Galway United came out on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline as Wexford Youths came away with all three points on a historic day for the club in Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday afternoon.
Former Galway United chairman Bernie O’Connell compared the occasion to the club’s previous historic achievements – playing in the League Cup for the first time in 1976, qualifying for Europe in 1985 and winning the FAI Cup in 1991, and he paid tribute to people behind Galway WFC who represented the county in the Women’s Premier Division for a decade with distinction.
There was to be no perfect start for Galway United in the Women’s Premier Division as they were beaten 1-0 by a strong Wexford Youths side on Saturday afternoon.
The Youths attacking line-up is one of the strongest in the league and it was no surprise that they were on the front foot early on. Abbiegayle Ronayne was called into action a number of times in the early exchanges but managed to deal with the visitors.
Ronayne made a great save when Ireland international Rianna Jarrett was in on goal in the fourth minute and minutes later she made an excellent defensive punch clear when Aoibheann Clancy dropped a dangerous ball into a crowded area from a corner kick.
United were dealing with the attacking threat of the visitors well and midway through the first half they started putting together some tidy passing manoeuvres in the middle of the park. Gemma McGuinness fancied her chances from long distance, but Maeve Williams claimed the ball well in her goal.
Galway’s defence were managing the game well with Jamie Erickson intervening time and time again to frustrate the visitors – Emily Corbet had the ball at her feet in the 35th minute only for the Canadian to strip the ball off the striker and clear to safety.
The Tribeswomen had the ball in the net in the 42nd minute courtesy of a lovely headed goal by Erickson from a Jenna Slattery free-kick delivery, the flag went up for offside immediately to the frustration of the United players.
United began the second half brightly with a great chance to take the lead in the 50th minute as they put Wexford under intense pressure in the final third, the final sot fell to Abbie Callanan on the edge of the box, but her effort was inches wide of the post.
Ronayne was on hand to make another save minutes later as Ciara Rossiter fired off a shot from long distance, the goalkeeper denying the visitors once again.
Galway United captain Lysney McKey narrowly fired over in the 58th minute after having a first shot blocked by defender Nicola Sinnott. The forward had a second bite of the cherry and very nearly found the net from the edge of the box only for the ball to graze the crossbar.
The visitors were in on goal in the 78th minute when Abbie Brophy received the ball inside the box from Jarrett, Ronanye showed great bravery as she raced off her line to deny the midfielder from close range.
Despite United’s excellent defending all afternoon, the visitors made the breakthrough with just ten minutes to go – some intense pressure from Wexford saw the ball eventually break to Ciara Rossiter inside the box, she stroked the ball into the bottom right corner for the winning goal.
Galway United Women: Abbiegayle Ronayne; Eve Dossen, Jamie Erickson, Therese Kinnevey, Amy Madden (Aoibheann Costello 80); Gemma McGuinness, Jenna Slattery, Kate Thompson; Abbie Callanan (Rola Olusola 72), Lynsey McKey, Aoife Thompson (Isabella Beletic 88).
Subs not used: Leah Brady, Roisin Jacob, Nicole McNamara, Kayla Brady, Jessica Berlin, Jodie Griffin.
Referee: Daniel Murphy
(Image courtesy of Mick O’Shea)