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'It's probably the strongest group we've ever been drawn against, but every player will put their body on the line'

Wexford Youths captain Kylie Murphy says her side are raring to go ahead of this week’s Uefa Women’s Champions League ties in Lithuania.

“SOCCER IS STEPPING in again and taking over my life as usual.”

Kylie Murphy Wexford Youths captain, Kylie Murphy. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

While the rest of Kylie Murphy’s Wexford Youths team-mates flew out to Lithuania on Monday afternoon, the team captain stayed on a day longer.

It wasn’t work commitments holding her up, nor was it any additional work with a physio or the team’s coaching staff.

She was getting married.

“I’m very lucky to have an understanding wife,” she admits. She and partner Essmay tied the knot on Saturday and had just two days to enjoy the celebrations before Murphy was off again attempting to steer Wexford’s season back on track.

“The Champions league was always in the back of my mind – I’d never want to let the girls down. 

I just needed to get over the tiredness. Two-and-a-half years planning a wedding and the weekend just gone was the climax. Tom [Elmes, manager] didn’t mind because I’d spoken to him earlier in the year.”

Just over three hours on a plane and another hour on a bus brought her to Alytus where she will prepare for three Uefa Women’s Champions League games over the course of the next week.

“It’s like a slight little honeymoon that Essmay is going to spend with my family,” she laughs. “We’re going to head away shortly after we get back so there’s no problem.”

Wedding celebrations will take them to Croatia, but right now all the focus is on the task at hand in southern Lithuania.

Their campaign gets underway at 11am Irish time against Albanian opposition KF Vllaznia Shkodra – a second iteration of the three-time Albanian top-flight winners KF Ada Velipojë who were disbanded and moved to Vllaznia in 2013.

Elmes’ charges then face home favourites Gintra Universitetas on Saturday before completing their third and final game against Maltese side, Birkirkara FC.

“This is probably the strongest group we’ve played in of all the times we’ve been in the competition. It’s all going to be about how quickly players recover.

You always have to take into account that we’ll never play three games in one week, nevermind three games at this high a standard and in that heat. All these things play a part.

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“But every player out there is going to put their body on the line.”

Despite back-to-back defeats to title rivals Shelbourne, the 30-year-old knows her side won’t linger on their disappointing domestic performances.

“We just have to park that. It would have been nicer to go in with one or two wins against Shels. That would have kept the confidence high. But these things happen, you have to be able to take your losses and keep moving forward. 

I’ve been involved with Wexford and we’ve had an awful lot of losses and bad days and we always picked ourselves up before. 

“With the league being the way it is and us not doing overly well, the Champions League now for us is a big focus.

“The first game is the biggest. A loss in your first game doesn’t set you up well for a good week. A draw today wouldn’t be too bad.

“But if we don’t play well in the first game, that’s it.”

Kick-off today is at 11am Irish time, you can watch the game live here.

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