Strong Under-17 start
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.