Wexford Youths completed the first part of a potential treble as they secured the Continental Tyres WNL Development Shield by defeating Cork City 5-4 on penalties at Turner’s Cross.
With the score level at 0-0 after extra time, a penalty shootout was required and Sophie Lenihan’s sensational save from Saoirse Noonan allowed Aisling Frawley to slot home the decisive spot-kick to seal Wexford’s second ever shield success.
City started the game brightly and they twice went close to break the deadlock at the beginning of the first half.
Katie McCarthy drilled narrowly wide of the far bottom right corner from a tight angle moments before Republic of Ireland Under-19 international Noonan thumped an effort over from the edge of the area.
The best chance of the first half fell to Wexford but Frawley just couldn’t direct McKenna Davidson’s in-swinging cross past Amanda Budden from close range.
The Leesiders again went close to edging in front on the hour mark but Noonan’s powerful effort from the edge of the penalty area drifted just wide of the far top-right corner.
City were inches away from grabbing a winner in normal time but Christina Dring was desperately unlucky to see her header from Maggie Duncliffe’s corner crash against the underside of the bar.
Cork again went close to grabbing the decisive goal in extra time but Noonan was denied by a fantastic save from Sophie Lenihan shortly before her long-range effort deflected just past the right post.
So the destination of the Shield had to be decided on penalties and after Lenihan saved Noonan’s spot kick, Frawley fired the winner home against the under-side of the bar to give Wexford the honours.
"It wasn’t our best performance but the experience of the girls really showed," said Wexford Youths manager Tom Elmes.
"They dug in deep where they had to because it’s tough coming to Turner’s Cross and coming to Cork playing them here but I thought the girls deserved it just for their work rate alone.
"It’s a nice way to win it definitely. When you’re on the side and you’re nervous about penos it’s a nice relief to see them all go in. It’s a tough way to lose, I think you would rather see it go in the 90 minutes really.
"We’ve always said we’ll take it one game at a time so now this is out of the way – it’s a Shield and we’re delighted with that - but we plan to see the league out now and then we can plan for the FAI Cup semi-final.
"We’ll take one at a time."
Cork City WFC: Amanda Budden, Nathalie O’Brien, Ciara McNamara, Savanah McCarthy, Eabha O’Mahony, Maggie Duncliffe, Eadaoin Lyons (Hannah O’Donoghue 74), Katie McCarthy, Kate O’Donovan (Danielle Burke 63), Christina Dring (Courtney O’Keefe 115), Saoirse Noonan.
Wexford Youths: Sophie Lenihan, Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon, Becky Cassin, Kylie Murphy, Katrina Parrock (Rachel Hutchinson 80), Aisling Frawley, McKenna Davidson (Ciara Delaney 105), Edel Kennedy, Emma Hansberry.
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan.