Cup specialists Wexford out to foil champions Shelbourne’s double bid

Results this season show there is little to choose between two evenly-matched sides

Kylie Murphy: the Wexford captain has proved  a revelation this season in her new role as striker, scoring 15 goals, and  is  nominated for the senior player of the year award. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Kylie Murphy: the Wexford captain has proved a revelation this season in her new role as striker, scoring 15 goals, and is nominated for the senior player of the year award. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Women’s FAI Cup final – Shelbourne v Wexford Youths, Tallaght Stadium, Sunday, 5.30 (live on RTÉ 2)

If Shelbourne and Wexford Youths come even close to recreating the drama of their league meeting last Saturday, then the crowd at Tallaght Stadium on Sunday will be royally entertained when the sides square up in the FAI Cup final.

Shelbourne, of course, now have a double in their sights after beating Wexford 3-2 in their final league fixture, that result combined with Peamount United’s 5-2 shock defeat by Galway on the same night making them champions for the first time since 2016.

And 2016 is the last time they won the cup, beating, of all people, Wexford, avenging their defeat on penalties to the same opposition the year before.

Shelbourne haven’t made it to a final since, but Wexford lifted the cup in both 2018 and 2019, getting the better of Peamount on both occasions, so they have the stronger pedigree in the competition in recent times.

There’s been little between the teams this year, though, their first meeting ending in a scoreless draw at Tolka Park in May, their second going Wexford’s way, Marie Grant’s late goal giving them a home win in August despite having had a player sent off, before Shelbourne prevailed last weekend.

Both squads are teeming with experience and youthful promise. Wexford teenagers Ellen Molloy and Aoibheann Clancy have been included in the Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifying games against Slovakia and Georgia, as have Shelbourne’s Ciara Grant and Saoirse Noonan.

Clancy and Molloy, along with Shelbourne’s Jessie Stapleton, are the nominees for this year’s SSE Airtricity National League young player of the year, while Wexford captain Kylie Murphy – a revelation this season in her new role as striker, scoring 15 goals – is nominated for the senior player of the year award, along with Galway’s Savannah McCarthy and Peamount’s Karen Duggan.

The only prize they have their eyes set on for now, though, is the FAI Cup. After one win, one draw and one defeat each this season against each other, Sunday is the tie-breaker.

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