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Last Sunday the Wexford Youths Women added a - count 'em - tenth piece of silverware to the cabinet in 5 years, since first picking up the then Bus Eireann League Cup in the 2013-14 season.  The Youths Women have been an unparalleled force in Irish football since then.  The squad over the years has shown incredible determination to succeed year on year, and categorically proved at the biggest stage of all that their hunger for success will never be satisfied.


Despite this, there can be little argument that the Youths Women went into last Sunday as underdogs.  You certainly didn't hear any argument from the players.  Speaking to Captain Kylie Murphy before the game she was clear that she felt no expectation, and that the pressure was all on the Peas to complete their double.  The manager Tom Elmes was equally comfortable with the underdog role.  Elmes recognised that this was the role that Youths had lived and relished since day one, truth be told.  He pointed to the poll on a popular Facebook page, which had a whopping 78% of fans backing Peas for the cup final.  The bookies, the hard nosed statisticians, also heavily favoured Peamount to win out.


However, we then come to the support and faith of the Wexford Youths Women fans, family and friends.  The belief in and love for the team was nothing short of extraordinary.  I can safely say that every single one of us was overwhelmed by the messages of support we received.  It was a hugely touching moment to have viewed them all together on the night before the game, and we are immensely grateful for each message we received in the weeks before the big match.



To the game itself.  Predictions varied from person to person.  Some had rightly called it to be a goalfest, I myself had predicted a very tight and close game.  Extra time a definite maybe.  My prediction was proved completely bogus in short order, as Wexford were up to full speed from the very first exchanges.  It was all Wexford in the early minutes, and astonishingly Lauren Kelly made it count with a third minute finish that left Niamh Reid-Burke completely stranded.  We were set up for a classic.


Peamount had to settle into the game and did so, with the game becoming a far more even encounter for the next half hour.  Peamount centre back Louise Corrigan had a stellar performance throughout, and was instrumental in the first Peamount equalizer.  Corrigan was never afraid to step out of position, and it paid off when she latched onto the end of a pass intended for Rianna Jarrett, barely keeping the ball in play and carried the ball herself into the Peas attack.  Karen Duggan found just enough space to settle herself for a shot outside the box, and made a stunning finish to equalize for 1-1.


The Youths response was swift.  A marginally under-hit headed clearance was gathered by Kylie Murphy, who found Lauren Kelly.  Kelly controlled it once and produced a simply sublime shot from off the outside of the boot, a brave effort that Reid-Burke could do nothing to stop, and the Youths were once again ahead. 


Into the second half, and a curling from long distance out by the prolific Eleanor Ryan-Doyle put Peamount level once again on 51 minutes.  Another super strike, Ryan-Doyle already having 21 goals the league and having 5 goals against the Youths, she proved to be a real threat against the Youths defence once again.


It was a real classic game in what is a fantastic era of Women's football in Ireland, one that deserves watching again and again.  With 5 quality goals it is hard to give all the moments of the game due attention in a report like this.  If people still tape the big matches to watch them again, this is certainly a game to be savoured by fans of Wexford soccer.  That said the response of Wexford once again was immediate with a truly sublime ball from Rianna Jarrett to Lauren Kelly on 52 minutes, putting the Monasterevan woman so close to picking up her hat-trick.  Louise Corrigan again putting a stop to it with a super piece of defending.


However, it is practically impossible to do the winner its justice.  It was a moment of real magic that only sport can provide, and one that has to be lived to be believed.  It was much more than simply a great ball forward from the midfield to find a striker, laying it off to the midfielder again for a great finish.  It is when you've seen and heard the return of Rianna Jarrett from her years of injuries, the integrity and immense leadership of the goalscorer Kylie Murphy, the incredible rise of Lauren Kelly in 2019 and the quiet consistent determination of Edel Kennedy who all linked up in the final winning goal that make this a simply incredible moment.


Enjoy the celebrations.  Here's to 2020.

-Ronan McCarthy


You can re-watch the game live on the RTÉ Player until Sunday 10th November  - https://www.rte.ie/player/series/extra.ie-fai-cup/SI0000006234?epguid=IH000380758

Photos from Eddie Cullen - https://www.facebook.com/groups/134808879937212/

More photos - https://www.sportsfile.com/more-images/775431242/ , https://photos.extratime.ie/p1072588710 , https://inpho.ie/assignment/Co3Hi7YN5BS93zt5NN50hQ..a?ts=BKhz1hFfWR7nMkFTac7sQQ..a















League of Ireland First Division

    Pld +/- Pts
8 Shamrock Rovers II 0 0 0
9 UCD 0 0 0
10 Wexford FC 0 0 0

Full table


Women's National League

    Pld +/- Pts
7 Shelbourne FC 0 0 0
8 Treaty United 0 0 0
9 Wexford Youths Women 0 0 0

Full table


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