Report: Wexford Youths 2-0 Rovers Women

Experience was the key factor as hosts Wexford Youths negotiated first-time visitors Sligo Rovers with a hard-earned victory in the Women’s National League at Ferrycarraig Park on Saturday evening, writes Conall Collier.

Rovers travelled with some degree of confidence buoyed by a first home win last Saturday against Treaty Utd.

It was a first visit to Ferrycarraig Park for Steve Feeney’s team to tackle an experienced Wexford side that had won four FAI Cup finals and four League titles since 2015.

That was the enormity of the task facing a Bit O’Red side that has adapted quickly to the demands in a debut season at senior level.

Kristen Sample, Emma Hansberry and Amy Hyndman all started for Sligo Rovers as manager Feeney made three changes from the victory against Treaty with Amy Mahon, Sarah Kiernan and Amy Roddy all dropping to the bench.

Wexford dominated the early exchanges, but were unable to make any impact against a Sligo Rovers rearguard in which Orna O’Dowd and Leah Kelly were outstanding.

Kristen Sample handled confidently throughout and saved well from a Kylie Murphy header in the 22nd minute and again from the same player close to the interval.

However, Wexford grabbed the lead in the 38th minute when Becky Watkins displayed superb control in the penalty area before finishing to the net for the wind-assisted hosts.

Wexford continued to call the shots in the second-half with Ellen Molloy narrowly wide in the 49th minute and then Kristen Sample saved again from Kylie Murphy.

The Bit O’Red continued to battle with great determination and that had a frustrating impact on the hosts who, nevertheless, capitalised on some defensive hesitancy with nine minutes remaining to make it 2-0.

Sample saved spectacularly from Murphy, but Ciara Rossiter pounced on the loose ball and finished to the net to wrap up the victory.

Emma Hansberry limped out of the action for Sligo Rovers nine minutes from time while the hosts were denied a third goal when Sample denied Watkins in the 85th minute.

Wexford Youths – Maeve Williams; Orlaith Conlon, Della Doherty, Kylie Murphy, Teegan Lynch, Becky Watkins, Ellen Molloy, Ciara Rossiter, Meabh Russell, Nicola Sinnott, Aoibheann Clancy.

Subs – Emma Donohoe for Sinnott 76 mins, Jess Lawlor for Murphy and Siun Murdiff for Lynch both 85 mins, Freya De Mange for Rossiter and Freya Roche for Molloy both 88 mins.

Sligo Rovers – Kristen Sample; Leah Kelly, Ruth Monaghan, Emma Hansberry, Orna O’Dowd, Amy Hyndman, Gemma McGuinness, Lauren Boles, Emma Doherty, Aoife Brennan, Katie Melly. Subs – Fiona Doherty for Brennan 66 mins, Lauren McLellan for Melly 76 mins, Amy Roddy for Hansberry and Kerri O’Hara for Kelly both 81mins, Ciara Henry for F Doherty 88 mins.

Report: Conall Collier