Wednesday 16 October 2019

Women add cup to last year's league title

FAI Cup secured for first time after penalty kick drama

Ciara Rossiter celebrates with Maria Delahunty (20) after scoring the equaliser in injury time for Wexford Youths Women
Ciara Rossiter celebrates with Maria Delahunty (20) after scoring the equaliser in injury time for Wexford Youths Women

'I was so relieved,' was the candid reaction of Ciara Rossiter, looking back on the moment when her Wexford Youths side won the FAI Cup on Sunday on the back of Shauna Newman's missed penalty, ensuring the talented youngster wouldn't have to take the decisive spot-kick.

The pressure of playing for your home town team, having to take that penalty with the weight of expectation on your back, would take its toll on many a player, but few around the Youths camp would have expected anything other than the winner from Rossiter, had the chance arose.

When Wexford needed a hero in normal time it was their young international that provided the moment of magic on an historic day in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday. About her equaliser, Rossiter said: 'Honestly, it was going so fast I actually didn't even have a clue what was going on.

'I thought it was a free out at first and I kind of half nearly had a heart attack, but then I saw the ref pointing at the halfway and I was like, "ah, thank God", such a relief.'

Taking the cup back to Ferrycarrig Park to put it with the league trophy that the Youths women collected last season was undoubtedly the most important aim for the day, but Rossiter also says that they wanted to put on a show to prove that last year was no fluke.

'We were just coming here to show that we're no joke and that it wasn't lucky for us last year. We came here to show and prove that we're good enough to be the top team in the country,' she said.

Any doubters will know now if they didn't know before. This Wexford Youths team is ready for another crack at the title and it will take a great side to stop them.

Surprising things really can happen to alter the course of history, but who had expected Cork supporters to leave an impact on the ladies' game?

Those of you who watched the Women's FAI Cup final on TV may have missed that key component to the penalty shoot-out that could only have helped the Wexford Youths Women.

Just as the penalties began, the large Cork following gathered behind the goal suddenly adopted Youths as their own. To a person they chanted 'Wexford, Wexford' and booed the Shelbourne players as they came up to take their kicks.

What had been a benign atmosphere suddenly erupted into a mini-cauldron at the Lansdowne Road end of the stadium, and for the Youths players approaching one of the biggest kicks of their career it must have given them a little psychological edge.

And surely Shelbourne players didn't expect to be heckled when they volunteered to take a spot-kick? It made for a surreal few minutes and the Cork support left nobody in any doubt about the status of their rivalry with the nation's capital.

Sunday was a very special day for the Rossiter family as Ciara's younger twin brothers, Darragh and Pádraig, helped St. Martin's to complete a Wexford People Minor Premier championship double, with Darragh emulating his sister by scoring a goal.

It was a good weekend on the whole for the sporting women of Wexford as Oulart-The Ballagh made an incredible late comeback to retain their Leinster Club Senior camogie title, while Kate Kelly collected an eighth All Star award.

Wexford People

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