By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Wexford Youths starlet Blessing Kingsley. The youngster from Graiguecullen, Co Carlow scored an International goal for Ireland, and then in the space of just 24 hours scored her first Senior goal for Wexford and followed that up by scoring twice for their U17’s. In their next game she again scored twice as Wexford beat Greystones United.
Kingsley joined Wexford Youths in the summer of 2018, after spending a couple of years with Carlow Juvenile club Hanover Harps. Blessing explains how the move came about, “Before I signed to Wexford Youths I was with the Hanover Harps U16 Girls team for about 2 years. But then Kylie Murphy (Youths captain) came over to me at an awards night and offered me the chance to come and join them for a session. I then went back to Hanover for a while. But when it came for the time for me to make a decision last summer to play in the WNL, or continue playing in the Carlow League I knew it was time for me to make the jump.”
Kingsley says she came into the game quite late, “I always loved playing football with the boys in primary school. But I joined a club quite late compared to my peers, because my Mom wasn’t aware about what teams were around our area, and how to approach them. I was approached by Ian Cullen, who was the New Oak Boy’s Manager at the time, when I was 12 and this ended up being my first football club I ever joined.”
She began her time at Wexford quite well, lining out for their U17 team, but it wasn’t long before her talent saw her sign a dual contract with the club, a move she says has definitely improved her game. That talent saw her selected by Colin Bell for the recent UEFA U17 European Championships Elite Round in Scotland.
Blessing describes getting the International call-up, “It was honestly such an indescribable feeling when I got the call up for the Elite Phase Qualifiers in Scotland. Playing for your country is not something that everyone has the privilege of doing, so anytime you hear that you have an opportunity to do it is an almost electric feeling.”
GOAL: #IRLWU17 🇮🇪 take the lead on the 32nd minute! ⚽
Blessing Kingsley takes advantage of a mistake in the Scottish defence and runs around the 'keeper to slot the ball home and put the Irish girls on the score board!#COYGIG ⚽👏
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) March 26, 2019
While that tournament ultimately ended in disappointment for the Irish girls, finishing second in their group behind Germany, it was a successful trip for Blessing. She made her debut coming off the bench in the opening game against Norway, a 1-1 draw, before starting the next two games against Germany and Scotland. She scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the game against Scotland. “Scoring the winning goal against Scotland was an amazing feeling. Just having the opportunity as a forward to reward the rest of your team and give them a chance to settle into the game is great.”
“It was quite disappointing when we didn’t qualify for the finals. Looking back at how tight our game against Norway was, and how we failed to take our chances, but competed well against Germany. It was definitely within our reach.”
That time in Scotland has brought her game on in leaps and bounds, something she fully appreciates, “My time away with the Irish team has definitely improved my understanding of the game. International football is so much faster, which means you’re making decisions quicker. It’s great because when you come back from camp and go back to your club you learn so much, and it really helps your confidence and knowledge of the game.”
Kingsley scored her first Senior goal in the Women’s National League in Wexford’s 2-0 win over Kilkenny United, when she pounced on a mistake at the back to score. She scored two spectacular goals for the U17’s the following day as they came from 1-0 down to beat Cork City 2-1. The second goal in that game, where she beat two defenders to score into the top corner, showed just why she has been recognised at International level.
— Wexford Youths Women (@YouthsWomen) April 20, 2019
Blessing said of her amazing weekend, “Scoring my first ever senior goal and then two goals for the U17’s less than 24 hours later was a crazy feeling. Honestly, getting a taste of what this season could hold has made me more determined to try achieve more weekends like, or even better, than last weekend.”
Of course she then proceeded to score twice in Wexford’s 3-1 win over Greystones United!
U17 | ⚽️ Blessing Kingsley's stunning winner in today's 2-1 win over @CorkCityFCWomen her third goal of the weekend for @YouthsWomen@SERSport @SSEAirtricityLg @FAI_WNL @thewnlshow pic.twitter.com/OWObvgjqvv
— Wexford Youths Women (@YouthsWomen) April 21, 2019
The young striker is also quick to praise the senior players at Wexford Youths, who’ve helped her to settle in well, “The girls at Wexford have been super helpful to make sure that I settle in well. Kylie is always checking that I’m alright and helps me get out of my shell a bit. Obviously having such a talented striker like Rianna Jarrett is such a help. I’m always trying to look at what she’s doing in training. She also constantly gives me tips which I couldn’t be more thankful for.”
As for her goals for the season ahead with Wexford Youths Kingsley said, “My goals this season would probably be to qualify out of the group with the U17’s, to improve as a player and to get myself on the score sheet as much as possible.”
It’s going to be fun watching her develop
Picture Credits: Wexford Youths FC