Dylan O'Connell reporting from Bishopstown
Blessing Kingsley’s first half strike was the difference on Sunday afternoon, as Wexford Youths saw off Cork City WFC in the under 17 league semi final. In what was a near complete performance by the visitors, Youths produced a rounded and polished performance across the ninety minutes at Bishopstown.
It was a dominance which shone through from the first minute after Neema Nyangasi took it off the line to deny Sophie Liston. Out of this, Wexford quickly found their stride and seconds later nearly went into the lead after Eimear Bates Crosbie turned in a corner from Eimear Gabbatt, but it was disallowed for an infringement. This did nothing to deter Wexford, who went into a fine spell in possession, highlighted by the individual brilliance of Kingsley. Paced and technical, the winger had a number of chances, in a period which ended in an excellent curling shot which grazed the cross bar.
Despite City’s beginning to grow in confidence, Wexford gathered and soon were ahead. Once again driven by Kingsley, the attacker saw a curled effort saved by Leah Hayes Coen in goal, before catching the rebound and tapping it in.
The restart saw a number of chances fall for the Rebel Army. Substitute Aoibhe Noonan had a ball taken off the line, before Liston a point blank volley was handled away by Jean Kavanagh Doyle in goal. Liston was at the end of this attacking wave from City, seeing a header narrowly wide from a Gibson corner. Through each resulting scramble, Wexford where discipled as the defensive partnership of Becky Connaughton and Aimee Bates Crosbie cleared.
This sense of frustration underlined City’s performance throughout the half. Passing and moving the ball, the home side were often electric in possession. Then as everything seemed to click, a combination of brilliance from Doyle in goal, and the slightest of margins would repeatedly deny an equalizer.
Midway through the half, Kingsley continued to push Wexford in attack. The striker nearly grabbed a second after meeting the end of a Freya Roche free kick, but the awareness of Coen in goal sprawled, covered and pushed it out for a corner. Out of this, the striker saw a cleanly headed effort land direct into the hands of Coen.
Deep into injury time, City looked to have found the equalizer after Jesse Mendez played Singleton through, but as the charging striker hit the net, the referee’s whistle sounded for offside.
Cork City Woman: Leah Hayes Coen, Leah Murphy, Robin Carey (Aoibhe Noonan 45’), Lauren Walsh, Jess Redfarm, Rosanna Kiely, Sophie Liston, Jesse Mendez, Nadine Seward, Olivia Gibson (Emer McCarthy 65’), Lauren Singleton.
Subs not used: Meghan Carr, Shannon Morrissey, Abby McCarthy, Caoimhe Mulchay, Hazel Walsh.
Wexford Youths: Jean Kavanagh Doyle, Becky Connaughton, Aimee Bates Crosbie, Neema Nyangasi, Breda Crushen, Laura Butler (Seren Ward 55’), Freya Roche, Beth Evesson, Eimear Gabbatt, Eimear Bates Crosbie, Blessing Kingsley.
Subs not used: Amie Dreelan, Maria O’Callaghan, Amie McDonald, Maeve Williams, Shanise O’Rielly.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Blessing Kingsley.