Shelbourne Ladies' Leanne Kiernan celebrates scoring. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

17-year-old Kiernan stars as sensational Shels claim FAI Cup glory

Mark Leavy’s side gained revenge after they were beaten by Wexford Youths in last year’s final.

17-YEAR-OLD Leanne Kiernan was the star of the show as Shelbourne ran out 5-0 victors in today’s Women’s FAI Cup final.

Kiernan claimed a hat-trick, while Gloria Douglas and Noelle Murray were also on target as Shels gained revenge on Wexford Youths, who beat them on penalties in last year’s final.

Speaking to RTÉ after the match, manager Mark Leavy paid tribute to his Shels side, saying: “There’s more in this Shels team, more in our youth team, and hopefully there’ll be trophies for many years to come.”

The game sprung to life in the 19th minute, when Murray’s inch-perfect through ball was latched on to by Kiernan before the teenager was taken down for a penalty.

However, Murray’s weak spot kick was saved. as Sophie Lenehan got down well to her left to make the stop.

Murray made no mistake a few minutes later, however. Lenehan and Youths’ defence failed to deal with a dangerous Courtney Higgins ball into the box, and the impressive attacker was on hand to volley the ball home at the second attempt, after her initial shot was blocked.

Shels’ advantage was doubled on 34 minutes. Douglas’ defence-splitting pass was collected by the onrushing Kiernan, who rounded Lenehan and finished coolly.

Wexford Youths had a glorious chance to get back in the game shortly thereafter, as Nicola Sinnott worked an opening on the edge of the box, but her powerful strike was well saved by the alert Amanda McQuillan.

The Dubliners then made it three on the brink of half-time with a wonderful team goal. After some neat build-up play, the influential Murray played an incisive through ball, and Kiernan outpaced her marker before producing another clinical finish.

Wexford had another decent chance in the early stages of the second half. The Shels defence failed to deal with a ball into the box, and it broke for Aoibhin Webb, but McQuillan again denied Wexford, as the shot came off her trailing leg and went out for a corner.

Noelle Molloy Shelbourne's Noelle Molloy celebrates. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

The game all but ended as a contest just after the hour mark in somewhat bizarre fashion. Killeen delivered a superb cross, and Douglas’ header initially hit the bar, but Lenehan snatched at the ball as she tried to collect it and it spun cruelly into the net.

In the 79th minute, Kiernan claimed the hat-trick her stunning performance warranted. Jessica Gleeson was harshly adjudged to have fouled Siobhan Killeen in the box, and the teenager fired her penalty in off the bar to complete Shels’ comprehensive victory.

Wexford Youths: 18. Sophie Lenehan 3. Orlaith Conlon 4. Jessica Gleeson 9. Claire O’Riordan. 10. Aoibhin Webb 14. Emma Hansberry 15. Aisling Frawley 16. Nicola Sinnott (c) 17. Linda Douglas 20. Maria Delahunty (Snell 87) 21. Amy Walsh (Hutchison 69).

Subs: 1. Tamara Furlong 7. Becky Casssin 8. Aoife Prendergast 11. Rachel Hutchison 22. Chelsee Snell. 23. Leanne Tumelty 25. Sinead Gaynor

Manager: Gary Hunt

Shelbourne Ladies: 16. Amanda McQuillan 2. Seanna Cooke 3. Niamh Walsh 4. Pearl Slattery (c) 6. Alex Kavanagh 8. Rachel Graham (Craven 83) 9. Leanne Kiernan (Watters 87) 10. Noelle Murray 11. Siobhan Killeen (Donnelly 87) 18. Courtney Higgins 24. Gloria Douglas

Subs: 1. Niamh Reid Burke 5. Shauna Newman 14. Fiona Donnelly 15. Lynn Craven 19. Sophie Watters 21. Sarah Rowe 22. Grace Murray

Manager: Mark Leavy

Referee: Deirdre Nolan

LIVE: Liverpool v Watford and Swansea v Man United, Premier League>

As it happened: Shelbourne Ladies v Wexford Youths, WFAI Cup final>

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