Monday 20 November 2017

Real baptism of fire for Under-18 girls in opener

Dean Goodison

Wexford were comprehensively outplayed by a vastly superior Metro Girls' side in the opening fixture of the W.F.A.I. Under-18 inter-league in Curracloe on Sunday.

Metro League 8 Wexford 0

The capital girls played some fantastic football throughout, with the superb Alex Kavanagh pulling the strings in midfield and Kerri Litman hitting the net at will.

The hosts, who have a lot of improving to do to match up in this competition, were dealt a big blow when goalkeeper Emma Tobin was forced off in the 16th minute with a nasty head injury.

There was a delay of 43 minutes, with Tobin kept on the ground while an ambulance was summoned. The Wexford stopper was helped into the ambulance by paramedics with what seemed like concussion symptoms.

By that stage the pattern of the game had been set with Metro taking the lead after just 51 seconds. Litman played provider role for the opener with Naima Chemaou adding the finish past Tobin to the Wexford net.

The hosts' goalkeeper made a great save at the feet of Litman after the first of many sensational Kavanagh through balls before Wexford tested the exceptional Sophie Lenehan at the other end with a well-placed Siobhán Doolan free-kick after Natasha Byrne-Rossiter was fouled.

Of course, Lenehan was very familiar with her opponents on Sunday as the Irish Under-17 international previously played with Ballindaggin United.

And after signing for Shelbourne during the summer, she is now part of the Metro set-up.

After the injury stoppage, Chemaou kneed onto the post from Litman's cross before the same player went around substitute stopper Gráinne McCabe, only for Niamh Sinnott to get back and hook the ball off the line.

However, the second goal did come in the 31st minute of added time when Kavanagh slipped Litman in and the Metro attacker curled a lovely finish to the Wexford net.

Four minutes later Kavanagh added her second assist, this time setting up Nicole Plunkett to make it 3-0. Byrne-Rossiter's long-range effort forced Lenehan to save just before half-time, leaving Wexford with a mountain to climb.

Litman's second goal came from an Emma Chamberlain pass less than two minutes after the interval, and Kavanagh added a fifth from the sprightly Leanne Kiernan's cross 20 minutes later.

Niamh Sinnott went close for Wexford before Litman added her third with 15 minutes remaining.

The hotshot nodded home again from Lydia Cook's corner with seven minutes left, and Kate Mooney completed the rout a minute later.

Wexford now have six weeks to prepare for their next game at home to Limerick, and they will finish off the group two weeks later away to Cork.

With two qualifying from the group, all is not lost as a couple of wins would leave them in a good position.

Metro Girls' League: Sophie Lenehan; Kate Mooney, Erica Byrne, Isobel Finnegan, Karley Leavy; Lynn Craven, Alex Kavanagh, Jade Reddy, Nicole Plunkett; Naima Chemaou, Kerri Litman. Subs. - Emma Chamberlain for Plunkett (46), Amy Neary for Byrne (53), Amy McCormack for Reddy (56), Leanne Kiernan for Craven (63), Lydia Cook for Chemaou (75), also Chloe McNamee, Clionha Ní Shé, Aoibh Hall.

Wexford Football League: Emma Tobin; Larah Campbell, Rachel Scannell, Lauren Sludds, Niamh Sinnott; Deirdre Byrne, Tara Doyle, Natasha Byrne-Rossiter, Leah Chung; Siobhán Doolan, Derbhla Doyle. Subs. - Gráinne McCabe for Tobin, inj. (16), Fiona Kinsella for Byrne (52), Róisín Doolan for Chung (77).

Referee: Pat Sinnott.



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