Curracloe clinch place in cup final
Curracloe United 2 Wexford Albion 1
Curracloe United booked their place in the final of the Wexford Youth Cup with a courageous win over Wexford Albion in Hollygrove on Saturday.
The seasiders certainly had to do it the hard way though as they defended as their lives depended on it as Wexford Albion cranked up the pressure in the second-half.
All the goals came in the opening nine minutes, with Albion taking an early lead before Division 2 champions Curracloe stormed back to get their noses in front, and try as they might the town side couldn't force the equaliser.
The Premier Division outfit couldn't have asked for a better start, with T.J. Cousins rifling a penalty into the left-hand corner of the net in the fifth minute after Liam O'Connor had been brought down in the area.
However, Curracloe were back on level terms within two minutes. Adam Howlin floated in a corner which Seán Keane-Carroll headed back across goal ,and Tomás Murphy ghosted in at the back post to nod the ball beyond goalkeeper Reece Doyle.
Curracloe's tails were up and they almost went ahead seconds later when Murphy got on the end of an Aaron Doyle free, but he glanced his header wide.
Just a minute later they were in front. Chris Cowman whipped in a dangerous left-footed corner from the right which flummoxed the Wexford Albion defence, and Kyle Roche got a touch on it to steer it to the corner of the net.
After taking the lead the seasiders had a real spring in their step, with Cowman twice trying his luck, while Seán Keane-Carroll was off target with an ambitious long-range effort.
However, Albion were soon in the ascendancy and came close to plundering the equaliser on 29 minutes, but Luke O'Neill's first-time effort was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Jack Waters. Wexford Albion continued to press and Paddy O'Reilly, T.J. Cousins and Luke O'Neill all had sights of goal without troubling Waters.
The top flight side really pushed Curracloe back after the turnaround, but the seasiders have to be applauded for their application and discipline as clearcut chances were few and far between.
Jamie Thomas looked like he could create something for Albion from one of his forays on the right wing, and on 52 minutes he fired in a cross from the touchline which T.J. Cousins headed over.
Curracloe came within inches of grabbing the insurance goal on the break when Kyle Roche slid the ball across goal, but Chris Cowman just failed to stretch enough to get his leg on the end of it.
At the other end Albion began to pepper shots on goal, with Dion Murphy shooting wide of the target before finding Jamie Thomas with a brilliant longe-range pass, but the winger hit an effort the wrong side of the post from an acute angle.
Substitute John Murphy was played in by Luke O'Neill on 67 minutes but his shot was blocked by Waters, and seconds later he ran on to a pass from Liam O'Connor and drove wide from a tight angle.
The Albion efforts on goal continued to rain down, with Dion Murphy and John Murphy both trying their luck, but Curracloe created an opportunity to put the game to bed on 77 minutes.
Chris Cowman's shot on target was blocked and it fell kindly for substitute Ben Redmond, but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
The closest Albion came to sending the game to extra-time was when Waters was forced to tip a speculative Jamie Thomas free over the bar with five minutes remaining, but Curracloe held on for the win and a meeting with Premier Division champions Gorey Rangers in the final.
Curracloe UNITED: Jack Waters, Adam Hearne, Aaron Doyle, James Doyle, Thomas Coughlan, Chris Cowman, Adam Howlin, Seán Keane-Carroll, Kyle Roche, Tomás Murphy, Jamie Furlong. Subs. - James Kelly for Hearne, Ben Redmond for Murphy, Robert McGuinness for A. Howlin, also Kyle Dobbs, Mark Doyle, Liam Howlin.
Wexford ALBION: Reece Doyle, Paddy O'Reilly, Ben Butler, Gary Hall-Roche, Dion Murphy, Shane Hall, Liam O'Connor, Sam O'Neill, T.J. Cousins, Luke O'Neill, Jamie Thomas. Subs. - John Murphy for Cousins, Ryan Furlong for Butler, Luke Dowdall for O'Reilly, also Peter Doyle, Cathal Kirwan.
Referee: Damien Donovan.