DCU Student Lynn Craven was among the successful Wexford Youths ladies team that ran out victors in the FAI Cup Final against Peamount United in the Aviva Stadium.
Craven, who started the 3-2 thriller as a Wexford full-back said “every player in the league wants to be in the Aviva on that day because of the build up and the hype” and added that “It was a good game of football and it shows well for women’s football that the goals from both teams were very good.”
Although delighted with the win, Craven still desires for Wexford to keep up their high standards. “We’re thrilled, but to be honest it probably wasn’t a good year for us because we always have high standards after winning the treble last year, one trophy is not as we hoped”
“It was the last trophy, we had to win it or else the 2019 season would have meant nothing, next year our goal is to get the treble,” she added.
The match was held as part of a double-header with the men’s final, where Shamrock Rovers beat Dundalk on penalties, and although the men’s game grabbed the next day’s headlines Craven says that female footballers put in the same level of dedication.
“We’re training at the same times as them and we’re not given much in return whereas the men’s team could be getting paid, getting expenses covered for them, where a lot of us are paying ourselves to improve,” she said.
“We all make sacrifices, a lot of girls have missed family weddings, I leave for training at 4 O’Clock in the day and I’m not back until maybe half 10 so it is a lot of commitment, but it’s all worth it in the end when you’re winning, days like that you don’t get back,” she added.
Despite the success at national level Craven still sees the benefit of Third Level football for players, saying that “DCU has a good standard, (and) is good for a lot of girls who aren’t training with clubs”.
“There are a lot of players who are playing national league football, so it’s not that you’re going for just a little kick about, it’s competitive football, and it helps because when you go back for preseason it’s not like you’ve been sitting around doing nothing” she added.
The level of competitiveness in Women’s football is a contentious issue, with a divide in the league being visible between top teams like Shelbourne, Peamount and Wexford when compared to teams like Kilkenny United who, according to The Irish Independent have had just one win in four years.
On this Craven said that there are upcoming teams who threaten to make their mark on the top sides. “The league doesn’t really reflect how good Galway are… Galway is one of the fixtures that everybody hates going to, and then you’ve Cork coming next aswell” she explained.
“However, I do think there is a huge gap with the Kilkenny’s and the Limerick’s, and if they were better teams it would make ourselves better because we are playing higher quality games, the games you want to play,” she added.
Image Credit: Mick O’Shea