Battle of the big guns
North End and Moyne meet in mouth-watering cup final
North End United and Moyne Rangers will lock horns in a mouth-watering Wexford Volkswagen Cup final at Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday, with the Sky Blues aiming for the double and their Enniscorthy rivals looking for compensation after their near miss in the league.
The Wexford town outfit have a proud cup pedigree, having appeared in 15 finals and winning the prestigious competition eleven times to date.
Sunday will be the 16th outing for North End in the decider, while Moyne Rangers will be competing in the soccer showpiece for only the third time, having been beaten in their previous two final appearances.
Their first final reverse was in 1986, when they lost out to local rivals Enniscorthy Town, and their second defeat in 2013 in still fresh in the memory, when they were beaten on penalties in Ramstown by next Sunday's opponents after a 1-1 draw.
That win kick-started an incredible run of success for North End, who will be appearing in their fifth Wexford Cup final in a row, having won three of the previous four, and they have also claimed three Premier Division crowns in a glorious period for the club.
This will be the twelfth time for manager John Godkin to lead North End into a Wexford Cup final and he has won nine to date, with Eamonn Murphy (R.I.P.) and Seánie O'Shea steering the ship for the other successes.
Despite their bulging trophy cabinet, Godkin says North End are always hungry to add to their collection and are relishing their latest appearance on the big day.
'The players and staff are really looking forward to this season's cup final. Both clubs have been pushing for league and cup this year and it is fitting that we're meeting in the flagship game of the season in Ferrycarrig Park. This current team are determined to re-write the record books and continue the club's success story,' he said.
Having finished second best in the race for the Premier Division crown, Moyne Rangers manager Aidan Browne said they would love to get their hands on the Wexford Cup for the first time, and they will feel they deserve a change of fortune against the Wexford town side, having been beaten by North End in the cup in the past four campaigns.
'If we can turn up on the day we'll have a good chance. We've been in the final twice before and lost both of them so hopefully it will be third time lucky.
'We definitely owe North End one. Since we met them in the final in 2013, they've beaten us in a quarter-final and two semi-finals,' he said.
Browne believes a good start could be key and the green swathes of Ferrycarrig could prove a challenge for both sets of leg-weary players.
'The first goal will be massive. If we could get it, it would be a different game and they'll have to open up, but if they got an early goal we'd have to open up. Both teams have had five games in eleven days, but now we have a week to recover. The big pitch will be a factor, so whichever team is the fresher will have an advantage,' he said.
The final promises to be a quality encounter, pitting the season's top two sides against each other, and both managers have a nice blend of youth and experience in their squads.
The recent entertaining 0-0 draw between the sides in Hollygrove illustrated that there isn't much between the teams, and in a game that's too close to call a lucky break or a moment of magic could be the difference.
North End certainly possess players capable of turning a game, like Paul 'Spot' Murphy, Shane Dempsey and the prolific Adam Beary, but Moyne also have wizards in their ranks, with Premier Division player of the year James Peare and Peter Marsden banging in the goals all season, while Ryan Mahon has the ability to produce a telling pass at any moment, but both sides are laced with quality and the winning goal could come from almost any source.
North End, who are going for their fourth double, having previously achieved the feat in 2004, 2010 and 2014, have the advantage of having more experience of dealing with the big occasion, but it could well take extra-time or even penalties, like their last final meeting in 2013, to separate two evenly-matched sides.