Wexford Youths have today announced that they have been selected to host one of the Uefa Women’s Champions League qualifying groups which takes place in August.
The Wexford outfit who recently completed a domestic treble after defeating Shelbourne Ladies in the Women’s National League play-off announced that the fixture which will run from August 23rd to 28th will played at both Ferrycarrig Park and the RSC in Waterford.
In their only previous appearance in the competition last season, Youths were eliminated at the qualifying stage despite defeating Gintra Universitetas 1-0 in their opening fixture and Cardiff Met 5-1 in their final game in Poland.
As Youths prepare to host the competition in Ireland for the first time, the south-east side will be hoping that the aid of home advantage can see them emulate the exploits of Raheny United and Peamount United who both advanced to the last 32 in 2014 and 2011 respectively before eventually bowing out to Bristol Academy and Paris Saint-Germain.
Speaking about the announcement exclusively to Extratime.ie Claire O’Riordan explained that the opportunity to host the event will be huge not only for Wexford, but for women’s football in Ireland.
“Hosting the Champions League qualifying group in August is going to be something everyone will remember because it will be the first ever time a WNL club will be a host” O’Riordan said.
“It's going to be incredible having home advantage and familiar surroundings. Not only is it great for the club, but it will hopefully be very beneficial for the league and women's football in Ireland.”
After missing out on qualification last season due to a defeat against host Medyk Konin in their second game, the forward admits it was hard to take not qualifying last season, but knowing that they have home advantage this season excites the Youths squad and O’Riordan is also hoping they can continue to build upon their large fan base and fill Ferrycarrig Park.
“I don't think anything could really make up for not qualifying last year, but knowing that we are going to have the opportunity to play on home soil is something all the players, management and staff of Wexford Youths Women's are really looking forward to. The club has excellent facilities as does the RSC in Waterford and should suit hosting this event.
“The support we've received throughout the season has been amazing and helped us through a long tough season, the team and management are very grateful to everyone who support us.
“I would be hoping the support given at the recent play-off match would be replicated if not increased. It would be great to fill the stand of Ferrycarrig Park as we hope to showcase the skills and ability within the squad in such exciting matches.”
With the draw for the qualifying phase due to take place on June 24th in Nyon, Switzerland, the forward admits she does not mind who they are paired with, but she wouldn’t mind another meeting with Medyk Konin.
“We will take whichever club is drawn to us and prepare to the best of our abilities for them. but if I had to pick any team I wouldn't mind meeting Konin again provided they qualify. I don't believe it would have finished up with such a score line had they not taken the lead with such a fluke goal, but in football everyone knows anything can happen so you just have to get on with it.”