Monday 19 August 2019

A stroll in the park for Youths

Women's FAI Cup: Wexford Youths 11 Manulla FC 0

Claire O’Riordan of Wexford Youths is tracked by Manulla F.C. defender Michelle Ruane
Claire O’Riordan of Wexford Youths is tracked by Manulla F.C. defender Michelle Ruane
Linda Douglas of Wexford Youths fires a shot to the corner of the net

Dean Goodison at Ferrycarrig Park

Poor Manulla. They spend hours driving from Mayo to Ferrycarrig Park to get completely mullered, it couldn't have been fun.

This was largely a pointless exercise for Wexford Youths but they did get one eyebrow raising performance.

With seventeen minutes left Amy Wilson jogged casually onto the field. Her side were 8-0 up, there wasn't much happening and the hosts were drifting towards the full-time whistle and a place in the FAI Cup semi-finals.

Wilson scored twice but it wasn't the two goals that were impressive in themselves. It was what the teenager did quietly in her short cameo that stood out, it was her clever runs off the ball, it was her fearlessness, it was her decision making, it was all really promising for someone so young.

This game could have finished fifteen, twenty, it could have been 25-zip. Manulla offered as close to nothing as it is possible to offer. They are a local Mayo side on a great run but they simply don't have anything like the quality that Youths possess.

The now expunged 17-1 win over Castlebar Celtic two seasons ago was more difficult than this. The reason it was eleven and not double that was decision making, this walk in the park was a microcosm of the season as a whole, magnified because of the weakness of opposition.

At times Wexford worked their openings, did the hard yards, took the correct option, not necessarily the easy option.

That was par for the course two seasons ago, now it's hit or miss. How could you blame the players when every wild slash at goal from 25 yards out is applauded?

Without manager Laura Heffernan in attendance, Wexford took the lead in the 12th minute. A long Linda Douglas ball forward was butchered in defence by the visitors and Claire O'Riordan was on hand to calmly slot low to the net.

Kylie Murphy's defence splitting pass sent the galloping Aisling Frawley in on goal three minutes later and she drilled low to the net to make it two. Emma Hansberry showed why she should be dictating play in the centre when she cut Manulla to shreds with a stunning pass in the 19th minute and O'Riordan applied the finish.

Hansberry continued to impress when she faked outside and cut back inside before placing her shot to the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area in the 27th minute. Superb interplay between Frawley and O'Riordan ended with the former crossing low for Murphy to volley home number five.

More solid work by Frawley saw the Waterford native pick out Hansberry on the left edge of the area and she caressed her shot just inside Laura Mannion's near post.

Orla Casey had a point-blank shot saved just before the break but Wexford still went in six ahead.

Linda Douglas started and ended a move on the right wing that saw O'Riordan lay it off to the right full-back and she just-about forced her shot past Mannion in the 51st minute.

Bravery by Becky Cassin in midfield won the ball, found O'Riordan and she offloaded to Hansberry for her hat-trick.

Fortunately being 8-0 up, Casey's thumping drive that Mannion tipped onto the crossbar and bounced down - that looked like it may well have landed over the goalline, spun out and wasn't given - was no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

How refreshing it was to see Amy Wilson attacking crosses when she was introduced. The youngster ghosted in at the back post to fire Frawley's centre to the net in the 76th minute. She did the same, arriving with impeccable timing, when Siobhan Doolan repeated the trick moments later, this time she didn't make a great connection with her shot and Mannion saved.

It looked like Sadbh McCarthy would get the chance to make her debut until Lauren Dwyer suffered a head injury and Rianna Jarrett was called from the bench. Her aerial ability will be critical in the run-in if Wexford can get keep getting to the byline with regularity.

Jarrett headed in Hansberry's free-kick with three minutes remaining to make it ten. There was still time for one more, Wilson raced past two defenders, looked up, and drilled a cracking low finish past Mannion to round out the victory in style.

Wexford now have a two week break but return to action on October 1st with a huge league encounter away to UCD Waves.

The following weekend the Ferrycarrig Park side will be in FAI Cup semi-final action with the draw to be made in the coming days.

WEXFORD YOUTHS: Sophie Lenehan; Linda Douglas, Orlaith Conlon, Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer; Becky Cassin; Aisling Frawley, Orla Casey, Kylie Murphy (capt.), Emma Hansberry; Claire O'Riordan. Subs. - Amy Wilson for Murphy (73), Siobhan Doolan for Frawley (76), Rianna Jarrett for Dwyer, inj (85), also Sadbh McCarthy, Aoibhín Webb, Megan Cahill, Jenny O'Keeffe.

MANULLA: Laura Mannion; Linda McDonnell, Michelle Ruane, Sinead Flannery, Aisling Flannery; Tracey Hall (capt.), Ciara Joyce, Aoife Frayne, Megan Costello; Mary Gill, Hannah Flatley. Subs. - Mary Coyle for McDonnell (71), Orlagh Henry for Ruane, inj (74), Laura King for Gill (80), also, Simona Fernandes.

REFEREE: Michelle O'Neill (Wexford).

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