Lauren Kelly's first-half brace helped Wexford Youths to secure the Só Hotels FAI Women’s Cup, defeating Peamount United 3-2 in a five-goal thriller at the Aviva Stadium
The reigning Cup champions enjoyed the perfect start to the game as they took the lead in the third minute thanks to a clever finish by Kelly from the edge of the box.
The 2019 league winners got back on terms in the 32nd minute thanks to Karen Duggan’s long-range effort, but Wexford were back in front two minutes later as Kelly doubled her tally.
The Dublin side started the second half well and were back level in the 52nd minute, however a well-worked team effort saw captain Kylie Murphy slot the ball home in the 64th minute to take the cup back to Wexford once again.
Wexford Youths lead in the FAI Cup final! Lauren Kelly has scored after just three minutes https://t.co/KhlHYpyigp #RTEsoccer pic.twitter.com/wDyH95djsc— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) November 3, 2019
A repeat of last year's Cup final, the two sides know each other inside out at this stage and both starting elevens bore a strong resemblance to the teams that lined out at Lansdowne Road 12 months ago.
Wexford, of course, without last year’s winning goalscorer Katrina Parrock, while Peamount have had to adjust with the departure of Ireland striker Amber Barrett, who is now playing her club football in Germany.
And it was the reigning champions rather than the league winners who started the brightest with Jarrett instrumental early on pushing her side forward from a deeper role.
Strike partner Kelly also looked lively, dropping off the defence and looking for the ball in to feet.
And it took less than three minutes to break the deadlock as a fine individual effort from Kelly left Peamount stopper Niamh Reid-Burke rooted to the spot as she got into a great postion on the edge of the box, having dispossessed Claire Walsh out on the left flank.
The clever finish from the Wexford striker was no more than a side-footed pass into the bottom right corner, which completely deceived the keeper.
Jarrett then had a chance to double the tally just two minutes later and while she raced clear into the box, some fine Louise Corrigan defending prevented her from getting a strike on goal.
But it was all Wexford in the opening exchanges as Peamount failed to get a foothold in the game, despite the best efforts of captain Aine O’Gorman, who was enjoying good possession on the ball.
The Ireland international worked the ball well into the final third with nine minutes on the clock, however, Megan Smyth-Lynch was unable to deliver a worthy cross, following an excellent slide-rule pass.
Peamount gradually worked their way into the game, and while a couple of corners and an O’Gorman shot could not test the Wexford goal, they would eventually restore parity in the 32rd minute.
Here's Karen Duggan's lovely leveller for Peamount in the FAI Women's Cup final #RTEsoccer https://t.co/KhlHYpPT7X pic.twitter.com/8dHuQdTLT0— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) November 3, 2019
Good work down the right flank before the ball was worked inside and played into the box; the ball was only half-cleared thanks to the dogged determination of Niamh Farrelly, helping the ball find Duggan with her back to goal 22 yards out.
One touch for the midfielder before she unleashed a right-footed effort into the top corner, out of reach of Ciamh Dollard in the Wexford goal.
But 90 seconds later, Wexford restored their lead and again it was Kelly who was on hand to drive the ball home.
A hopeful ball worked in from the right flank caused problems in the Peamount defence and again the defenders were unable to clear the danger.
The ball was worked square across the edge of the box and it fell kindly to Kelly who showed real class to kill the ball with her first touch before catching her half-volley with the outside of the right foot to loop the ball over the retreating Reid Burke.
One off the line and one off the woodwork as Peamount looked to get back on terms late in the half, the first from a corner not taken by the keeper and the second, a fine strike from the left by O’Gorman who saw her well-hit effort hop off the bar and over.
At the other end, the ever-classy Jarrett found space in the box just before the break but was unable to add a third as she smashed the ball into the side-netting.
The second half was just six minutes old when Ryan-Doyle squared the contest once again with a speculative effort from well outside the box.
Dollard was just off her line and was beaten by the height of the shot, the Wexford stopped unable to claw the ball out to prevent it dropping it into the back of the net.
And the momentum remained with the Dublin side who went in search of a third and it almost arrived after 57 minutes as Ryan-Doyle connected with a fine cross from Farrelly – the striker just unable to guide her header on target.
Here's the goal that has Wexford Youths ahead in the FAI Women's Cup final #RTEsoccer pic.twitter.com/pDHht0RaIb— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) November 3, 2019
But goal number five would see Wexford take the lead for the third time in the contest.
A goal made by Jarrett and finished by captain Murphy put Wexford in the driving seat with just over 25 minutes remaining.
The ball was sent in from the left by Kelly found Jarrett on the edge of the box, who played the perfect pass into the feet of the arriving Murphy who held her composure to slot the ball low to the keeper’s left and into the corner of the net.
Chances at both ends as the game really opened up with Walsh and Jarrett both seeing their well-hit shots saved, before Wexford substitute McKenna Davidson was handed a gift by the keeper who failed to gather a straightforward ball into the box.
The midfielder latched onto the loose ball but her squared effort was cleared as Peamount remained in the contest.
Entering the final ten minutes and it was Wexford who appeared to have more left in the tank and Jarrett nearly sealed the victory with a strike that would have been worthy of winning any Cup final.
But the Ireland striker could only look on as her fiercely hit shot cannoned off the near post and out of danger.
Peamount pushed on as the game moved into injury time but Wexford, to their credit, looked untroubled as they saw the game to its conclusion, sparking celebrations on the pitch and with their large contingent of travelling supporters.
Peamount United: Niamh Reid-Burke; Lauryn O’Callaghan (Niamh Barnes 68), Louise Corrigan, Claire Walsh, Dearbhaile Beirne; Lucy McCartan (Naima Chemaou 55), Karen Duggan, Niamh Farrelly, Aine O’Gorman (capt), Megan Smyth-Lynch Eleanor Ryan-Doyle
Wexford Youths Women: Ciamh Dollard; Lynn Craven, Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon; Kylie Murphy (capt), Edel Kennedy, Aisling Frawley (Blessing Kingsley 85), Ciara Rossiter (McKenna Davidson 61); Rianna Jarrett, Lauren Kelly
Referee: Sarah Dyas