Blow to top four hopes
Limerick F.C. 2 Wexford F.C. 1
Wexford's hopes of finishing in the top four of the SSE Airtricity League Under-17 Southern Elite Section table took their biggest hit yet when they lost to previously win-less Limerick in U.L. on Sunday.
The Treaty boys have had a miserable league season to date, drawing three and losing the rest of their eleven games, but goals from Bradley McNamara and Brian Ahern ensured that they broke an eight-match losing streak, in which they were conceding an average of four goals a game.
At the moment Wexford can't seem to string two consistent performances together. Their form-line is a little all over the place but they have done enough to stay in contention for a cup play-off spot up to now.
With seven league games left, four of them at Ferrycarrig Park, now is the time to put the run together. Any more results like this and they'll have to settle for a place in the shield competition come season's end.
The opening quarter was scrappy with Limerick marginally holding the upper hand, without creating anything of note. However, they took the lead through McNamara when a long ball beat the visiting defence and he poked past Michael Walsh.
Things took a turn for the worst in the 38th minute when the hosts made it two. This time a ball from the right wing flew across the face of the goal and Ahern ghosted in at the back post to net.
Wexford switched to a 3-5-2 formation after the break and they got themselves right back in the game within two minutes of the re-start. Adham Masood was provider on the wing, and his cross pinballed around the box before Brandon Deady forced a shot through the hands of the home 'keeper.
Derek O'Brien's side dominated the second-half but they couldn't get the equaliser. Liam Berry lobbed the 'keeper but narrowly missed the target while Craig O'Reilly got the ball tangled up in his feet with the goal at his mercy.
All in all it was a disappointing afternoon for Wexford. Reece Murphy was strong when his side went to three at the back, Ciarán Paige worked hard at ten, and Stephen Kearns was lively off the bench but there simply wasn't enough top performers to get the points.
It's hard to know if it's a good thing or not but Wexford now have a break until August 12 when they will host Shamrock Rovers. That will start a run of seven games in consecutive weekends to close out the regular season.
Wexford: Michael Walsh; Jack Gallagher, Reece Murphy, Cian Foley, Jason Daly; Craig O'Reilly, Oscar Smith; Brandon Deady, Ciarán Paige, Adham Masood; Liam Berry. Subs. - Stephen Kearns for Foley (55), Caellum Travers-Devlin for Smith (58), Conor Signorelli for Daly (69), Paddy Barron for Paige (74), also Kian Kerr, Colum Feeney.