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Friday 19 July 2019

Rampant Rianna nets five

So Hotels Women's National League: Galway WFC 2 Wexford Youths Women 6

A Rianna Jarrett masterclass in Drom on Saturday propelled Wexford Youths to their biggest-ever league victory over Galway to keep up the pressure on Peamount at the top of the SÓ Hotels Women's National League table.

The Ferrycarrig Park side have a history of struggling on the west coast, but Jarrett netted five times and assisted the sixth in a truly jaw-dropping performance. In truth, it's been coming and Galway are unfortunate to be the ones on the wrong end of the hammering.

Jarrett has been building her form and fitness all season.

She now has 20 goals in all competitions and it may sound strange but she's missed plenty of good chances along the way too.

That's simply a by-product of the sensational form that the Wexford star is in.

While she's been scoring the one here, two there in the last few weeks, there was always going to be a week when almost everything she struck turned to goals.

This was it, as she scored from everywhere, with her left, with her right and with her head, from open play and from dead-balls.

Her all round play has gone to a different level. Jarrett doesn't even need consistent good service at the moment, as if the ball is in her vicinity the defence is scared and Wexford are always dangerous.

She's creating opportunities from nothing and must be on the verge of a step up in level.

Tom Elmes will hope he can keep her a while longer. As well as Jarrett played, his whole team upped their level in this contest and were able to quickly put aside the disappointment of falling behind inside five minutes.

They went on to net six times, which is the most goals they have scored in the league against Galway, home or away, since the westerners were founded in 2013.

While they have won seven and drawn one of their eight home league games against Billy Cleary's club, they have struggled on their travels.

Before this victory Wexford had won just four of nine games in Galway in the league, drawing four and losing one. They had only once previously won by more than a goal and had never scored more than twice on their forays across the country.

Throw into the mix that this is arguably the most talented Galway side since they came into existence, and it all adds up to a sensational result ahead of a title six-pointer against Peamount on Saturday evening.

Neither side was at completely full strength, with Wexford missing both regulars between the posts, Doireann Fahey in defence, Aoife Slattery, and the injured McKenna Davidson in midfield.

They also lost the experienced Edel Kennedy to a hamstring injury in the first-half.

Things weren't going well for Youths when Elle O'Flaherty stole in between Becky Cassin and Orlaith Conlon and lifted over Ciamh Dollard, with the Wexford 'keeper beaten four minutes into her first appearance of the season.

Wexford responded immediately, moving down the field from tip-off, as the ball fell to Jarrett on her left foot and she fired past young Galway 'keeper Ria McPhilbin.

The visitors had chances to go ahead through Parrock and Jarrett, while Kennedy also hit the crossbar.

Youths did take the lead in the 36th minute as Jarrett grabbed her second. This time she curled a 25-yard free-kick with her right foot over McPhilbin's head to the net.

Aisling Frawley was lively out wide, and when she moved inside her ball allowed Jarrett to head in her hat-trick goal in first-half added-time.

Wexford faced into the Drom breeze after the interval but it didn't make any difference.

Jarrett curled another free-kick across goal and into the opposite top corner in the 50th minute after Shauna Fox had been penalised for handball.

Jarrett had five in the 57th minute, after she played a one-two with Becky Cassin on the left, cut in and caressed home her shot into the far corner.

Cantering at this stage, Wexford were able to introduce Murrintown girl Ciara Rossiter as she made her long-awaited return from injury.

Méabh De Búrca pulled one back from long range in the 83rd minute, but Wexford were still able to finish with aplomb.

Lauren Dwyer, who ended the game in midfield, accepted a Rianna Jarrett pass and fired high over McPhilbin to complete the win in style.

And next up it's Peamount. It would be almost impossible to overstate the importance of this game for Wexford, as they trail the Dublin side by five points and need to win if they want to keep their destiny in their own hands.

Manager Tom Elmes expects to have a full squad, minus goalkeeper Maeve Williams, for the game.

It quite simply is the biggest match of the season so far, one of the biggest of Elmes' reign as manager.

Kick-off for the crunch clash is at 6.30 p.m., with a big crowd expected in Ferrycarrig Park to watch these two talented teams on Saturday evening.

Before that game takes place, Youths should know their seeding for August's UEFA Champions League qualifying group, plus the possible destinations for the fourth campaign in Europe's biggest club football competition.

Unless there are some unforeseen UEFA expulsions of higher-ranked clubs, Wexford will almost certainly miss out on the coveted second seed, once again taking their place as a third seed and destined to face two higher-ranked opponents.

Wexford Youths: Ciamh Dollard; Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon, Becky Cassin; Kylie Murphy (capt.), Edel Kennedy; Aisling Frawley, Lauren Kelly, Katrina Parrock; Rianna Jarrett. Subs. - Vanessa Ogbonna, Ciara Rossiter, Ciara Delaney, also Clíodhna Ní Shé, McKenna Davidson.

Galway: Ria McPhilbin; Ailbhe Clancy, Shauna Fox, Keara Cormican (capt.), Méabh De Búrca, Sadhbh Doyle, Lynsey McKey, Elle O'Flaherty, Aoife Thompson, Sarah Baynes, Tessa Mullins. Subs. - Tina Hughes, Aoife Walsh, Leah Brady, Aoife Brennan, Kayla Brady, Aislinn Meaney.

Referee: John O'Connor (Galway).

Gorey Guardian

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