Heartbreak in Under-15 final
Wexford lose after extra-time
DUNDALK 4 WEXFORD F.C. 2 (AET)
THERE WAS heartbreak for Wexford F.C. in the SSE Airtricity League Under-15 shield final on Saturday as hosts Dundalk came from two goals down to snatch the crown in Oriel Park.
Mark Doran’s side came into the game on an impressive ninegame unbeaten run that saw them pick off scalps like U.C.D., Cabinteely and Sligo Rovers. However, despite getting themselves into a winning position, Wexford just couldn’t hold off the talented hosts.
The Ferrycarrig Park club have had the bonus of fielding a fairly settled side recently. Doran made just one change to the starting lineup that accounted for Sligo, with Liam Doyle coming into the team in the place of Seán Fitzpatrick.
It took the visitors a little time to settle into their impressive surroundings and the astro pitch. Twice Dundalk tested the strength of the metalwork in the opening ten minutes as they looked to get themselves in front.
As the first quarter came to an end, Wexford began to get a little more ball and Evan Connolly missed the target with an effort from distance.
Tyler Dunphy is usually a second-half impact substitution but, with things not going to plan, Mark Doran called on his rangy attacker early.
Luke Murphy sprung into action to deny the hosts on two occasions as the game moved towards the break.
Dunphy was involved when Wexford opened the scoring in the 35th minute. He played in Liam Doyle and the attacker dinked over the onrushing ‘keeper to break the deadlock.
Dunphy almost made it two just before the interval when he volleyed wide when unmarked in the box but, given the way the game started, going in a goal to the good was an excellent result for Wexford.
When another volley opportunity fell to Dunphy, from Evan Farrell’s flick-on ten minutes after the interval, he made no mistake with a classy finish to the opposite corner of the net.
However, the two-goal lead lasted just 13 minutes as Jake O’Sullivan pulled a goal back for the hosts.
Evan Farrell headed over with Wexford looking to increase their lead with 15 minutes remaining, and, with the game ticking into the last ten minutes, Dundalk equalised.
Farrell missed the target late on from the edge of the area but the game was destined for extra-time.
Luke Murphy, who would eventually be named ‘man of the match’, made a couple of fine saves in the first-half of overtime, while Tyler Dunphy was denied by some solid ‘keeping at the other end.
With penalties looking a real possibility, Dundalk took the lead with 93 minutes on the clock when David Doyle netted from close range.
A broken side, Wexford conceded a fourth right at the death as Dundalk took the shield.
Despite the result, this has been a hugely promising year for the youngest of the national league crop at Wexford F.C. They will be keen to keep those within this squad who move to Under-17 next season and build again with the handful who remain at this age group.
Wexford F.C.: Luke Murphy; Darragh McGuire, Seán Redmond, Dylan Casey, Liam Doyle, Patryk Remiasz, Evan Farrell, Conor Carew (capt.), James Cullen, Evan Connolly, Kyle Clancy. Subs. - Adam Phelan, Seán Adam Gourley, Harry Curtis, Seán Fitzpatrick, Tyler Dunphy, Paddy Redmond, Dylan McEvoy, Kyle Rankin.
Wexford F.C. goalkeeper Luke Murphy receives his player of the match award from Jason Donohue.