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Saturday 7 December 2019

Rianna caps great year

Ace Wexford striker selected for top individual award

Rianna Jarrett with her player of the year award at the function in Limerick on Saturday
Rianna Jarrett with her player of the year award at the function in Limerick on Saturday

It has been a campaign to remember for Rianna Jarrett, and she capped it off by collecting the Só Hotels Women's National League player of the year award at the Castle Oaks Hotels in Limerick on Saturday.

Jarrett was honoured as the outstanding player of 2019 in a season that saw her help Wexford Youths win the Só Hotels FAI Women's Cup at the Aviva Stadium, score her first Senior goal for the Republic of Ireland, and claim the top goalscorer award in the league.

The Wexford town native was first up to the stage to collect her trophy for the top goalscorer - which was sponsored by Evoke.ie - and she returned as one of the eleven players to make the team of the season.

And then a third trip was required to get her hands on the night's big prize.

Rianna was one of three Wexford Youths players selected on the team of the season, with defender Lauren Dwyer and midfielder Kylie Murphy, the team's inspiring captain, also honoured.

Four players from champions Peamount United, three from Shelbourne, and one from Galway, completed the eleven.

Jarrett didn't feature with the international team in Athens last Tuesday when they were denied a precious win in their group of the Euro qualifiers by a late equalising goal from hosts Greece.

Ireland will not be in action again until next March when they host Greece, before travelling to Montenegro in a double-header.

Elsewhere on the international front, there was a winning debut at Under-21 level for former Good Counsel College (New Ross) student Thomas O'Connor on Thursday.

The Gillingham player featured for the full 90 minutes as the boys in green secured an impressive 1-0 victory over Armenia in Yerevan thanks to Zack Elbouzedi's second-half strike.

O'Connor, one of four newcomers, is the son of Wexford parents who played his under-age G.A.A. with Tullogher-Rosbercon and various Kilkenny county teams.

There was mixed fortunes for Enniscorthy's Festy Ebosele and the international Under-19 side, starting with a 2-1 loss to Switzerald in the European championship qualifiers in Salzburg on Thursday.

The Derby County player got the full 90 minutes in that narrow defeat, while he was introduced as a last-minute substitute in a 13-0 rout of Gibraltar two days later.

Meanwhile, Shay O'Leary from Wexford town, formerly of Wexford Albion and now with Shamrock Rovers, is one of two goalkeepers named on the international Under-15 squad for two friendlies against Poland in Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway, tonight (Tuesday), and Thursday at 12 noon.

Elsewhere on the soccer front, the selection of Michelle O'Neill as P.F.A.I. referee of the year added another string to her bow as we draw close to the end of a year to remember for the Wexford whistler.

In truth, she was more prominent with flag in hand as an assistant referee throughout 2019, and she officiated in that capacity for the England versus Germany women's game in Wembley Stadium on Saturday, November 9, in front of an attendance of 77,768.

Michelle was also assistant referee in the Unite the Union Champions Cup Final second leg which saw Dundalk thump Linfield 6-0 in Oriel Park two nights later.

Stephanie Frappart from France was the referee for both games, and her fellow countrywoman, Manuela Nicolasai, was the other assistant referee.

The trio have taken charge of so many big matches as a collective at this stage that they have developed into a formidable team.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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