2023 LOIW Season Preview: Wexford Youths

Manager:  Stephen Quinn

Stadium:  Ferrycarrig Park

Players In:  Abbie Brophy (Bohemians), Orlaith Deasy (Cork City), Emily Corbet (Athlone Town), Louise Corrigan (DLR Waves), Shauna Carroll (DLR Waves), Rianna Jarrett (London City Lionesses)

Players Out:  Cliodhna Donnelly (DLR Waves), Becky Watkins (Peamount Utd)


extratime.com Key Player:  Ellen Molloy

Playing either as a centre forward or, more commonly, just behind the main striker, Molloy is the talisman of this Wexford Youths side. Over the past two seasons she has scored 29 goals in 45 league appearances, adding 2 more goals in the Cup from 4 appearances.

But like all great players the stats barely do justice to her influence. Molloy is the type of player who constantly demands the ball and when she gets it people stop breathing because, no matter where she is on the pitch or how unlikely it may appear to be, the probability of a goal being scored has just gone up significantly.

An injury suffered during the run in last season will keep Molloy out of the Wexford line-up until after the World Cup this Summer. Her absence until then will be problematic for manager Stephen Quinn, just as her return - whenever it comes - will undoubtedly prove a massive boost to the latter half of Wexford’s season.

extratime.com One to Watch:  Ceola Bergin

Bergin arrived at Ferrycarrig Park from Treaty United’s U17s last Summer and for those following the women’s underage leagues it represented something of a coup for the Youths.

Throughout last season no weekend seemed complete without twitter tales of another Bergin hat-trick and by the season’s end she had claimed 26 goals in the National U17 league. She also made her senior debut, coming on as a sub in Wexford’s FAIW Cup semi-final defeat to Athlone Town.

She’s still young and there’s a rocky road to travel before she reaches her potential but if and when the time comes for Bergin to step into Wexford’s senior team get out the popcorn!

Last Season:  League 4th

Wexford were one of the four teams involved in the remarkable title run-in last season. They went into the final game of the season knowing that victory against Shelbourne in Ferrycarrig Park would win them a fifth WNL title, but a 4-0 defeat meant that they dropped all the way down to 4th place.

In their first 23 league games Wexford lost just three times. Then came the season ending injury to Ellen Molloy, after which the Youths won only one of their remaining four league matches, dropping points to all three of their title rivals.

But for all the positives that 2022 brought them, Wexford’s season cannot help but be defined by that last day defeat at the hands of Noel King’s Shelbourne. So much hung on the outcome of the game and had it been closer there might have been some solace to be taken, but the 4-0 defeat was real deflater for a team that had performed so well throughout the year.

FAIW Cup:  Semi-Finals

A good win in the quarter-finals over DLR Waves gave Wexford a decent start in the Cup but their semi-final pairing with Athlone Town would deliver another gut punch to Stephen Quinn’s side.

It was the first game that they played without the injured Ellen Molloy and a magnificent hat-trick by Maddison Gibson sent them back down south with a serious black eye. It was the first sign that the run in to the season was not going to go their way.

What to expect in 2023:

Expect a serious title challenge from Wexford in 2023. A strong squad has been strengthened over the winter and they look like the most realistic obstacle to Shamrock Rovers who have signed up so many of the top players ahead of their return to the Women’s national league.

Among the players who have come to Wexford this year are Abbie Brophy who was so impressive with Bohemians in 2022. They have also picked up wide midfielder Shauna Carroll and centre back Louise Corrigan from DLR Waves.

But the two star signings are Emily Corbet who rattled in 23 goals for Athlone last season, and Rianna Jarrett who returns from a three year spell in England with Brighton and the London City Lionesses.

Jarrett had a phenomenal career with Wexford prior to her English sojourn and if she can protect herself from injury she can have a significent influence on this year’s campaign.

Despite the continued absence of Ellen Molloy it would be a major surprise if Wexford finish outside the top two.

First Game: Galway United (a)  (Saturday 4th March - ko 2pm)