Wexford Youths win Women's Cup after high drama at Aviva Stadium
Shelbourne 2 Wexford Youths 2 - AET Wexford win 4-2 on pens
Wexford Youths clinched a first-ever FAI Women’s Cup Youths today at the expense of four-in-a-row chasing Shelbourne following a penalty shoot-out victory.
Played under incessant rain at Lansdowne Road, a tight contest sprang to life in the 55th minute when Siobhan Killeen fired the Dubliners ahead.
League champions Wexford forced extra-time by equaliser five minutes into stoppage-time through Ciara Rossiter and thought they’d won it when substitute Maria Delahunty volleyed them into a 2-1 lead with five minutes left.
Shelbourne, however, earned a shoot-out after their substitute Dearbhaile Beirne levelled.
Whilst Wexford netted all four of their spot-kicks, player of the match Noelle Murray and Shauna Newman missed for Shelbourne to crown an historic triumph for the girls from the south-east.
That substitute goalkeeper Tamara Furlong saved the first of those attempts only added to the drama as Wexford secured their double.
A dour opening half hour way gave way to a late spell of pressure from Wexford before the interval.
Losing their goalkeeper Mary-Rose Kelly to injury by that stage didn’t rattle them as Rossiter power downfield to force Niamh Reid-Burke into the first save of the game from a 25-yard shot.
Ciara O’Riordan’s pace in attack was evident in stoppage-time when raced clear but dragged her shot wide from the edge of the box.
Then, a moment of brilliance from Killeen broke the deadlock. The Ireland international cut in from the left into her favoured right foot and beat Furlong with an exquisite lob.
At that stage, Wexford’s trademark attacking approach was stymied by Casey McQuillan’s holders, although they came close to netting an equaliser and forcing extra-time.
With 17 minutes left, Emma Hansberry’s jinking run was the precursor for her slipping Carol Breen into the box unmarked but the striker sidefooted the ball wide with just Niamh Reid-Burke to beat.
Hansberry was once again involved in another opportunity to level to level in the 81st minute.
Her free-kick from the left was connected with by Kylie Murphy only for the captain’s header to crash off the crossbar.
Right at the death came their lifeline. When Hansberry's cross caused chaos, Breen struck the bar and Rossiter bundled the rebound over the line.
Wexford were full of confidence heading into extra time, Rianna Jarrett forced Reid-Burke to top around the post in the second period.
The inevitable goal came after the goalkeeper claimed to have even blocked from a corner, enabling Delahunty volley into an empty net for 2-1.
Coming five minutes from the death, that seemed to sink Shels but they summoned one last attack which reaped their second goal.
Keeva Keenan's cross in the final minute saw Jamie Finn rattle the crossbar from a header. Amid the resulting rebound, on hand to turn the ball home was substitute Beirne.
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; C Breen; C O’Riordan.
Referee: P Brady (Dublin).