1 Rianna

Wexford Youths have one hand on the Continental Tyres National League trophy after a Rianna Jarrett goal midway through the second-half saw them edge past nearest rivals Shelbourne in Ferrycarrig Park.

It way by no means the prettiest goal the Irish international will ever score, but that won't matter one jot to her and her team-mates as they moved six points clear at the top of the table with just three games to play.

The all-important goal came with 68 minutes on the clock, when Emma Hansberry whipped in a corner from the left, and after an almighty scramble Jarrett forced the ball over the line.

Both sides created-half chances in an the first-half as the sides sounded each other out and the hosts were first to have a sight of goal when Katrina Parrock fired over the bar in the seventh minute.

Shelbourne threatened three minutes later and it was the same result, with Rachel Graham shooting too high after a Jessica Ziu corner was cleared to her feet at the edge of the area.

Moments later Parrock raced through on goal at the other end but she was stopped in her tracks by a superbly-timed challenge from former Wexford Youths stalwart Jess Gleeson.

Wexford Youths came close to breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute when Edel Kennedy teed up Rianna Jarrett, but she swept her first-time effort narrowly off target.

At the other Jessica Ziu saw her shot deflected wide, while Kennedy and Parrock both fired off target for Wexford.
The home side were seeing more of the ball and they signalled their ability to carve open the Shels defence in the 27th minute, when Emma Hansberry found McKenna Davidson on the right wing with a searching pass and when the Hawaiian whipped the ball into the box Jarrett was on to it but she couldn't get enough purchase on her shot.

Edel Kennedy was next to try her luck, when she shot straight at Amanda McQuillan from the edge of the area as Wexford began to build up a head of steam, but neither goalkeeper was seriously troubled in the opening half.

Chances continued to be few and far between in the early stages of the second-half, with the first effort of note coming when Doireann Fahey's long-range free-kick sailed over the bar shortly before the hour mark, while moments later Jarrett turned smartly but her shot lacked the power to trouble McQuillan.

However, Wexford struck for a precious goal with just over 20 minutes remaining when Hansberry's corner caused panic in the Shelbourne defence and Jarrett bundled the ball to the net.

Shelbourne really began to up the ante, and after Isibeal Atkinson fizzed a shot narrowly off target, Sophie Lenehan was forced to tip a Jamie Finn effort from a tight angle around the post and they just about managed to clear their lines from the resulting corner after a few hearts skipped a beat.

The Dubliners suffered a blow when Malinda Allen had to retire injured with five minutes remaining after they had used all three substitutes and Wexford Youths came close to doubling their advantage late on when Jarrett saw her stinging shot well saved by McQuillan.

Wexford Youths: Sophie Lenehan, Nicola Sinnott, Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon, Doireann Fahey, Katrina Parrock (Becky Cassin 89), Kylie Murphy (capt.), Edel Kennedy, Emma Hansberry, McKenna Davidson (Aisling Frawley 64), Rianna Jarrett.

Shelbourne: Amanda McQuillan, Seana Cooke, Pearl Slattery, Jessica Gleeson, Niamh Prior, Jamie Finn, Malinda Allen, Rachel Graham, Allanah McEvoy (Siobhán Killeen 65), Jessica Ziu (Isibeal Atkinson 65), Noelle Murray (capt.) (Emily Whelan 73).

Referee: Darren Ennis.

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