Leesiders crush cup hopes
Women's FAI Cup Semi-Final in Bunclody: Wexford Youths 0 Cork City 3
Wexford Youths' hopes of a league and cup double were shattered by a scintillating display from Cork City in their Continental Tyre's Women's FAI Cup semi-final in Bunclody A.F.C. on Saturday.
The Slaneysiders will now have to pick themselves up for their crucial top of the table league encounter against Peamount United at Ferrycarrig Park next weekend, while Cork City have a first-ever cup final appearance to whet the appetite, thanks to second-half goals from Meghan Bourque, Clare Shine and Katie McCarthy.
The Youths started with the same eleven that had impressively beaten UCD Waves in the league a week earlier, and confidence appeared to be high as they enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half an hour, and kept Cork City goalkeeper Amanda Budden on her toes.
The hosts created the first real moment of danger on 16 minutes when an Emma Hansberry corner was cleared off the line, and midway through the half Budden had to be alert to keep them at bay after a goalmouth scramble.
However, despite having to soak up the earlier pressure, Cork refused to buckle, with Danielle Sheehy and Danielle Burke making life difficult for Wexford, and the Munster side grew more into the game as the half wore on.
They had their first opportunity of note six minutes before the interval when Saoirse Noonan fired a 20-yard free-kick on target, but goalkeeper Sophie Lenehan was equal to the effort.
Wexford Youths may have been marginally the better side in the opening 45 minutes, but it was a different story after the interval, with the visitors coming out all guns blazing.
Cork City showed their attacking intent just two minutes after the turnaround when Katie McCarthy made a searing run up the left flank, before picking out Clare Shine.
Netminder Lenehan was beaten by Shine's first-time shot but was relieved to see the strike come back off the upright and rebound to safety.
The Leesiders didn't have to wait too long for the breakthrough though, grabbing the opener with 52 minutes on the clock.
Maggie Duncliffe sent a wonderfully-flighted free-kick into the danger zone and Meghan Bourque rose highest at the back post, angling a superb header to the net.
Wexford Youths tried to recover quickly from the setback and they came close to making an instant reply when Claire O'Riordan got on the end of Emma Hansberry's free-kick, but her header was narrowly over the bar.
Moments later the Youths again threatened when O'Riordan flicked a long delivery into the path of substitute Rianna Jarrett, but Amanda Budden was quickly off her line to thwart the striker's effort.
Wexford were soon left rueing those missed opportunities when in the 77th minute Clare Shine made it two, applying a clinical finish after running on to a sublime through ball from Saoirse Noonan.
Cork City then wrapped up a deserved success deep into injury time when Katie McCarthy rifled the ball to the net from a prohibitive angle, and they can now look forward to the cup final meeting with UCD Waves in the Aviva Stadium in four weeks' time.
Wexford Youths have no choice but to quickly lick their wounds and get on with things, as they have a crucial league match with Peamount United at Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday evening, a game that will have a massive bearing on the destination of the title.
Wexford Youths Women: Sophie Lenehan, Orlaith Conlon, Jess Gleeson, Lauren Dwyer, Nicola Sinnott, Kylie Murphy, Edel Kennedy, Emma Hansberry, Aisling Frawley, Linda Douglas, Claire O'Riordan. Subs. - Rianna Jarrett for Douglas (53), Katrina Parrock for Sinnott (77), also Aoibhinn Webb, Jenny O'Keeffe, Orla Casey, Sadhbh McCarthy, Siobhán Doolan.
Cork City W.F.C.: Amanda Budden, Danielle Burke, Natalie O'Brien, Ciara McNamara, Maggie Duncliffe, Meghan Bourque, Danielle Sheehy, Kate O'Donovan, Clare Shine, Katie McCarthy, Saoirse Noonan. Subs. - Christina Dring for O'Brien (85), Tara O'Gorman for Sheehy (90), also Eve Badana, Courtney O'Keeffe, Mary Barrett, Angie Carry.
Referee: Michelle O'Neill (Wexford).
New Ross Standard