Be­low par U-17s are held

Gorey Guardian - - SPORT -

IT IS of­ten said that one’s dark­est hour comes right be­fore a new dawn.

While there can be no guar­an­tee of this new dawn for Wex­ford F.C., what is cer­tain is that this game sig­ni­fied their dark­est hour in the SSE Airtricity League Un­der-17 South­ern Elite Divi­sion.

What awaited them on an ex­tremely warm Satur­day af­ter­noon in Fer­rycar­rig Park was the Kerry and District League, the only team in the divi­sion with­out a win to their name.

Af­ter the open­ing 45 min­utes, Kerry must’ve thought that this was maybe their best chance yet to get what would be a rare vic­tory.

They drew first blood in a rel­a­tively even half, when a hope­ful ball into the box skid­ded off the head of Wex­ford de­fender Dy­lan Whe­lan be­fore de­flect­ing off Pa­trick Dowl­ing and find­ing its way into the cor­ner of the Wex­ford goal.

Prior to this 35th-minute opener, both sides had shared at­tempts at goal.

Seán Smithers blazed over the bar for the pinks mo­ments be­fore Dar­ragh Lev­ingston side-footed wide from a set-piece.

Kerry’s early chance fell to cap­tain James Rusk, but he could only head over the cross­bar.

The young Wex­ford squad, nor­mally full of en­deav­our and fight, seemed clearly devoid of those two char­ac­ter­is­tics in an ex­tremely unin­spir­ing first-half.

It’s tough to call whether it was the scorch­ing con­di­tions that caused this dip in form or whether they saw Kerry’s league po­si­tion and pre­sumed they only needed to tog out.

The one thing that was clear was the ne­ces­sity for change af­ter the in­ter­val.

They did change. Wex­ford went to a 4-4-2 with Robert Bul­mer and Brody Mur­phy lead­ing the line and most im­por­tantly their ef­fort, if not their com­po­sure on the ball, saw an in­crease.

It was the same old story in the 70th minute. Smithers’ cross was latched onto by both Bul­mer and Mur­phy in the six-yard box and nei­ther could find a way past Shane O’Con­nell in Kerry’s net.

Brian Byrne’s in­tro­duc­tion also paid some div­i­dends, as he looked sharp but still couldn’t find a way past the Kerry ‘keeper.

Even­tu­ally the bar­rier did come down how­ever, and Wex­ford sal­vaged a point.

Ini­tially it ap­peared that Cael­lum Devlin-Travers was fouled in the penalty area, but ref­eree Derek Cam­pion in­sisted it was out­side.

Less than half a minute af­ter the re­sult­ing free was taken, Mur­phy was fouled and this time Cam­pion agreed.

Byrne stepped up to score his first goal of the sea­son and de­spite O’Con­nell get­ting a firm hand on the spot kick, the points were shared.

Wex­ford F.C.: Seán Ma­her; Seán O’Brien-Mur­phy, Kyle Scallan (capt.), Dy­lan Whe­lan, Kil­lian Grif­fin; Gra­ham O’Reilly, Dar­ragh Lev­ingston, Ethan O’Neill, Brody Mur­phy, Seán Smithers; Robert Bul­mer. Subs. - Cael­lum Devlin-Travers for Lev­ingston (64), Brian Byrne for O’Neill (64), also Seán Ma­her, Shane Gib­son, Kil­lian Flynn.

Kerry: Shane O’Con­nell; David Rogers, James Rusk (capt.), Pa­trick Dowl­ing, Liam Collins; Seb Va­siu, Ju­nior Ankomah, John Hayes, Boki Ni­kic, Nathan Glee­son; John Car­mody. Subs. - David Oba for Ni­kic (65), Dy­lan Quirke for Ankomah (76), J.R. Tshikato for Glee­son (90), also Leon Shalemba, Paddy O’Rourke, Owen Ben­son.

Ref­eree: Derek Cam­pion (Wex­ford).

Kyle Scallan of Wex­ford about to con­trol the ball as John Car­mody (Kerry) looks on.

Wex­ford’s Seán O’Brien-Mur­phy in a tus­sle with Boki Ni­kic of Kerry,

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