Wexford Youths Women FC starts one of the biggest weeks in its history today as the UEFA Women’s Champions League begins.
The current Continental Tyres Women’s National League Champions face three UEFA Women’s Champions League games this week in the Qualifying Round.
Youths face BIIK-Kazygurt (Kazakhstan), Gintra (Lithuania) and ARF Criuleni (Moldova) at Ferrycarrig Park, the first time Ireland has hosted the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Manager Gary Hunt has admitted the squad is excited about the challenge but knows three games in one week will be difficult: “We’re all really excited, not just for ourselves but for the town to be hosting the Champions League is great for Wexford.
“Three games in one week is going to be a challenge. We had the experience last year of course which should help us this year. We’re going to have to manage that to the best of our ability.
“We’ve had a couple of knocks already this season and we’ve got a lot of long-term absentees. However, we’ve got a few players who will come back into the side and should feature throughout the week.”
Long-term club captain Kylie Murphy, who has been with the club since their first season in the National League in 2011, believes hosting European football is a major step forward for Irish Women’s domestic football: “It’s fantastic for Women’s football in Ireland. For the country to be hosting the Champions League is a major step forward.
“It’s the reason you want to win the Women’s National League, so you can play in the Champions League and the whole squad are really determined not to waste this opportunity.”
Wexford are bidding to become the third Irish side to reach the Round of 32 in the Champions League after Peamount United and Raheny United.
UEFA Women’s Champions League Fixtures
Tuesday, August 23rd
Gintra v ARF Criuleni, R.S.C., 2pm
BIIK-Kazygurt v Wexford Youths, Ferrycarrig Park, 7pm
Thursday, August 25th
BIIK-Kazygurt v ARF Criuleni, R.S.C., 2pm
Wexford Youths v Gintra, Ferrycarrig Park, 7pm
Sunday, August 28th
ARF Criuleni v Wexford Youths, Ferrycarrig Park, 2pm
Gintra v BIIK-Kazygurt, R.S.C., 2pm