Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
Wexford Youths stretched their unbeaten run to a dozen games in the Women’s National League with a narrow 1-0 victory over Galway at Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday afternoon.
Edel Kennedy’s first goal of the season was enough to see the visitors claim the three points in Galway despite a valiant effort by the Tribeswomen for the 90 minutes.
The home side had the first shot on target with Lauren Dwyer being required to clear the ball off the line when Savannah McCarthy had a shot on goal after Shauna Brennan dropped the ball into the box from the corner flag in the fifth minute.
Youths came more into the game as the half progressed however, and they had their first shot on target in the 14th minute when Edel Kennedy fancied her chances from long range. Galway’s Maja Zajc dove across her goal to deny the midfielder.
Just two minutes later Ciara Rossiter caused a bit of chaos in the Galway box with a dangerous cross from the left wing. It found Dwyer on the far side of the box and her flop shot required a quick reaction from Zajc who only just managed to slap the ball away from goal.
Kylie Murphy was first to the ball and rattled a shot off only for Therese Kinnevey to get between the ball and the open goal mouth to deny Wexford a goal.
The Tribeswomen conceded in unfortunate circumstances in the 34th minute when Zajc failed to control a Dwyer shot from distance. Kennedy was quick with her reaction to swoop in and punish the goalkeeper by stripping the ball and putting it into the net.
Wexford’s lead was nearly doubled just three minutes later when Aoibheann Clancy struck a corner kick high into the box. Zajc managed to punch the ball away but it fell to Murphy who rattled the crossbar with her effort.
A slow second half was kicked into life on the hour mark when Zajc was called into action once again to deal with a pacey Aisling Frawley cross into the box with the goalkeeper managing to block the ball down.
The resulting clearance was poor with Frawley taking hold of the ball once again, passing to Sinead Taylor across the box whose shot was only just blocked down by the Galway defence.
Zajc redeemed herself after her earlier mistake when Youths broke away after a corner in their half in the 76th minute leaving Kinnevey in the Galway half to deal with the oncoming Rossiter, Taylor and Ellen Molloy who carried the ball into the box.
Molloy played the final pass to the unmarked Taylor in the box but Zajc pounced bravely to smother the striker’s shot and prevent the goal.
Zajc made another great save to hold Youths to one goal in injury time when the shot stopper had to react quickly to an Ellen Molloy shot that looked like it was curling in, the goalkeeper just got her fingertips to it to put it behind and deny the midfielder.
Galway WFC: Maja Zajc; Therese Kinnevey, Ruth Fahy (Becky Walsh 76), Shauna Brennan; Julie-Ann Russell, Nicole McNamara (Abbie Callanan 76), Savannah McCarthy (c), Meabh de Burca, Aoibheann Costello (Saoirse Healy 90); Aoife Thompson (Anna Fahey 80), Lynsey McKey.
Subs not used: Hannah Walsh, Elena van Niekerk, Chloe Moloney.
Booked: Becky Walsh (87).
Wexford Youths Women: Kiev Gray; Nicola Sinnott, Ciara Rossiter, Lauren Dwyer, Della Doherty; Kylie Murphy (c) (Freya DeMange 90), Ellen Molloy, Edel Kennedy, Aisling Frawley, Aoibheann Clancy; Sinead Taylor (Kira Bates-Crosbie 83).
Subs not used: Fiona Ryan, Katie O’Regan, Doireann Fahey, Maeve Williams.
Booked: Kylie Murphy (45) Edel Kennedy (77).
Referee: Paul Norton
extratime.com Player of the Match: Edel Kennedy (Wexford Youths)