‘Women’s game on par with the men’

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Riley leads his side into the final of the Women’s JFA Cup for the third time in four seasons, against a Rozel Rovers squad that has benefited from a thriving junior section in recent years.

St Lawrence, who won the tournament in 2017 and 2018, when it was known as the Colin Welsh Trophy, squeezed past semi-final opponents Jersey Wanderers with a 1-0 victory on Sunday – having been reduced to nine women through two red cards.

The last-four bout featured ample chances at both ends, a handful of well-timed, crunching tackles and slick inter-play on both sides.

‘I think Sunday’s game matches any of the men’s games you’ll see,’ said Riley. ‘And it is getting nicer on the eye now. The women’s game in general has taken a big turn.’

Discussing Rozel’s recent rise to prominence, he added: ‘They’ve been superb for the league. They’ve got a great academy set-up and those players are coming through now. I think it’s what the Island needs on the women’s side and that’s one thing we’re looking to do as a progressive club.’

Jersey FA officials have pledged to boost participation numbers further within the female game over the next three years – buoyed by a new television deal for the Women’s Super League which will bring live games to the BBC and Sky Sports. The agreement could reportedly provide clubs with an additional £7 million a year and potentially allow for greater development at grassroots level.

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