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Dublin: 17 °C Monday 17 June, 2019
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Wexford Youths hold their nerve from the spot to win dramatic Women's Cup final

It was a pulsating contest from start to finish at the Aviva Stadium.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Shelbourne 2

Wexford Youths 2

IN THE MOST dramatic of circumstances, Wexford Youths crowned a stellar year as they upset the odds to lift the FAI Women’s Cup for the first time at the Aviva Stadium.

Trailing to Siobhan Killeen’s stunning second-half strike, the league champions forced the contest into extra-time with a 95th minute equaliser after Ciara Rossister bundled the ball home from close range.

The tie would eventually go the distance but not before Shelbourne conjured a late leveler of their own. With virtually the last kick of a pulsating affair, Dearbhaile Beirne popped up to cancel out Maria Delahunty’s volley.

Willie Doyle’s side then held their nerve from the spot as teenage goalkeeper Tamara Furlong emerged as the hero after coming on shortly before half-time.

A first-half devoid of much quality gave little indication as to what was to follow after the interval. Ireland international Killeen, who was last year’s match-winner, lit up the Aviva Stadium with a strike worthy of winning any game, not least a cup final.

For long periods, it looked like it would prove to be the difference between two sides who exchanged served up an entertaining affair despite the horrendous conditions in Dublin.

Wexford were nearly left to rue a succession of missed chances as Rachel Hutchinson and Kylie Murphy both squandered opportunities as the clock ticked down.

But five minutes of added time gave Wexford renewed hope and they eventually found the equaliser their performance had merited.

Shels failed to deal with the initial free-kick and after the ball came off the crossbar, Rossister was on hand to send the Wexford bench into raptures.

Ciara Rossiter with Siobhan Killeen Wexford's Ciara Rossiter with Siobhan Killeen of Shelbourne. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The momentum had firmly shifted in their favour and they forced the issue in extra-time before hitting the front with five minutes remaining. It appeared Shels goalkeeper Niamh Reid Burke had been fouled in the build-up but Delahunty’s effort was unstoppable.

Shels channeled their sense of injustice as Beirne showed great composure to slot home from close range after another goalmouth scramble.

But Wexford weren’t to be denied. Noelle Murray’s miss from twelve yards tipped the balance in Youths’ favour and there was no comeback this time for Shels.

Shelbourne: Niamh Reid Burke; Niamh Walsh, Pearl Slattery, Shauna Newman, Keeva Keenan; Grace Murray, Siobhan Killeen, Rachel Graham, Jamie Finn, Rebecca Creagh; Noelle Murray.

Wexford Youths: Mary Rose Kelly; Nicola Sinnott, Ciara Rossiter, Edel Kennedy, Ruth Fahy; Kylie Murphy, Emma Hansberry, Ashling Frawley, Linda Douglas; Claire O’Riordan, Carol Breen.

Referee: Paula Brady.

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Ryan Bailey

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