Five-star Shelbourne turn on the style to win FAI Women’s Cup
Shelbourne…5 Wexford Youths…0
Shelbourne wasted no time in avenging last year’s FAI Women’s Cup final defeat to Wexford by sweeping past their conquerors with a first-half blitz at Lansdowne Road today.
Wexford managed to keep the Reds at bay for a half an hour, even saving a penalty, but Noelle Murray’s opener was soon followed by a Leanne Kiernan brace before the break.
American-born striker Gloria Douglas added a fourth just past the hour before 17-year-old Kiernan claimed her hat-trick 12 minutes from full-time.
This was the first Cup claimed under the guise of Shelbourne but many of the players were involved in Raheny United’s three-in-a-row from 2012-2014 before they merged with the Reds.
Murray is one of those stalwarts and, together with Douglas, tormented the holders up front in the early stages.
She was given the chance to fire the Dubliners ahead from the spot on 16 minutes, after Kiernan was tripped by Nicola Sinnott, only to scuff her penalty straight into the hands of Sophie Lenehan.
The Wexford goalkeeper wasn’t so fortunate for the breakthrough goal on 31 minutes, dashing from her line to meet a deep free-kick by Courtney Higgins without getting a hand to the ball.
It left her defenders scampering to clear and Murray took full advantage by hooking the loose ball through a thicket of players and into the net.
Wexford had failed to threaten the goal of Amanda McQuillan by that stage and they conceded twice more before the break in similar fashion.
Three minutes on from the opener, Douglas displayed great agility in turning her marker midway into Wexford half and spraying a pass through the inside-right channel for Kiernan to dart into and round the advancing Lenehan to tap home.
The teenager had her second in first-half stoppage-time.
Once again, Douglas played her part by laying the ball into the path of Murray, who spotted another incisive run from the right by Kiernan. With Amy Walsh blindsided, the winger cut across her and stroked the ball home from 10 yards.
All Wexford had to show for that first-half was Sinnott’s volley as the trailed by two goals which McQuillan produced a wonderful one-handed save to palm away. Still, they should have reduced the arrears immediately after the restart when Aoibhin Webb connected with Maria Delahunty’s pass from close-range only to be denied by the legs of McQuillan.
That was it for Wexford as Shels resumed their dominance. Douglas grabbed her deserved goal on 64 minutes in farcical fashion. Her header from Siobhan Killeen cross struck the top of the crossbar but drifted back into the net past the stranded goalkeeper.
Referee Deirdre Nolan awarded her second penalty of the game in the 78th minute after Killeen was brought down by Gleeson, leaving Kiernan to bag her third with a penalty off the underside of the crossbar.
SHELBOURNE: McQuillan; Graham (Craven 81), Cooke, N Walsh, Higgins; Slattery, Kavanagh; Killeen (Donnelly 84), Murray, Kiernan (Watters 84); G Douglas.
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Lenehan; Sinnott, Conlon, Gleeson, A Walsh (Hutchinson 68); Hansberry, Delahunty (Snell 85); L Douglas, Webb, Frawley; O’Riordan.
Referee: Deirdre Nolan.