First defeat in four ties
Wexford Youths slipped to their first defeat in four games against a strong UCD side in the SSE Airtricity League Under-19 Southern Elite section in Belfield on Saturday.
UCD 5 Wexford Youths 1
Coming off a hard-fought draw at home to Cobh in Ferrycarrig on Wednesday, Billy Molloy's side were hoping to give one of the title favourites a run for their money. For much of the first-half they achieved that goal.
Wexford lost star striker Dean George to a collar bone injury during the week, and without their main man until after the mid-season break, Youths made a bit of a re-shuffle that saw Ivan Meegan start up top.
However, their best laid plans were hit with a sucker punch inside the first five minutes when Aaron Robinson unleashed a stunning 25-yard strike that flew into the top corner of Adam Dunbar's net.
Youths matched the side that currently sit third in the table for the rest of the first-half. Eoin Donnelly went through one-on-one with the hosts' stopper but Conor Kearns made a superb save to deny the Wexford attacker.
Ivan Meegan also had a decent strike on target that Kearns smothered. Wexford might have been level at the break but when UCD broke out of defence and Simon Power hared through to score on the stroke of half-time, the visitors had a mountain to climb.
But Wexford did respond. Within ten minutes of the re-start Meegan turned provider for Seán Duffy and he beat Kearns to make it 2-1. Unfortunately for the Youths goalscorer, he went on to suffer a serious knee injury and is expected to be missing for an extended period.
UCD went 3-1 up on the 56th minute when Gareth Coughlan finished to the net after Adam Dunbar had initially saved Conor Crowley's shot. The fourth quickly arrived with Coughlan adding his second after strong work on the wing by Simon Power.
The Dublin side ended the scoring when Andy O'Reilly headed home after Liam Scales' effort came back off Dunbar's crossbar. While Youths got strong performances out of the left side of their team, and Ivan Meegan was lively in the number nine role, UCD deserved to take the points.
Wexford face Limerick this coming Saturday at Ferrycarrig Park. The fixture will be Youths' ninth and marks the mid-point of the Under-19 season.
Wexford Youths: Adam Dunbar (capt.); Martin O'Connor, Conor Sutton, Owen McCormack, Seán Duffy; Paul Brennan, Dan Brennan, Neil Murphy, Eric Quinn; Eoin Donnelly; Ivan Meegan. Subs. - Adam Rochford, Vincent Quinlan, Craig Hayes, Paul Carton, Eoin McDonald, also Dylan Furlong.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Darragh Corcoran, Seán Byrne, Darragh McConville, Liam Scales; Aaron Robinson, Kevin Coffey, Andy O'Reilly, Gareth Coughlan; Conor Crowley, Simon Power.
Referee: Philip Harrison.