Two FAW cup finals and their place in women's football history
2023 FAW Women's Cup final
Cardiff City v Briton Ferry Llansawel
12:45pm | Sunday 23 April
Penydarren Park, Merthyr
Cardiff City and Briton Ferry Llansawel will take to the field at Penydarren Park on Sunday 23 April (12.45pm) to contest the FAW Women's Cup final.
The match marks 30th anniversary of the very first final and completes a domestic season that has generated record-breaking attendances and an unprecedented rise in interest across the women's game.
It has been a significant season for the women's game in Wales that has set new standards across the board. The foundations have been laid for future growth and development and the current platform will provide a base to further increase participation, improve facilities, generate positive media coverage, raise playing and coaching standards and generally move the game into a new and exciting era.
During the course of the current campaign, the Cymru national team have broken their home attendance record twice, setting a new high of 15,200 for the World Cup play-off match against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Cardiff City Stadium last October. The previous month, Swansea City welcomed 1,426 fans for their opening day Genero Adran Premier match against Cardiff Met. However, this was just the start.
Cardiff City celebrate winning the FAW Women's Cup in 2022.
In November, an incredible 5,175 fans watched Cardiff City defeat Abergavenny in the capital, and last month a new domestic record was set as Wrexham defeated Connah's Quay in the Genero Adran North in front of 9,511 fans at the Racecourse. The FAW and its clubs have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make what seemed a distant dream less than a year ago a reality, and the rewards are more than deserved.
Therefore, it is fitting that this year's FAW Women's Cup final falls on the 30th anniversary of the inaugural match to decide the first winners of the competition. While 2022/23 will go down in the annuls of history as a pivotal point in the progress of the women's game in Wales, the 1992/93 campaign was of similar significance. In addition to the FAW establishing control of the national team and setting it on its current path, it was the season that brought the men's and women's domestic game together.
The 1992/93 season marked the start of the men's national league, and the introduction of League of Wales as it was known at the time did not come without controversy, but the Welsh Cup remained open to clubs playing in the English pyramid system and Cardiff City would meet Rhyl in the final on 16 May 1993. Taking place at the old Cardiff Arms Park, the FAW Women's Cup final would provide the curtain-raiser and took place prior to the men's match as St. Asaph-based Pilkington faced Inter Cardiff with a 1.45pm kick-off.Pilkington celebrate winning the inaugural FAW Women's Cup in 1993.
While the majority of the 16,443 crowd arrived later, those who took an interest would have witnessed a number of experienced figures from the history of the women's game as well as future internationals in action. One of those players, the late Delyth Wyn Jones, scored the only goal of the game for Pilkington in the 28th minute. Debbie Faulkner had the chance to make the game safe in the final 20 minutes but missed a penalty, but the side from north Wales held on to their 1-0 lead to lift the silverware at the national stadium and become the inaugural winners of the trophy.
There have been a number of highs and lows for the women's game in Wales during the last three decades, and while issues still remain, it is clear that both the domestic and international game has never been in a stronger position to develop and progress. While the FAW Women's Cup was introduced on the coattails of the men's game, the women's game is now a strong and separate entity that can thrive on its own merits for the next 30 years.
“The more that we can develop our domestic game the more progressive we can be and the more it will support all levels of the game,” said Cymru manager Gemma Grainger to FAW.cymru back in September 2021. “Accessibility and opportunity are the most important things in women's football, and for me as the national team manager, the stronger the domestic game is the more opportunities there will be for girls to play and it acts as a pathway to support the national team.”