Youths beat Galway girls
ladies into last four of cup
Wexford Youths advanced to the last four of the WFAI Cup, putting in their best performance of the season to date to see off previously unbeaten Galway in Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday afternoon last.
Wexford Youths 3 Galway WFC 2
After a rocky start to the season, Gary Hunt's side seem to be finding their feet. The Wexford boss was aided by having a strong squad to choose from, with only Orlaith Conlon's eye injury keeping him from having a fully fit squad.
While the score says 3-2, Wexford were better than that winning margin. The hosts bossed the game, they defended well on the whole and creating the better chances throughout the game.
Youths started on the front foot, winning three corners in as many minutes. The first two served as practice, with Claire O'Riordan heading in from Emma Hansberry's cross from the third to give Wexford the lead.
Buoyed by the goal, Youths continued with their expansive football. In the sixth minute, Maria Delahunty saw her shot blocked behind for a corner. Hansberry's delivery evaded the packed centre, fell to Jess Gleeson at the back post and the Wexford defender thumped it to the net.
The visitors started to get possession in Youths half after the quarter-hour mark. They were looking to get the ball wide and swing in crosses but strong defending and the aerial ability of Sophie Lenehan saw those attempts pass by without incident.
However, when Wexford lost the ball on their left, Lucy Hannon took possession, drove to the edge of the penalty area and drilled a low, accurate shot to Lenehan's net to get the Westerners back into the contest.
Wexford hit back within a minute. Claire O'Riordan, fresh off four goals against Kilkenny last time out, took the ball thirty yards from goal and fired an unstoppable shot over Tina Hughes to the Galway rigging.
Sniffing a hat-trick, O'Riordan forced Hughes into a smart save in the 29th minute. Three minutes later Galway scored again, Hannon cut inside from the left wing and thumped a 30-yard bullet high past Lenehan to the top corner to make it 3-2.
In the remaining fifteen minutes of the half both sides had their moments but neither could find a telling contribution. Although worryingly for Wexford, Kylie Murphy did seem to be struggling with an injury for a while.
Maria Delahunty missed the target with a strike early in the second half. A Hansberry corner caused panic in the Galway box in the 48th minute, the ball eventually fell to Delahunty but she couldn't make a telling contribution.
Four minutes later Aisling Frawley cut in from the left wing, beat two Galway defenders and shot. Hughes got her hand to the strike, it dribbled agonisingly towards the goal but the visiting 'keeper got back to claw it off the line.
Delahunty's cross fell to O'Riordan in the box, on the turn the Limerick native fired wide. Hansberry rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard rocket in 59th minute and Rachel Hutchinson couldn't convert from the rebound.
A Delahunty free-kick from the left side of the area drew a save from Hughes in the 69th minute. Linda Douglas was next to see a shot saved by the Galway 'stopper as Wexford searched for the clinching goal.
Galway pumped a few set pieces into the penalty area but the Youths defence dealt with the danger without undue worry and held on for the win.
The draw for the last four, which has yet to take place, sees Shelbourne, Peamount and Kilkenny join Wexford in the hat.
Youths are not in action next week, their next fixture is away to Galway in the Continental Tyres Women's National League on September 24th.
That will be followed four days later by the visit of Shelbourne to Ferrycarrig Park.
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Sophie Lenehan; Nicola Sinnott, Jess Gleeson, Lauren Dwyer; Rachel Hutchinson; Linda Douglas, Kylie Murphy, Emma Hansberry, Aisling Frawley; Maria Delahunty; Claire O'Riordan. Subs. - Amy Walsh for Frawley (85), Aoibhín Webb for Douglas (88), Tamara Furlong, Leanne Tumulty, Chelsee Snell, Becky Cassin, Sinead Gaynor.
GALWAY: Tina Hughes; Aoife Walsh, Shauna Fox, Therese Hartley, Keara Cormican; Aislinn Meaney, Meabh de Burca, Chloe Maloney, Caroline Carter; Lucy Hannon, Lynsey McKey. Subs. - Ella O'Flaherty for Hannon (54), Jennifer Chambers for Walsh (66), Yvonne Hedigan for Hartley (72), Louise Craven, Anesi Igunma, Grace Mullins.
REFEREE: Fran Sinnott.