Monday 19 August 2019

Wexford bounce back to claim European scalp

Wexford Youths manager Tom Elmes. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Wexford Youths manager Tom Elmes. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Their hopes of qualification are over, but the players of Wexford Youths made their mark in the Women's Champions League with a big weekend win in Lithuania.

The Irish champions bounced back from an opening loss to Albanian side Vllaznia to register a 2-1 success over Gintra - the hosts for the round robin.

It leaves Tom Elmes' team second in Group B, three points behind Vllaznia with a game remaining.

However, as groups are decided on head-to-head results rather than goal difference, Wexford know they can't go through even if they beat Birkirkara of Malta tomorrow.

Still, they have taken heart from the Gintra success as it has brought further recognition to their exploits.

Earlier in the week, Wexford's attempts to raise funds to pay for their trip to Lithuania had received publicity in Ireland and beyond.

Their players already pay their way to play for the club and - while they will receive support from UEFA - it is costing the amateur squad time and money to participate at this level.

As of yesterday evening, their GoFundMe page showed that more than €3,000 had been raised out of a possible target of €15,000.

They came from behind to win on Saturday, with the hosts taking an early lead before McKenna Davidson levelled things up before the interval.

She turned provider for Lauren Kelly's decisive second-half strike.

"It's a fantastic result for us and it was fully deserved," said Elmes.

"We spoke about how we felt after the Vllaznia game and going into this game. There was a fear factor about it, the fear of failure so we addressed that and got into a positive mindset.

"The team stuck to the game-plan and it worked to a tee, it was one of those games when it all came together. We've got a big game on Tuesday and we want to finish as high as we can."

Irish Independent

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