Strong Un­der-17 start

Enniscorthy Guardian - - SPORT -

FEED­ING OFF the ex­am­ple set by the first team, the Wex­ford Youths Women’s Un­der-17 side are un­beaten af­ter three games of their league sea­son to date.

It has been a fan­tas­tic first month of com­pet­i­tive fix­tures for the girls in pink, with a win and two qual­ity away draws un­der their belts.

While the cam­paign is only three games old, much more prepa­ra­tion has gone into get­ting this team up to a level that is com­pa­ra­ble to other teams in the league.

Man­ager Alan Browne has as­sem­bled a com­mit­ted back­room team that in­cludes as­sis­tant man­ager Ea­monn Kent, head coach Shaun Hore, as­sis­tant coach Xan­der Cool­bear, an­a­lyst Mike Raftery and coach Leanne Tumelty.

The Fer­rycar­rig Park side have been placed into Group 2 with Lim­er­ick, Cork City, UCD Waves and Grey­stones. In this short­ened sea­son they play all four twice, with the top two qual­i­fy­ing for the semi-fi­nals at the end of the round-robin stages.

Youths have put them­selves in a great po­si­tion to nab one of those two spots. They started off the cam­paign with a tricky trip down to Lim­er­ick and fell be­hind in the first-half when Aoife Hor­gan latched onto a per­fectly weighted pass and dis­patched it to the net.

How­ever, Wex­ford have an ace in their pack and she pro­duced later in the first-half. Bless­ing Kings­ley is an Ir­ish Un­der-16 in­ter­na­tional and has been in great form right from the open­ing game, when she got on the end of a cor­ner to make it 1-1.

Both sides had chances to break the tie in the sec­ond-half. It was end-to-end stuff but it fin­ished in an ex­cel­lent draw for the vis­i­tors.

Week two gave Youths their one and only home game so far as Grey­stones made the short trip down the N11.

Mid­way through the first-half the vis­i­tors opened the scor­ing with a good close-range goal by Mirabel Aikhion­bare.

Wex­ford didn’t take long to re­spond and it was su­per striker again, Bless­ing Kings­ley, with the equaliser be­fore the break.

A draw wasn’t go­ing to work for Youths in their home opener and they went af­ter the win in the sec­ond-half. Cap­tain Ni­amhie Tay­lor-Hughes put her team on her back with a fan­tas­tic long-range strike to give Wex­ford the lead.

With their first lead of the sea­son, Wex­ford played with great con­fi­dence and ran out com­fort­able win­ners.

Kings­ley grabbed her sec­ond be­fore Kira Bates-Cros­bie got her name on the score­sheet late in the game to give Youths a 4-1 win.

In their lat­est game, Wex­ford went the other way and headed north to face UCD Waves. It took Kings­ley less than a minute to latch on to Laura But­ler’s de­fence-split­ting pass and open the scor­ing in Jack­son Park.

UCD did equalise later in the first-half and the sides went in at the break level-peg­ging. Youths played some su­perb football in the sec­ond-half and de­served more from the game than the 1-1 draw they ended up get­ting. It is enough to leave them on terms with Cork and Lim­er­ick at the sum­mit af­ter three games.

As well as Kings­ley, goal­keeper Maeve Wil­liams has had a very im­pres­sive start to the sea­son, as has mag­nif­i­cent cen­tre-half Breda Cushen.

Wex­ford will need those three and more to be at their best when they wel­come high-fly­ing Cork City to Fer­rycar­rig Park on Sat­ur­day.

Wex­ford squad: Maria O’Cal­laghan, Sarah Martin, Cliodhna Don­nelly, Beth Eves­son, Kira Bates-Cros­b­sie, Breda Cushen, Molly Crow­dle, Melissa Walsh, Rachael Doyle, Bless­ing Kingston, Maeve Wil­liams, Sarah Sig­gins, Ni­amhie Tay­lor-Hughes, Hol­lie Sin­nott, Maddy Law­son, Faye Larkin, Shan­non McGovern, Ni­amh Tormey, Eimear Gab­bett, Laura But­ler.

The Wex­ford Youths Women’s Un­der-17 soc­cer squad.

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