An­other hat-trick for Jar­rett as Kilkenny hit for six

Enniscorthy Guardian - - SPORT - DEAN GOOD­I­SON

AN­OTHER RIANNA Jar­rett hat­trick helped Wex­ford Youths ease past hosts Kilkenny United at The Water­shed on Wed­nes­day, a win that sent them nine points clear at the top of the Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Women’s Na­tional League ta­ble.

The vic­tory means that the Fer­rycar­rig Park side need a max­i­mum of 16 points from their fi­nal seven games to wrap up their fourth ti­tle in five sea­sons.

That magic num­ber could drop while Wex­ford are in Cham­pi­ons League ac­tion, with fel­low chal­lengers Shel­bourne and Peamount set to meet.

Hav­ing made their way onto the 40-point mark (out of a pos­si­ble 42), Youths have now matched their tally from the whole of last sea­son. It has taken them four fewer games to hit that mark, and they have scored 16 more goals in those games and con­ceded nine less.

On the face of it, this game looked like the type of con­test to nav­i­gate, take the points and pick up no new in­juries. In that sense it was a suc­cess but in the end it felt a lit­tle more like a missed op­por­tu­nity, as strange as that sounds in a six-goal win.

Man­ager Tom Elmes set up his side with one eye on how they would ap­proach Ajax to­day (Tues­day) in the open­ing game in the Cham­pi­ons League. It was more rigid, less ex­pan­sive than you would ex­pect against a team that was there for the tak­ing.

There is cer­tainly merit in that, and any­one would want to be pre­pared as best as pos­si­ble for the huge chal­lenges that await, but this sys­tem is well drilled at this stage.

The ques­tion re­mains, how well are Wex­ford pre­pared for chas­ing a game should they fall be­hind? This was an op­por­tu­nity to play sce­nario football.

Ar­guably there would have been more merit in start­ing Becky Con­roy and McKenna David­son, two play­ers who will be ab­so­lutely vi­tal if Wex­ford fall be­hind.

Water­ford na­tive Con­roy of­fers pace and con­sis­tent de­liv­ery from wide ar­eas, and af­ter Ais­ling Fraw­ley she is prob­a­bly the most nat­u­ral in that po­si­tion.

David­son, who has been nurs­ing a quad in­jury, has shown in her lim­ited min­utes that her tech­ni­cal abil­ity is su­pe­rior to any­one else in the Wex­ford squad.

While un­doubt­edly hold­ing the abil­ity to play wide, the Hawai­ian’s game looks a nat­u­ral fit in be­hind Jar­rett, and she is some­one who could dove­tail with Emma Hans­berry, swap­ping po­si­tions to keep op­po­nents off-bal­ance.

It seems likely that Elmes will stick with the safe op­tions, as he did in this game, but ei­ther could con­trib­ute mean­ing­fully from the start too. Wex­ford were com­fort­able through­out this but weren’t able to re­lax un­til they got the opener from Kylie Mur­phy’s free­kick in the 33rd minute.

Kilkenny prob­a­bly weren’t try­ing to cre­ate their own ver­sion of ‘De­flate­gate’ be­fore kick-off but ref­eree Ja­son Nolan had some prob­lems find­ing a football from the hosts that wasn’t un­der-in­flated. When the game did get un­der way, Wex­ford dom­i­nated.

Most of the ini­tial pos­i­tiv­ity came down the right with Fraw­ley prov­ing a hand­ful, while on the other side Ka­t­rina Par­rock was try­ing to fig­ure out Kilkenny’s high de­fen­sive line and their con­tin­u­ally suc­cess­ful off­side trap.

The best chance they cre­ated came when Fraw­ley got to the by­line and maybe should have cut it back along the ground, but chose to loft it for Rianna Jar­rett to vol­ley wide from eight yards.

A sim­ple throw rou­tine saw Orla Casey lay off to Par­rock but she fired over a short time later.

Wex­ford won a free-kick when Casey got a hefty kick in the 32nd minute. Jar­rett struck it pretty well but a lit­tle high and it sailed over.

How­ever, when Doire­ann Fa­hey was hacked down by Bron­agh Kane mo­ments later, Kylie Mur­phy stepped up and curled a per­fect free-kick un­der the cross­bar for the opener.

Things got eas­ier there­after. Par­rock slipped a pass to Jar­rett on the left edge of the area in the 39th minute, and she cut in­side, got a nice break off the de­fender’s heel and curled across goal to the cor­ner.

Right on half-time Par­rock rose high to nod home Fraw­ley’s cor­ner from two yards out to make it 3-0.

Kilkenny pushed a lit­tle af­ter the re­sump­tion but were hit with a sucker punch in the 57th minute when Jar­rett crossed low for Par­rock to make it four.

Striker Jar­rett took a lovely, long and low Ni­cola Sin­nott pass, turned and smacked a 25-yarder past Ni­amh Coombes seven min­utes later.

McKenna David­son was only on the field a few min­utes when she ran from her own half, beat two watch­ers and sent a su­perb slide-rule pass through for Jar­rett to com­plete her hat-trick.

David­son then had the ball in the net with eight min­utes left but was de­nied by a very close off­side call.

Jar­rett prob­a­bly should have made it seven when Coombes par­ried Aoife Slat­tery’s shot into her path but, to her credit, the Kilkenny ‘keeper got back up to make a solid save.

Wex­ford will re­turn to league ac­tion on Au­gust 18 with a home game against Lim­er­ick.

Wex­ford Youths: Ci­amh Dollard; Ni­cola Sin­nott, Lau­ren Dwyer, Or­laith Con­lon, Doire­ann Fa­hey; Aoife Slat­tery, Kylie Mur­phy (capt.); Ais­ling Fraw­ley, Orla Casey, Ka­t­rina Par­rock; Rianna Jar­rett. Subs. - Becky Cassin for Con­lon (53), Becky Con­roy for Mur­phy (63), McKenna David­son for Dwyer (65), also Cliodhna Ní Shé, Ciara De­laney, So­phie Lene­han.

Kilkenny: Ni­amh Coombes; Aoife Bro­phy, Shauna Martin, Ciara Ma­her, Jade Grant; Kayla Cool­ing, Sarah O’Donoghue (capt.); Bron­agh Kane, Michaela Fox-Walsh, Ann Marie Burke; Carla McManus. Subs. - Colleen Rickards for Grant (46), Ni­cole Plun­kett for Fox-Walsh (53), Jen­nifer O’Neill for Cool­ing (68), also Tif­fany Roberts, Leah Doyle.

Ref­eree: Ja­son Nolan (Kilkenny).

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