Monday 22 January 2018

Fahy will relish home comforts

Champions League for Wexford

Dean Goodison

Ruth Fahy cannot wait for the Champions League qualifiers in Ferrycarrig Park in August
Ruth Fahy cannot wait for the Champions League qualifiers in Ferrycarrig Park in August

The lilting chords of the Champions League theme tune will be heard around Ferrycarrig Park for the first time in the venue's history in August after the confirmation that Wexford Youths will host their qualifying group in next season's UEFA Women's Champions League.

The Continental Tyres Women's National League champions will be seeded in the third pot for their second jaunt into European football's elite competition, with the ties scheduled to take place between August 23 and 28. Waterford's R.S.C. will act as a co-host for at least one other game in the group, not involving Wexford.

'From the very start I really wanted Wexford,' admitted Youths all-rounder Ruth Fahy. 'I think it's brilliant, I'm really excited.

'My first reaction was that the weather will be so much more manageable, because that's my overriding memory from the last time, just positively dying in the heat and that's not an exaggeration.'

After wilting against hosts Medyk Konin in the soaring Polish temperatures last year, Youths would probably have liked a re-match in reasonable conditions but that can't happen because the second seeds will also act as hosts again. Now, Fahy isn't overly concerned about who her side are drawn against on June 24.

'I don't mind to be honest, I wouldn't take the seedings as bible either, just by the experience we had last year. I'd like a team like (Medyk) Konin, they are pretty much professional, everything about them was quality. Anyone at that level, you just want to test yourself,' explained the Galway native.

For Wexford, and for women's football in Ireland as a whole, this is a chance to attract an intrigued casual sports fan to the club and showcase the best of what Youths have to offer, and it's an opportunity Fahy hopes is embraced.

'Those that have heard that they should come to a match and try it out, and for anyone who hasn't seen a women's soccer match, this would be the perfect opportunity to come and check it out themselves. It is the highest standard available to the spectator in Ireland in the coming year,' she said.

While Fahy says the news brought great delight to her team-mates, the reaction back in Galway was a little more subdued. She explained: 'The only people I know that reacted negatively were my own parents, who wanted a trip away.

'They couldn't make it last year and they were crushed. They were planning for this trip away for the Champions League for ages. So I told them we'll just have to get out of the group and make the trip to the away leg in the last 32. That's very optimistic, but it calmed them down a little bit!'

Away from the glitz and glamour of booking holidays in the sunny south-east, instead of unsatisfyingly sticky continental Europe, Wexford Youths Women are inviting applications for the vacant manager's position.

The process seems to be a futile one, as Wexford have the benefit of a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings in the assistant manager under Will Doyle, Gary Hunt. However, the club is still seeking applicants.

Yet, when talking about the qualities the next manager must possess, to carry on the superb work of Doyle in the past few years, Fahy has a clear vision of what is required and talks passionately about it.

'It's going to be strange not having Will in management, and I still don't know the situation in terms of his involvement in the season to come. I can only look to someone with the (right) character like our assistant manager Gary (Hunt).

'They both share a lot of really good things that brought Wexford this far. They are both quite patient, they are both very knowledgeable, and they are both very good at dealing with females, which is unique in terms of management, especially that I've come across in the last ten years or so. It's not easy to manage a senior women's team,' she said.

'Someone with unbelievable communication skills, someone who understands Wexford Youths, who understands the history of the club, understands how far they have come the last couple of years and understands the ethos behind the team.

'Again I have to look at Will and Gary for that, that's just who they are, that's the most important thing, someone who not only understands it but will embrace the Wexford ethos because it's worked and gotten the club so far, that has got to be number one for a manager coming in, I think.'

The closing date for applications is Wednesday, June 22, two days before Wexford find out who they will face in the qualifying round of the Champions League. The league starts back in early August so there isn't much time for any new recruit to build a management team and get up to speed.

Wexford People

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