Murphy dismissal a blow in success away to Cork
Jess Gleeson fired Wexford Youths back to winning ways in added-time as they scraped past Cork and kept their slipping Continental Tyres Women's National League title hopes alive in Bishopstown on Sunday.
Cork 1 Wexford Youths 2
With their title hopes hanging by a thread, Gleeson latched onto a perfectly-weighted Maria Delahunty pass and fired past Amanda Budden two minutes into added-time to leave Youths four points behind leaders Shelbourne at the midway point of the season.
There may be bigger problems ahead for Youths after Kylie Murphy was given a straight red card in the second-half for an altercation with Megan Kelleher. The dismissal will mean a suspension but Wexford must wait to see the duration of the ban.
Given how they performed without their captain against Peamount early in the season, manager Gary Hunt will be left with a major headache if the suspension ends up being more than the one game.
Despite Murphy having an early goal ruled out for offside, it was Cork who started the brighter. Legendary Cork footballer Valerie Mulcahy, in particular, proved to be a real thorn in the Youths defence.
Wexford made three changes to their starting line-up from the Shelbourne defeat with Leanne Tumelty, Amy Walsh and Orla Casey coming into the team. Only Walsh made it past the interval intact.
Wexford just didn't play well in the first-half. Cork took the lead when Ciara Desmond's cross flew over Sophie Lenehan to the back post and was headed into her own net by Nicola Sinnott.
Youths huffed and puffed but weren't really clicking. They did manage to grab an equaliser when Orla Casey found Maria Delahunty in the penalty box, and the Dungarvan native got the ball out of her feet and coolly fired to the bottom corner of the Cork net.
Even though the goal came just before half-time, the break was still a good opportunity for Hunt to re-arrange his team and introduce experienced players Lauren Dwyer and Aisling Frawley from the bench.
It certainly helped as Youths controlled the second-half. Claire O'Riordan had two great chances to grab a winner, but Budden saved one while the Youths striker put the other wide.
Even with ten, after Murphy's dismissal in the final quarter, Wexford were still the more likely winner. Finally that goal came through Gleeson in added-time and Youths were able to play out the last few minutes without incident.
Wexford travel to UCD Waves on Wednesday evening knowing that only a victory will realistically keep their title hopes alive. A home cup semi-final against Kilkenny follows on Sunday afternoon.
Wexford Youths: Sophie Lenehan; Nicola Sinnott, Jess Gleeson, Leanne Tumelty; Linda Douglas, Kylie Murphy (capt.), Orla Casey, Emma Hansberry, Amy Walsh; Maria Delahunty; Claire O'Riordan. Subs. - Lauren Dwyer for Tumelty, Aisling Frawley for Casey, also Tamara Furlong, Becky Cassin, Rachel Hutchinson, Clare Conlon, Sinéad Gaynor.
Cork: Amanda Budden; Tara O'Gorman, Marie Curtin, Zoe Murphy, Ciara McNamara; Ciara Desmond, Megan Kelleher, Evelyn Daly, Saoirse Noonan; Valerie Mulcahy, Danielle Sheehy. Subs. - Maggie Duncliffe for Sheehy, Shannon Carson for O'Gorman, Kate O'Donovan for Mulcahy, also Natalie O'Brien, Amy O'Reilly, Danielle Burke, Tara Mannix.