On Sunday afternoon at Tallaght Stadium Wexford Youths boss Will Doyle saw his side crowned Women’s National League champions for a second consecutive year and after the game he spoke to Extratime.ie about his side’s victory over Shelbourne Ladies.
“Absolutely thrilled” smile the Wexford manager when asked about how he was feeling after finally sealing a second league crown. “Obviously the reactions of the girls they’re delighted. I think those ten days that we had to recover from the couple of weeks [seven games in 22 days] that was massive for them to get themselves [recovered correctly]. We actually got to train this week, which paid dividends in the end so absolutely delighted for the girls.”
With seven of the starting 11 that defeated Shelbourne in the FAI Cup final absent due to injuries and other commitments, Doyle has seen his side stretched in recent weeks and he admits they took a gamble on the fitness of Irish international Jess Gleeson and despite the defender being forced off when trailing 1-0 he was delighted with the character shown by his side.
“Yeah, look we took a risk on Jess [Gleeson] to start her in the match and we were 1-0 down when we eventually took her off after a whole 35 minutes with a hamstring injury so I mean when that happened, I’m sure any other team would have let their heads drop and the game would have been over and Shels would have walked away with it, but not this group of girls they are way too connected and way too driven to let something like that stop pushing for their own destiny.”
After star forward Claire O’Riordan failed to find the net against both Shelbourne eleven days ago and Galway WFC in Eamonn Deacy Park, the Limerick native produced two moments of magic that helped her side to glory and the Youths boss revealed the huge run of games had taken its toll on the forward, but she was always going to score in the big games.
“Look Claire was always going to score goals. I think unfortunately her fitness isn’t where it could be and when she had such a run of games where she had to play so many matches in such a short space of time she just wasn’t able to do it fatigue wise and those ten days showed why Claire O’Riordan can score goals at the best of times in the big matches.”
After Shelbourne defender Niamh Walsh slipped to leave a gaping hole in their defence for O’Riordan’ second goal, the Youths boss explained he was hoping his forward would find the target after she blazed wide from a similar situation in his side’s 3-1 defeat to Shels.
“It happens” he said when asked about the slip. “The game up their [in Tolka Park] I was thinking to myself Jesus don’t make the same mistake again and try and make sure you get your shot on target this time and to be fair to her she took as many touches as it took to get the opportunity and finished it superbly.”
Despite winning three out of the four cups available Doyle revealed that if somebody had offered him a play-off for the league crown at the start of the season he would have taken it.
“I said during the week as well that if somebody had offered me a play-off at the start of the season, I would have taken that as well, so to be here today is absolutely fantastic and taking the treble is brilliant from our point of view so it gives us something to work on towards next year.”
After the game the Youths boss also revealed to Extratime.ie that today was to be his last game in charge of Youths and he had decided to step down due to personal reasons.
“I made a decision quite a number of weeks ago that I had to step down for personal reasons, so from my point of view it’s a great way to go out having obviously won the league title twice in a row it is going to be hard, but it’s something from my own point of view I have to do.
“I am not going to lie it was absolutely devastating, but some things in life are a little bit more important than football so have to make decisions that are right.”
Despite the decision to relieve himself from duty Doyle admitted that he is not going to just walk away from the club and he plans to do everything his role of Wexford Development Officer for the FAI allow him to do to help the club.
“These girls, I’ve been with them since the very outset of this league, I was helping John Flood from the start so I’m not going to just walk away and leave them there I’m still the development officer for Wexford so hopefully I’ll still be in and out doing whatever I can to help them progress and obviously going towards the Champions League.”