Furlong helps Wexford clinch historic double in shoot-out
Shelbourne 2 Wexford Youths 2 (AET. Wexford Youths win 4-2 on pens)
Wexford Youths are the undisputed kingpins of Irish women’s football after completing the double yesterday by beating Shelbourne in the FAI Cup final.
By the end of a dramatic contest at rain-soaked Lansdowne Road, substitute goalkeeper Tamara Furlong was Wexford’s penalty shoot-out hero.
Having replaced the injured Marie-Rose Kelly on the half hour, Furlong had plenty to and do and was helpless to deny Shels netting twice over the 120 minutes.
But she made her presence count in the shoot-out that followed – crucially keeping out the first attempt by Noelle Murray.
The player-of-the-match wasn’t the only Shels player to be unsuccessful, as Shauna Newman’s last spot-kick crashed off the crossbar.
Wexford’s full return from four attempts, however, settled the contest and completed a remarkable double for the team from the south-east.
“I was surprised to be called into action but was delighted my chance came,” said an ecstatic Furlong, who had played second fiddle to Kelly during their title-winning season.
“Both teams had their chances to win and I’m just glad all four of our penalty-takers scored.”
Wexford’s first Cup success came at the expense of a Shelbourne side chasing their fourth in a row, having dominated the competition in their previous guise of Raheny United. They looked well on course for another trophy when Siobhan Killeen fired the Dubliners ahead on 55 minutes.
Although Wexford forced extra-time deep into stoppage-time through Ciara Rossiter before Maria Delahunty volleyed them into a 2-1 lead, penalties were required after Shels substitute Dearbhaile Beirne levelled with the last kick of the contest.
SHELBOURNE - N Reid-Burke; K Keenan, P Slattery, J Finn, N Walsh; S Killeen (D Beirne 85), S Newman, R Creagh, R Graham (L Dwyer 68), G Murray (Rowe 59); N Murray.
WEXFORD YOUTHS - M-R Kelly (T Furlong 33); N Sinnott, R Fahy, E Kennedy, C Rossiter; L Douglas (M Delahunty 61), K Murphy, E Hansberry, A Frawley (R Jarrett 72); C Breen; C O'Riordan.
Ref - P Brady (Dublin)