 -20 15

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Under 15 - Group 3

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1 Waterford 10 14 22
2 Wexford FC 10 17 20
3 Limerick 10 9 18

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Women's National League

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2 Peamount Utd 18 24 38
3 Shelbourne LFC 18 35 31

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