Wexford 1-14 Wicklow 2-07
EirGrid Leinster U-20 Football Championship
Ciaron Noble Reports From Bellefield, Enniscorthy
Two late Wicklow goals wasn’t enough to progress to the next round of the EirGrid Leinster U-20 Championship as they lost to Wexford in Enniscorthy.
It was ultimately a tough day for Wicklow as they were outplayed by their neighbours for most of the game. Although manager John Evans would have been disappointed with his team’s performance, he’ll know that there is plenty to build on for the future. Many of these lads were sitting their Leaving Cert exams and this can hamper preparation as happens for most of the u20’s panels across the country.
The first ten minutes and the last ten minutes were the best periods of play for the Wicklow youngsters. In the opening exchanges Wicklow looked comfortable in possession as they led to 0-2 to 0-1. It was clear from the offset that Eoin Darcy was the go to man as his team mates got him on the ball early to get the early opening scores. It wasn’t long before Wexford wised up to their opponent’s game plan, marking Darcy out of the game, cutting off Wicklow’s main source of attack. They shot a few wides which didn’t help their confidence, accuracy was also missing for Evans men throughout.
Wexford took control of the contest as half-forward Jamie Myler and Sean Nolan were outstanding throughout. Myler afterburners had Wicklow’s Patrick O’Keane struggling to keep up for much of the first half. The Purple and Gold had relentless pace especially on the turn and run towards the goal which Wicklow found hard to keep up with throughout. The visitors kick outs came under great pressure as Wexford seemed to be swallowing all the possession and using it as platform for attack. Truthfully, the result was inevitable as Wexford had the game under control. Although, credit where credit is due the second half was a draw at 2-4 to 1-7 as the visitors showed good resolve to narrow the deficit, despite losing Captain Padraig O’Toole due to a sending off. One of the major positives for Evans was the impact his substitutes made once they were introduced. Eoghan Byrne worked hard and looked good pushing forward with the ball as he was brought on late in the first half for Ronan Murray. Peter Hempenstall looked fresh off the bench, scoring a nice point and Jordan Deans brought a spark to the encounter.
Even though the blue and gold did improve slightly in the second half, they still had issues. They failed to get Darcy involved in the game as their plan looked very one dimensional at times forcing Oisin McGraynor to drop deeper to try act as playmaker and make things happen for his team. Wexford effectively killed off the game when full-forward Sean Forde caught a beautiful ball that missed all the Wicklow defenders before he turned and shot it into the Wicklow net. it was a clinical finish that was a major blow to Wicklow as they almost scored a goal of their own a few moments before, but a few quality saves from Darragh Brooks kept them out.
It was a tough day at the office for midfielder Sam O Dowd as he was out-fielded in the high ball battle by Ben Maddock. Although, O Dowd is definitely one of the young guns that can be improved in the future as this is in fact his first year playing football. The Rathnew player has achieved a lot in this short period, winning a Minor Shield with his club, getting to the A final with his school Presentation College Bray, and remarkably making the 20’s panel, not forgetting he’s a very good rugby player too, having a good season with his school’s SCT team this year. A great athlete with a bright future in Wicklow sport. His replacement Jordan Deans brought a bit of energy to his team in the closing stages. The Garden County’s late goals both involved Deans, who proved to be a much needed new target in the box. Deans presence in the box reminded me of Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy as he scored a goal and helped get a penalty which was slotted in the goal by Darcy. It was all too little too late though as Wexford won 1-14 to 2-7.
For Evans and his team the journey is over but they have plenty to build on. Andy Maher from AGB was very impressive in the backs as he looked like a skilled footballer full of pace and ability. Rathnew Senior player JT Moorehouse is physically built with pure power and strength and his call- up to the senior panel must only be imminent. McGraynor and Darcy look like massive talents, they just lacked good service in the box to create scoring chances, something that the lack of preparation time wouldn’t have helped. All the Wicklow men can do is keep building from here and hopefully progress in the future.
Wicklow Scorers: Eoin Darcy (1-2), Oisin McGraynor (0-2), Rory Stokes (0-1), Fintan O Shea (0-1), Jordan Deans
Wexford Scorers: Eoin Porter (0-1), Enda Minougue (0-1), Dylan McVeigh (0-1), Jamie Myler (0-3), Sean Nolan (0-5),
Micheal Molloy (0-1), Sean Forde (1-1), Adam Hogan (0-1)
Match Report by Ciaron Noble
Ciaron is currently studying journalism and hopes to become a sports journalist. He has got a big passion for the football and is hoping to try and get into the local football this summer and for the future. We wish Ciaran every success and he has obviously got the skills to have a very successful career ahead of him. We have great admiration for the brilliant Sports Journalists around like Brendan Lawrence and hopefully one of the local professional publications can offer Ciaron a role.
IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR SPORTS JOURNALISM OR WRITING LOCAL SPORTS ARTICLES OR EVEN JUST WISH TO HIGHLIGHT THE EVENTS HAPPENING IN YOUR CHOSEN SPORTS THEN FEEL FREE TO GET IN TOUCH AS WE WOULD BE GLAD TO HAVE YOUR ARTICLES FEATURED ON OUR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS.