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A 73rd minute strike from Emily Whelan was enough for Shelbourne to lift the Só Hotels Women's National League Cup after a hard-fought battle with Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park.

The visitors shaded it in terms of chances in a tight opening half and had the first sight of goal with just two minutes on the clock when Alex Kavanagh tried her luck from the edge of the area, forcing Maeve Williams to palm the ball around the post.

Shelbourne briefly thought they had broken the deadlock in the 14th minute when Jamie Finn put Emily Whelan in the clear, and although she clinically dispatched the ball to the corner of the net their celebrations were cut short by the assistant's offside flag.

Wexford Youths gradually grew into the game and carved open the Shels' defence for the first time in 29th minute when McKenna Davidson put Rianna Jarrett through with a perfectly-flighted pass down the right wing, but goalkeeper Amanda McQuillan was equal to the striker's fierce shot from a prohibitive angle.

However, Shels continued to look the more likely and three minutes later the Dubliners threatened again when former Youths player Jess Gleeson headed a Jessica Ziu corner off target.

Ziu was again the provider five minutes before the break, hitting a pass for Whelan to chase, but Williams was quickly off her line to avert the danger.

The hosts almost ended the first-half on a high though, when Rianna Jarrett curled a free-kick narrowly over the top two minutes before the interval.

Shelbourne came out after the break with the bit between their teeth and quickly caused a few hearts to skip a beat in the Youths defence, but the hosts eventually managed to clear their lines after a bit of pinball in the penalty area.

They were at it again in the 55th minute when Alex Kavanagh's cross was met by the head of Noelle Murray but her effort was well held by netminder Williams.

However, the game settled back into a familiar pattern, with chances few and far between, and it increasingly looked like one goal would settle the contest.

After Jamie Finn had fired wide that decisive moment came in the 73rd minute when Emily Whelan drove into the box from the left and managed to squeeze the ball past Williams from an acute angle.

Shelbourne were determined to put the game to bed and moments later Finn warmed the gloves of Williams from distance.

Wexford tried to breach a water-tight Shels' defence late on but the visitors were in no mood to bow down and comfortably held out for a deserved success.

Wexford Youths: Maeve Williams, Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon, Doireann Fahey, McKenna Davidson (Katrina Parrock 84), Kylie Murphy (capt.), Edel Kennedy, Ciara Rossiter (Lynn Craven 73), Blessing Kingsley (Aoife Slattery 66), Rianna Jarrett.

Shelbourne: Amanda McQuillan, Jess Gleeson, Pearl Slattery (capt.), Rachel Graham (Jess Gargan 65), Chloe Mustaki, Emily Whelan, Jamie Finn, Alex Kavanagh, Jessica Ziu, Allanah McEvoy (Kate Mooney 81), Noelle Murray (Isibeal Atkinson 73).

Referee: Michelle O'Neill

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