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Cork City put in a spectacular performance against Wexford Youths Women to book their first-ever place in the Continental Tyres Women’s FAI Cup final. 

Second half goals from Meghan Bourque, Clare Shine and Katie McCarthy meant the visitors ran out 3-0 winners at Bunclody AFC.

The Youths named an unchanged starting eleven from the one that defeated UCD Waves 2-0 in league action one week previous, and it was Wexford who started the game in the ascendancy.  For the first half hour Wexford were keeping the ball at the Cork end, and putting significant pressure on the Cork City keeper Amanda Budden. 

On 16 minutes a Wexford corner from Emma Hansberry was cleared off the line, and ten minutes later there was another goal-mouth scramble that had Amanda Budden prevent an early goal for her side once again.

While Wexford had the advantage in territory and possession, Cork were highly spirited from start to finish, and any deep advances into the Cork half were made difficult by Danielle Sheehy and Danielle Burke. 

After surviving the initial danger, Cork created their first significant chance on 39 minutes.  After a good move through the centre by Maggie Duncliffe, a free kick was won in a dangerous area just about 20 yards from goal.  Saoirse Noonan stepped up, but the shot was well saved by Lenehan in the Youths goal. 

The sides entered the break scoreless, with Wexford perhaps feeling they were doing enough to be at the Aviva Stadium in 4 weeks’ time.

However, Cork came out of the blocks in the second half with greater energy, and it would not be long before they were seriously testing the Youths defence.

Just two minutes into the second half, Katie McCarthy made a spectacular attacking run up the left, her cross finding Clare Shine.  Shine’s first-time shot beat the keeper, but crashed off the post and away.  This was a sign of things to come for Wexford.

On 52 minutes, Cork had their opener.  A free kick was won just inside the Youths half, and Duncliffe sent a superb delivery to the far post.  Meghan Bourque rose highest, and made an excellent header to give Cork a 1-0 lead.

The goal roused the Youths, and they quickly went in search of an equalizer.  One minute after the goal, Wexford’s Emma Hansberry had a free kick of her own headed just over the bar by Claire O’Riordan. 

Shortly afterwards there was another major chance for the home side, a long ball forward was flicked on by O’Riordan to the feet of substitute Rianna Jarrett.  Amanda Budden came out well to block away the shot.

While Wexford had their best period at this point in the game, Cork would soon kill off any chance of a Wexford come-back.  A high ball forward came to Saoirse Noona who played a perfect through ball to Clare Shine.  Shine was clinical in her finishing to make it 2-0 to Cork City. 

Wexford brought on winger Katrina Parrock to go in search of a goal, but had little success.  As time wore on it became clear that it was to be Cork’s day.  Deep into additional time, a superb shot from Katie McCarthy from a tricky angle made it 3-0 to the visitors, to jubilant celebrations from the travelling fans and staff of Cork City. 

While the scoreline was certainly healthy up front, enormous credit is also due to the Cork City goalkeeper, Amanda Budden who had this to say after the game

“I’m delighted to be honest, I can barely breathe –I ran the length of the pitch at the end to celebrate – I wasn’t expecting it to be like that.”

The result means that both the men’s and women’s teams of Cork City will compete at the FAI Cup final day at the Aviva Stadium on November 5th – guaranteeing a wonderful occasion for women’s football on the day.  Budden was thrilled with the prospect of the Cork women’s first FAI cup final:

“The men’s and women’s teams are there together, this is the biggest achievement for Cork City.  We will keep our heads down and get back to 100% fitness.  Now we want to go and beat Shelbourne or UCD Waves once and for all”

Teams:

Wexford Youths Women:  Sophie Lenehan, Orlaith Conlon, Jess Gleeson, Lauren Dwyer, Nicola Sinnott (Katrina Parrock 77), Kylie Murphy, Edel Kennedy, Emma Hansberry, Aisling Frawley, Linda Douglas (Rianna Jarrett 53), Claire O’Riordan

Subs not used:  Aoibhinn Webb, Jenny O’Keeffe, Orla Casey, Sadhbh McCarthy, Siobhan Doolan

Cork City WFC: Amanda Budden, Danielle Burke, Natalie O’Brien (Christina Dring 85), Ciara McNamara, Maggie Duncliffe, Meghan Bourque, Danielle Sheehy (Tara O’Gorman 90), Kate O’Donovan, Clare Shine, Katie McCarthy, Saoirse Noonan

Subs not used:  Eve Badana, Courtney O’Keeffe, Mary Barrett, Angie Carry

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