Stroll for Kildare
Wexford lads fail to register from play
THE WEXFORD Under-17 footballers endured a difficult start to their Electric Ireland Leinster championship campaign when falling to a comprehensive 1-17 to 0-7 defeat at the hands of a slick-looking Kildare outfit in a one-sided round one encounter played at resplendent St. Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, on bank holiday Monday.
Wexford can have no complaints as they were simply second-best against the physically stronger and confident hosts, with five of Kildare’s starting forwards registering on the scoreboard, and the outstanding Alex Beirne having free rein to dictate the game on his terms.
In fact, the 0-12 to 0-2 advantage that Kildare had built by halftime flattered Wexford, as Kildare’s Jack Smyth saw his 21st-minute penalty well saved by Anthony Larkin, and his colleague Muiris Curtin also had what looked like a perfectly legitimate goal not given when his rasper seemed to come back into play having careened off the back stanchion.
While Wexford’s plight was exacerbated by having to play two-thirds of the game with 14 men after Ollie Gahan received the second of his two yellow cards for a deliberate foot-block at the expense of that penalty, the fact that the visitors didn’t trouble the scoreboard from play is a worrying issue that needs to be addressed.
And although 14 clubs were represented on the day, it was notable that traditionally strong under-age strongholds like Shelmaliers, St. Martin’s and Glynn-Barntown had no players on show, which perhaps points to an underlying issue at play.
Paddy McDermott opened the Lilywhites’ account with a well-taken point after 90 seconds, while Beirne scored twice and assisted another as the gap grew to 0-4 to nil by the seventh minute.
Curtin converted a free he won himself on nine minutes before Jack Smyth capitalised on a stray clearance from Larkin to point soon after.
There was welcome relief for an increasingly porous Wexford defence when Pádraig Behan barrelled through, only to hit the post with the goal at his mercy.
The assured free-taking of Lee Jordan was perhaps the only positive Wexford could glean from the trying circumstances, and he had two such scores on the board by the 19th minute to break his side’s duck, although they were firmly playing second-fiddle by the interval thanks to four more Kildare points from play.
And the leaders continued to attack with impunity when play resumed, as quick points from Tom Browne and Beirne (two) preceded the latter capping off an excellent display with a brilliant goal on 42 minutes when he linked up with substitute Sam Morrissey before sweeping clinically to the net.
His Naas clubmate, Drew Costello, carved open the Wexford defence too a minute later but his rising shot cannoned off the metalwork and out to safety.
Meanwhile, a mark from Morrissey allowed Marcus Sweeney to become Kildare’s seventh different scorer, although Jordan had four of the last five points, all from frees, on a disappointing day for Paul Carty’s charges.
Up next for Wexford is a home tie opposite Laois on May 23, with the time and venue yet to be fixed, while they travel to Longford the following week. Carlow complete the complexion of Group 2, with Wexford down to host their neighbours on July 3.
Wexford: Anthony Larkin (Starlights); James O’Leary (Our Lady’s Island), Robert Murphy (Kilanerin), Jamie Sheehan (Gusserane); Harry Kehoe (Volunteers), Mark Kehoe (Gusserane), Ollie Gahan (St. Patrick’s); Emmet Cullen (Gusserane), Ciarán Kavanagh (HWH-Bunclody, capt.); Jack Finnucane (Sarsfields), Emmett Nolan (St. Mary’s, Maudlinstown), Niall Connolly (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown); Conor Kehoe (Sarsfields), Lee Jordan (Starlights, 0-7 frees), Jack Doran (Naomh Eanna). Subs. - Adrian Breen (Ferns St. Aidan’s) for Finnucane (23), Paudie Casey (Oylegate-Glenbrien) for Breen, inj. (HT), Jason Devereux (Our Lady’s Island) for Connolly (HT), Ciarán Regan (HWH-Bunclody) for Kehoe (41), Lee Nolan (St. Mary’s, Maudlintown) for E. Nolan (52), Seán Murphy (Volunteers) for Doran (58), also Byron Sweeney (St. Mary’s, Maudlintown), Adam Mullins (Our Lady’s Island), Jack O’Leary (St. Fintan’s).
Kildare: John Ball; Oisín O’Loughlin, Seán Hill, Jack Hamill; Daniel Caulfield, Liam Broderick, Paddy McDermott (0-1); Drew Costello, Marcus Kiely (0-1); Tom Browne (02), Alex Beirne (capt., 1-5), Michael McGovern; Muiris Curtin (0-5, 2 frees), Pádraig Behan (0-1), Jack Smyth (02). Subs. - Sam Morrissey for Smyth (41), Nick Jackman for Broderick (49), Aaron Kennedy for Behan (54), Seán Moore for Hill (54), Jack Cleary for Costello (59).
Referee: Stephen Johnson (Louth).
The Wexford Under-17 footballers before their heavy first round defeat to Kildare in Newbridge.