Wexford Youths Women 1-0 Peamount United
Katrina Parrock’s strike proved the difference as Wexford Youths defeated Peamount United 1-0 in the Women’s FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium
The Wexford midfielder latched onto a Rianna Barrett flick in the 33rd minute before showing a moment of individual brilliance to send the ball home.
The Dublin side failed to really spark a fight-back and will surely rue several missed opportunities early in the game to take control of the game.
Wexford actually sprung a surprise ahead of the game as Ireland international Rianna Jarrett was named in the starting XI.
The forward had been ruled out of the game earlier this week as she is still recovering from a broken bone in her foot, but Tom Elmes picked her to lead the line for Youths.
A few thousand spectators turned out for the first part of this FAI Cup double-header and filled the lower levels of the east and west stands for this early kick-off.
And the action was evident from the off as both sides went on the attack. Wexford were first to show but it did not take long for Peamount to assert their dominance as the Dublin side bossed the early stages.
Wexford keeper Sophie Lenehan proved the busiest player on the pitch throughout those opening ten minutes as she first thwarted Ireland striker Amber Barrett racing onto a fine ball over the top, before making a couple of vital saves from Aine O’Gorman and Eleanor Ryan-Doyle.
Megan Smyth-Lynch was also a constant thorn in the Wexford side as she cut in from both flanks, trying her luck from distance with that excellent left foot she possesses.
The game settled down as Wexford eventually got to play a bit of ball in the opponents’ half but the respite was short-lived as Peamount again took advantage and almost opened the scoring following a sublime back-flick from Barrett, teeing up Smyth-Lynch, but again her shot just cleared the cross-bar.
Wexford grew into the game and finally created a fine effort at goal following some excellent work on the right flank by Emma Hansberry.
The right winger skipped inside before playing a clever square ball, back-flicked inside to set up captain but Kylie Murphy smashed her well-hit effort wide of the up-right.
Wexford then had the ball in the back of the net in the 33rd minute following a set-piece drilled in from the left wing.
Peamount keeper Naoisha McAloon was unable to hold the ball and Edel Kennedy was on hand to slot the loose ball home.
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But the goal would not count as both the officials spotted an infringement, and they were spot on, as Jarrett had shoved Peamount defender Chloe Moloney into the keeper as the ball arrived into the six-yard box.
However, there was no disputing the opening goal, which arrived just one minute later, and this time Wexford could prolong their celebrations as Katrina Parrock helped the ball home from close range.
A throw-in on the right flank was helped down the line to Hansberry, who whipped in a dangerous ball into the box. Jarrett helped it on to the arriving Parrock, who, with her back to goal, managed to flick it over her head, turn and side-foot the ball home, despite some last-ditch Peamount defending.
Peamount tried to hit back straight away but Eleanor Ryan-Doyle missed a good opportunity to level matters as half-time approached.
With the game into first-half injury time, Barrett was sent flying down the left flank and raced into the box before coming a cropper due to the covering Wexford defender Orlaith Conlon.
An attempted tackle got nowhere near the ball as Barrett went down under the challenge but the referee was well-placed and did not spot an infringement, perhaps thinking Barrett went down a bit too easily.
Peamount started the second half as they did the first, taking control, and immediately had a great chance to test the keeper, following more good work on the left from Smyth-Lynch.
The ball eventually fell to Karen Duggan at the edge of the area but her sliced effort flew wide.
But Wexford slowed the game, enjoying plenty of possession in the opposition half without really threatening, while Peamount striker Barrett was left isolated up front with support slow to arrive.
Peamount did manage another chance in the 60th minute, from a corner kick, as Moloney’s header at the back post just bounced the wrong side of the post.
Barrett then created a chance on goal out of nothing in the 69th minute as she swivelled and shot from the edge of the box, but the excellent Lenehan easily gathered.
Jarrett’s Cup final inevitably came to a premature end as bowed out in the 72st minute due to her foot injury.
And as the game entered the final 15 minutes, the onus remained on Peamount to attempt to drag themselves back into the contest.
O’Gorman made space for a shot from distance but she dragged her effort wide before Barrett threw herself to the turf in the 78th minute in an attempt to win a penalty – this time, however, the referee’s decision was easy due to the striker’s theatrics.
Barrett could have been booked for simulation and could have been in more trouble in the 83rd minute when she barged into the back of Conlon, sending her flying into her own keeper. The official failed to adequately punish the petulance.
Peamount piled the pressure on Wexford for the final few minutes and will feel aggrieved that they were not awarded a spot-kick late in injury time, but, otherwise, the Dublin side never really looked like taking the game into extra time as Youths saw out the four minutes of additional time to secure the Cup.
Wexford Youths Women: Sophie Lenehan; Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon, Doireann Fahey; Kylie Murphy, Edel Kennedy, Emma Hansberry, Katrina Parrock (McKenna Davidson 80), Aisling Frawley; Rianna Jarrett (Orla Casey 72).
Peamount United: Naoisha McAloon; Lauryn O’Callaghan (Louise Masterson 90), Louise Corrigan (capt), Chloe Moloney, Lucy McCartan (Claire Walsh 56); Niamh Farrelly, Aine O’Gorman, Karen Duggan, Megan Smyth-Lynch (Dearbhaile Beirne 64); Eleanor Ryan-Doyle, Amber Barrett.
Referee: Vicki McEnery.