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Wexford Youths Women did the necessary as they overcame bottom side Kilkenny United in the Continental Tyres Women's National League in Thomastown on Sunday.

The visitors had the game all-but won when the half-time whistle sounded as they vitally got back to winning ways after two less than stellar performances versus rivals Shelbourne and Galway.

Youths entered the game still with four of their key players missing in the shape of Claire O'Riordan, Rianna Jarrett, Aoibhinn Webb and Aisling Frawley, who were all sin Taipei with the Irish Universities squad.

Nevertheless, it was a game Wexford were expected to win against a Kilkenny side which had been haemorrhaging an average of 4.7 goals per game.

They began in the driving seat. Katrina Parrock had headed an early cross well wide of the mark before Wexford's first real opportunity.

Orla Casey, who had started well, measured a through ball into Emma Hansberry's path. Hansberry succeeded in rounding ex-Wexford 'keeper Tamara Furlong but saw her shot deflected into the side-netting.

Parrock should have opened her account from the resulting corner but she blazed over at the back post.

Wexford's early pressure did pay dividends in the 13th minute. Another straight ball from midfield, this time by Edel Kennedy, beat the less than impressive Kilkenny defence and Kylie Murphy raced onto it to round Furlong and tap into an empty net.

Wexford remained in almost total control after the goal and Parrock went close again from a quality Linda Douglas delivery before a slightly miscued Jenny O'Keeffe ball from deep rattled the bar.

The hosts shuffled their pack early by switching Niamh Plunkett with Erica Byrne and sending Rachel Hutchinson onto the right wing. You couldn't say it delivered the desired impact as Wexford had the ball in the net twice more in the following six minutes.

Another O'Keeffe cross was this time on the money and Parrock nodded home her first goal in a Youths jersey at the near post.

Just like buses, you wait ages for one to come and then two come along at once - the story of Parrock's day. No more than three minutes after heading home her first, she finished expertly from the edge of the box, sending her powerful shot above Furlong and just under the crossbar.

Youths were briefly caught napping afterwards and Sophie Lenehan was almost embarrassed when Plunkett tried to catch her off her line, only for her shot to fly harmlessly over. At the other end Parrock and Orla Casey saw speculative efforts off target.

After the re-start, the Ferrycarrig side quickly killed any hope Kilkenny may have had of a fightback. O'Keeffe and Murphy linked up before playing in Hansberry whose sublime chip from the left side beat Furlong all ends up.

There was some joy to be had for the home side and it came in the 54th minute.

Beth Carroll's floated cross was poorly dealt with and Plunkett crashed a volley past Lenehan from a tight angle.

The last half hour was something of a nothing game. Wexford's foot had come completely off the pedal after Hansberry's fourth and Kilkenny seemed happy to lose by only three.

This was made even painfully obvious when referee Mitch Corrigan ordered Kilkenny to speed up their re-starts. What that says about their aspirations and self-belief is a story for another day.

Nonetheless, Wexford could have used the second-half to help their creative confidence a little more than they did.

A few chances did fall their way as they went through the motions. Parrock blazed over again after being fed by Hansberry and Amy Wilson went close after she dribbled past the majority of the hosts' defence.

Wexford Youths' next game is a crucial one at home to challengers Shelbourne on Saturday. They currently sit four points clear at the top of the league having played one game more than their nearest chasers, Peamount and Shelbourne.

After some sketchy form of late they will need to be back at their best to play Shelbourne or run the risk of the title race falling out of their control.

Wexford Youths: Sophie Lenehan; Lauren Dwyer, Orlaith Conlon, Nicola Sinnott, Jenny O'Keeffe; Emma Hansberry, Kylie Murphy (capt.), Edel Kennedy, Orla Casey, Linda Douglas; Katrina Parrock. Subs. - Amy Wilson for Dwyer (62), Siobhán Doolan for Parrock (77), Megan Cahill for Murphy (86), also Sadbh McCarthy, Becky Cassin, Jess Gleeson.

Kilkenny United: Tamara Furlong; Beth Carroll, Ciara Delaney (capt.), Erica Byrne, Cliodhna Ní Shé; Leanne Tumelty, Sylvia Gee, Rachel Hutchinson, Sarah O'Donoghue, Aislinn Carroll; Jenny Chambers. Subs. - Nicky Plunkett for Byrne (24), Niamh Kelly for Carroll (52), Ria Lawson for O'Donoghue (72), also Sarah Smith, Megan Butler.

Referee: Mitch Corrigan (Kilkenny).

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