Semi-finals await

Under-17 sides advance to last four

Published 11/06/2016 | 00:00

Both Wexford sides moved into their respective semi-finals of the Celtic Challenge after preliminary round wins on Saturday.

The South are in Division 2 after a third place finish in their group. They are playing for the John Scott Cup and took on Dublin Clarke in the Wicklow Centre Of Excellence in Ballinakill for a place in the semi-finals.

Using the breeze well, South Wexford were able to build a 1-12 to 0-6 interval lead. Sam Wall (Gusserane) was the star forward for the Slaneysiders, notching 2-4 including an early goal that flew past the Dublin goalkeeper low to the net.

With Jamie Myler of St. James' picking up a brace of first-half points and marshalling a defence that also had Gavin Sheehan of Gusserane playing a starring role, South Wexford were able to build a decent lead against a side that only missed out on topping the group and playing Division 1 when losing by a point to Offaly in their final game.

The quality that got Dublin Clarke into a position to nearly top their group was evident in the second-half as they roared back to within three points with seven minutes left.

However, a super piece of individual brilliance by Sam Wall, that saw him take on and beat two defenders and rattle to the roof of the Metropolitans' net, was enough to help South Wexford to a 2-17 to 2-12 win.

Team: Fionn Slattery; Gavin Sheehan, Ricky McGrath (capt.), James Doyle; Eoin O'Neill, Jamie Myler (0-2), Ben Maddock; Adam Cantwell, Chris Cowman (0-2); Philip Rawson (0-1), James Kelly (0-1), Seán Nolan (0-3); Seán Banville (0-2), Sam Wall (2-4), Jack O'Leary (0-2). Subs. - Adam Hearne, Darragh Cooper, Pádraigh Reville, Alex Gondard, Shane Lacey, Criostúir Reville, Jimmy Sutton, Mark Power, Owen McLoughlin, Daire Reville, Adam Howlin, Callum Quirke, Danny Murphy.

The North also finished third in their group but had two wins from their four games, placing them in Division 3. They are into the semi-finals of the William Robinson Cup after a 3-22 to 3-18 win over Meath in Abbottstown.

Chris Turner was the scorer-in-chief for the Slaneysiders with an impressive 3-10. While there were stellar performances all over the field, Cathal O'Reilly and Mike Kelly were superb in defence, Eoghan Murphy was immense in the middle, and Charlie McGuckin was excellent in attack.

A talented Meath team started the game in the driving seat, racing into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead in the opening quarter. However, North Wexford grew into the game and, on the back of Turner's first goal, got back to level pegging at 1-6 each.

With the scoring and temperatures both high on the big Abbottstown pitch, Meath again eased in front only for Mick Byrne's side to respond when Turner bagged his second goal just before the interval to narrow the deficit at the turnaround to one point (2-10 to 2-9).

Much like the pattern of the first-half, Meath broke away again after the resumption but Turner's third goal drew North Wexford level at 3-15 each as the final quarter began.

The victors made great use of their bench and it paid dividends as the fresh legs helped their side to five points in a row, with Turner, Daryl Gray, Cian Fitzhenry (two) and Diarmuid Doyle on target to seal victory.

Team: Jack Quinn; Shane Stokes, Cathal O'Reilly, Barry Doyle; Rory Heffernan, Ross Cody, Mike Kelly (0-1); Diarmuid Doyle (0-5, 1 free), Eoghan Murphy (0-1); Charlie McGuckin (0-2), Edward Dunbar, Jack Reck; Cathal Doyle, Eoin Cullen, Chris Turner (3-10, 0-5 frees). Subs. - James Dempsey for Stokes, Cian Fitzhenry (0-2) for Dunbar, Daryl Gray (0-1) for C. Doyle, Lee McHale for Cullen, Eoin Kennedy for Reck, also Niall Nimmo, Brian O'Neill, Bradley Collier.

The draw for the semi-finals takes place today (Tuesday), with the ties scheduled for Saturday. South Wexford will face one of North Clare, South Tipperary or Kerry in the last four, while North Wexford can be pitted against Galway City/West, Derry or the winners of Louth and Dublin Plunkett, which takes place tomorrow (Wednesday).

Wexford People

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