Women finish fourth after sharing spoils away to Cork
WEXFORD YOUTHS Women played their final match of the Bus Eireann Women's National League on Sunday in Turner's Cross, Cork, and came away with a point after a thrilling encounter between two evenly-matched teams.
The visitors started well and enjoyed the opening exchanges, with Cherelle Khassal going close when her shot was well saved by Amanda Budden in the Cork goal. However, the breakthrough came on seven minutes when Maria Delahunty got on the end of an Edel Kennedy through ball and fired home from 25 yards.
Wexford could have increased their lead minutes later when Rianna Jarrett saw her shot go wide after good link-up play with Linda Douglas, while Cork were being reduced to long-range efforts at the other end of the pitch.
Republic of Ireland Senior international Denise O'sullivan was introduced to the home side at the start of the second-half and brought a level of attack to the game that they had been lacking in the first-half. However, they were still unable to break down a resilient Wexford defence and the attack became even more pronounced when Clare Shine was introduced eight minutes later.
Some inconsistent decisions by the match official caused unrest in the visitors' composure, and Cork capitalised on this when winning a penalty on 73 minutes when Denise O'sullivan was taken down in the area.
Laura Murphy stepped up to convert the penalty to level the game, with the remaining 15 minutes serving up the best football of the game as both sides went in search of a winner. Cherelle Khassal could have stolen the points with five minutes remaining when she broke through but was once again denied by Buddon, and after two minutes' injury time, the referee sounded the whistle on the Bus Eireann National Women's League inaugural season.
It was an excellent season for the Youths Women and to finish fourth, denied third on goal difference, was a fantastic achievement from a very young side where the majority of the players came from the Junior game. Great credit must go to the players, managers, coaches and physio for all their hard work in a season that was a learning process for all involved, and hopefully this foundation can be built on for next season.
The club received great news during the week when it was announced that recent player of the month Cherelle Khassal was nominated for the National League young player of the year award, while defender Nikki Dunphy was awarded a place on the National League team of the season.
The awards will take place on Tuesday, May 1, in the Burlington Hotel. We congratulate both players on this great achievement and wish Cherelle the best of luck in her quest to be young player of the year.
Cork Women's F.C.: Amanda Budden, Amy Mccarthy, Ericka O'sullivan, Mary Barrett (capt.), Emma Farmer, Sylvia Gee, Katie Mccarthy, Sarah O'donovan, Lynsey Mckey, Susan Donovan, Lauren Murphy. Subs. - Denise O'sullivan for O'donovan (45), Clare Shine for Mccarthy (53), Valerie Mulcahy for Murphy (87).
Wexford Youths Women: Charlotte Mccormack, Ciara O'brien, Jessica Gleeson, Nikki Dunphy (capt.), Clare Conlon, Edel Kennedy, Maria Delahunty, Linda Douglas, Rianna Jarrett, Cherelle Khassal, Sadie Murphy. Subs. - Fiona Bennett for Jarrett (59), Rachel Hutchinson for Conlon (83).
Referee: Chrissie Buckley (Cork).