Albion hosts with the most
Two teams reach last four
One of the most popular, well-organised and longest-established schoolboys soccer tournaments in the country is set for another thrilling end next Sunday (June 11) when the finals of the annual Wexford Albion Mini World Cup are staged at the club's Kennedy Park base.
It's down to the final four from an original entry of 34 for the competition proper.
And, regardless of what happens on the big day, it's fair to say that it has been a very special event for the host club as their top two teams both advanced to the semi-finals.
Those games fell victim to the weather yesterday (Monday), with both now on Wednesday. Wexford Albion A (Germany) will face Curracloe A (Portugal) at 6.45 p.m., while surprise packets Wexford Albion B (Uruguay) will meet Legia (Switzerland) beforehand at 6 p.m.
The fact that two of the four Albion teams entered are still involved has given the club a tremendous lift, guaranteeing them a strong involvement either way in Sunday's action.
The tournament is sponsored once again by Roche Logistics Group, and the final will be played at 12 noon after the battle to determine the third and fourth place play-off which will begin at 11 a.m.
Tension was definitely the order of the day on the lower field last Friday on an evening jam-packed with thrilling action as both quarter-finals were decided on penalty shoot-outs.
The drama started when titleholders New Ross Town - winners of Jack's Cup for the first time ever in 2016 - were ousted on spot kicks by an overjoyed Curracloe A.
And it was a similar story in the second game as Albion A pipped a highly-regarded Glynn Barntown A outfit, with Ben Mallon scoring the winning goal from the spot.
Meanwhile, on the top field there may not have been any dramatic shoot-outs, but the fare served up was every bit as entertaining.
Six of the eight quarter-finalists were A teams, and it's always a major achievement for a B outfit to get this far given that so many of the players involved with a second string are eligible for the competition next year.
Forth Celtic B opened brightly with an early goal against Legia, and it took the physically bigger team drawn from the Polish community a great deal of effort before they pulled through 2-1.
As for Albion B, all of their outfield players are still Under-10, with just an Under-11 goalkeeper for company.
However, they got off to a super start and never looked back, with team captain Darragh McLaughlin making a sweet connection on a half-volley and arrowing it to the Adamstown net after a corner was partially cleared into his path.
Ace goalscorer Callum Fowler doubled the Albion lead before half-time, and he added a second after the break along with a coolly-taken goal from the lively Logan Byrne before Adamstown grabbed a consolation in the last minute.
Last year New Ross Town beat Forth Celtic 4-2 in the final proper, while Wexford Albion saw off Cloughbawn 5-1 to claim third place.
Come along to Kennedy Park next Sunday morning from 11 a.m. if you want to see four excellent teams giving their all in a wonderful competition that has stood the test of time.
Preliminary round (May 19): Curracloe B (China) 0, Kilmore A (Algeria) 0 (Curracloe won 4-2 on penalties); Glynn Barntown D (Ivory Coast) 4, Wexford Celtic A (Japan) 1.
First round (May 22, 24 and 27): Glynn Barntown D 6, Curracloe B 1; Wexford Albion A (Germany) 4, Wexford Bohs A (Colombia) 0; Wexford Albion B (Uruguay) 2, Rosslare Rangers B (Belgium) 2 (Albion won 3-2 on penalties); Curracloe A (Portugal) 3, All Blacks B (Ireland) 0; North End C (Italy) 4, Rosslare Strand A (Greece) 3; Glynn Barntown A (Mexico) 1, Cloughbawn A (France) 1 (Glynn Barntown won 2-1 on penalties); Rosslare Rangers A (Scotland) 1, Forth Celtic C (Russia) 1 (Rosslare Rangers won 2-0 on penalties); All Blacks A (Netherlands) 4, Forth Celtic D (Denmark) 2; Wexford Albion C (Malta) 1, Curracloe C (Poland) 0; New Ross Town A (Australia) 6, North End B (Wales) 0; Bridge Rovers A (Austria) 5, Forth Celtic A (Brazil) 1; Bridge Rovers B (Spain) 1, Glynn Barntown C (Latvia) 0; North End A (Norway) 3, New Ross Town B (Northern Ireland) 1; Adamstown A (Turkey) 5, Wexford Albion D (Sweden) 0; Legia A (Switzerland) 2, Wexford Celtic B (Serbia) 1; Forth Celtic B (Croatia) 2, Glynn Barntown B (Georgia) 0.
Last 16 (May 29 and 31): Wexford Albion A 5, Wexford Albion C 0; Curracloe A 3, Bridge Rovers A 1; Glynn Barntown A 3, North End A 0; Legia A 8, All Blacks A 1; New Ross Town A 3, Glynn Barntown D 0; Wexford Albion B 3, Bridge Rovers B 1; Adamstown A 3, North End C 2; Forth Celtic B 1, Rosslare Rangers A 0.
Quarter-finals (June 2): Legia A 2, Forth Celtic B 1; Curracloe A 2, New Ross Town A 2 (Curracloe won on penalties); Wexford Albion B 4, Adamstown A 1; Wexford Albion A 2, Glynn Barntown A 2 (Wexford Albion won 2-1 on penalties).