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Wexford Youths Women began their UEFA Champions League qualifier adventure yesterday when they took on Dutch Champions Ajax at the Seaview Stadium in Belfast. One of the most iconic clubs in world football, the professional full time Eredivisie side are top seeds and strong favourites in the group and eventually won out 4-1 on the day, but not before Youths gave them a hell of a shock.

Tom Elmes named two changes to the side that won in Kilkenny six days ago, Emma Hansberry and Edel Kennedy returning in midfield for one of the biggest days in Youths Women short history. 

In a first half of few chances, Youths Emma Hansberry attempted an audacious chip from just inside the Ajax half after 15 minutes which almost caught the Ajax keeper Marieke Ubachs out while Nicola Sinnott delivered a super cross from the wing which almost found Rianna Jarrett, the Dutch net minder quick off her line to intercept. Wexford frustrated Ajax for large parts of the first 45, although the Dutch had more possession, they found it difficult to create clear cut chances, Ciamh Dollard diving to smother a Soraya Verhoeve effort on 25 minutes, their best moment.

Within two minutes of the restart Wexford were in dreamland, Hansberry with the perfect delivery from a free kick on the wing, Jarrett rising superbly and powering a bullet header into the net to give the Youths the lead. A huge shock now on the cards, it was vital that having taken the lead, for the next while Youths keep things tight at the back like they had all game so far to frustrate Ajax, so it was disappointing to concede a pretty flukey equalizer a minute later. From an Ajax corner the ball came of Kay-Lee de Sanders hip without her knowing too much about it and into the net to restore parity.

Four minutes after that Ellen Jansen put Ajax into the lead for the first time, heading in an excellent Verhoeve cross and all of a sudden the game had turned. As Youths pressed on for an equalizer, a third goal arrived on 67 minutes when Verhoeve again delivered a perfect delivery form the right for Lois Oudemast who finished from close range. Wexford continued to fight on to get back into the game, Hansberry almost finding Katrina Parrock with another super free kick, Rianna Jarrett forcing the keeper into a save from 30 yards out and Jarrett again nodding over from a corner before Liza Van Der Most got a fourth for Ajax with what looked like a mishit cross to give the scoreline a somewhat flattering look.

Next up for Youths is a must win game on Friday as they take on Icelandic Champions Thor KA who looked impressive in their 2-0 win over Linfield Ladies in their opening game, realistically Youths needing to win both their remaining games to stand a chance of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage.

Wexford Youths Women : Ciamh Dollard, Nicola Sinnott, Orlaith Conlon, Lauren Dwyer, Doireann Fahey, Kylie Murphy (c)(Orla Casey 70), Edel Kennedy, Emma Hansberry, Aisling Frawley (McKenna Davidson 80), Katrina Parrock (Becky Conroy 61) and Rianna Jarrett.  Subs Not Used: Sophie Lenehan, Ciara Delaney, Aoife Slattery and Becky Cassin.

Ajax : Marieke Ubachs, Liza Van der Most, Kika van Es, Martha Munsterman, Lois Oudemast (Lina Salmi 70), Ellen Jansen, Kelly Zaeman, Soraya Verhoeve (Kirsten Van der Westeringh 82), Vanity Lewerissa (Eshly Bakker 66), Line Roddik and Kay-Lee de Sanders.  Subs Not Used: Aukje Van Seijst, Linda Bakker, Vita Van der Linden and Mikita Tromp.

Check out the highlights below:



League of Ireland First Division

    Pld +/- Pts
8 Galway United 17 -5 13
9 Athlone Town 17 -20 12
10 Wexford FC 17 -20 9

Full table


Women's National League

    Pld +/- Pts
1 Peamount United 12 44 36
2 Wexford Youths Women 12 27 28
3 Shelbourne FC 11 42 26

Full table


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