Edel Kennedy 35' -
Wexford Youths and Shelbourne clashed for the third time in less than a month at Ferrycarrig Park on Wednesday evening in the inaugural Women’s National League Shield final.
A first-half goal from Edel Kennedy – her sixth in four games –was enough to give Youths a 1-0 victory in front of their home support.
In a cagy opening period were both sides looked to cancel each other out, Wexford had the game’s first real chance when Claire O'Riordan's shot hit the side netting. Skipper Kylie Murphy was next to try her look, but she could only blaze wide from outside the penalty area.
With clear cut chances at a premium Kennedy will feel she should have done better with her headed effort after she failed to trouble Amanda McQuillan in the Shels goal after she connected with an Emma Hansberry corner.
Moments later, Hansberry was involved again this time her dangerous free-kick sailed high over the crossbar. Soon after Shelbourne’s best chance of the opening period arrived. A corner from winger Siobhan Killeen was not properly cleared by the Youths defence before Sophie Watters saw her shot deflected and from the rebound Pearl Slattery forced a brilliant close range save from Tamara Furlong.
The game's decisive moment arrived with less than ten minutes remaining in the opening period. A Hansberry free-kick was headed off the woodwork by Ruth Fahy before Kennedy blasted into an empty net from close range.
Moments later Youths should have doubled their advantage when Claire O’Riordan headed past the onrushing McQuillan in the Shelbourne goal, however, Keeva Keenan made a fantastic goal saving clearance and scooped the ball away off the goal-line.
With Shels chances being restricted during the opening period Watters fired over from the edge of the box before both Megan Lynch and Killeen went down claiming a penalty, however, referee Michelle O’Neill waved play on.
When the side’s emerged from the break. Shels had a great opportunity to equalise when Slattery’s headed effort forced a brilliant stop from Furlong in the hosts goal. Minutes later, half-time substitute Leanne Kiernan fired over from the edge of the penalty area.
As the visiting side continued to create chances, Youths keeper Furlong done extremely well to race off her line to deny Lynch who had broken the offside trap. On the hour mark, O’Riordan forced a good stop from McQuillan after the forward shot while going away from goal.
With the home side continuing to grow into the second period, both Fahy and Hansberry’s efforts on goal were blocked down just outside the penalty area before moments later, Rebecca Creagh fired wide for Shelbourne.
As the clock continued to wind down, Shelbourne continued to search for an equaliser with Kiernan forcing a good save from the Youths keeper with her first time shot from a Killeen pass.
Soon after, Youths had a chance of their own, but Nicola Sinnott failed to direct Hansberry's cross goalbound. With injury time fast approaching, Shelbourne had two brilliant opportunities to equalise first Kiernan blazed over from the edge of the penalty area before Killeen shot from the edge of the box after cutting back inside her defender, however, her effort was brilliantly blocked by Sinnott.
Despite the late rally from Shelbourne, Wexford Youths held on for a 1-0 victory to ensure Willie Doyle’s side now hold three of the four major trophies available.
Wexford Youths Women: Tamara Furlong (GK): Nicola Sinnott, Jessica Gleeson, Ruth Fahy, Orlaith Conlon: Becky Cassin ( Amy Walsh 86), Emma Hansberry, Edel Kennedy, Kylie Murphy, Linda Douglas (Aisling Frawley 69): Claire O’Riordan (Shauna Wall 74)
Subs Not Used: Rachel Hutchinson, Megan Whitty
Shelbourne Ladies: Amanda McQuillan(GK): Keeva Keena (Fiona Donnelly 62), Pearl Slattery, Niamh Walsh, Dearbhaile Beirne: Siobhan Killeen, Rachel Graham, Megan Lynch (Alex Kavanagh 74), Sophie Watters ( Leanne Kiernan HT): Noelle Murray, Rebecca Creagh
Subs Not Used: Annie Timoney, Niamh Barnes, Kim Turner, Courtney Higgins
Booked: Slattery (34), Killeen (90+2).
Referee: Michelle O’Neill
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Emma Hansberry (Wexford Youths)