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Ready for the new season! Action shots from our U15s pre-season friendly game at @AthloneTownAFC ūüďł Paula Kelly https://t.co/VFHqu1kj8a

Wexford Youths Women had to battle hard to earn a point in yesterday's SSE Airtricity WNL clash with bitter rivals Shelbourne at Tolka Park. Tom Elmes side remain third in the table after the scoreless draw which saw the completion of the first round of fixtures and they now sit seven points behind unbeaten leaders Peamount United whom they meet next. Even though it's still early in the season it felt like both sides really needed the three points to keep their title hopes going and that was reflected in a tough physical contest played in very hot conditions. 

Wexford were without teenage star Ellen Molloy who was still recovering from a knock picked up in Youths home win over Bohemians a week ago, Lauren Kelly taking her place. Ciamh Gray also returned to the starting line up and the keeper made a number of significant stops in the first half to keep Wexford in the game, the Reds having started the better. Twice she thwarted Shels attackers in one on one scenarios, first denying Saoirse Noonan the opening goal in the 29th minute and repeating the feat five minutes later when bravely diving at Emily Whelan's feet. Wexford's best chance came shortly after, Kylie Murphy with a stinging right foot shot that was palmed away by Amanda Budden. Ciara Rossiter had one more strike on goal shortly before the half time whistle, Budden getting her body behind a well struck free kick.

The tension increased as the second half went on, the Shels bench putting intense pressure on the match officials and calling constantly for non existent fouls and hand balls, the Reds manager Noel King being the most vocal. Youths experience slowly began to tell however and they began to have a little more joy on the break. Ciara Rossiter probably should have done better in the 67th minute after a good set up by Kylie Murphy but the winger blasted over from the edge of the box. Youths had to rely on a bit of luck to stay level in the 75th minute when Pearl Slattery's header crashed back off the crossbar and her follow up header drifted wide (Emily Whelan also tipped a right foot effort onto the Wexford bar). Doireann Fahey entered the fray in the 77th minute (replacing Aisling Frawley), the talented young left back having just returned home for the summer from college in the US and her introduction started to turn the game back in Youths favour. There was no argument they finished the stronger side and Sinead Taylor had two great chances in the final ten minutes to grab a vital three points for the Slaneysiders, her first effort was well saved by Budden and her second close range shot drifted agonisingly wide.

Points shared in the end which suits neither team. Youths with a must win game at PRL Park in six days time.

Wexford Youths WFC: Ciamh Gray, Lynn Craven, Nicola Sinnott, Edel Kennedy, Lauren Dwyer (Orlaith Conlon 87'), Lynn Marie Grant, Aoibheann Clancy, Kylie Murphy (c), Ciara Rossiter, Aisling Frawley (Doireann Fahey 77') and Lauren Kelly (Sinead Taylor 64').  Subs Not Used: Maeve Williams, Kira Bates Crosbie, Kim Flood, Katie O'Regan, Freya Demange and Fiona Ryan.

Shelbourne FC: Amanda Budden, Jess Gargan, Jess Stapleton, Pearl Slattery (c), Ciara Grant, Jamie Finn, Jess Ziu, Rachel Graham, Noelle Murray (Mia Dodd 85'), Saoirse Noonan and Emily Grant.  Subs Not Used: Sophie Lenehan, Rachel Baynes, Leah Doyle, Taylor White, Abbie Larkin and Ella O'Connell.

You can check out the match highlights below:


 

CURRENT STANDINGS

League of Ireland First Division

    Pld +/- Pts
8 Cobh Ramblers 11 -9 11
9 Cork City 11 -2 9
10 Wexford FC 11 -19 3

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Women's National League

    Pld +/- Pts
2 Shelbourne FC 9 21 22
3 Wexford Youths Women FC 9 19 18
4 DLR Waves 8 6 16

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