Ramblers end U-17 bid
Wexford Youths' season came crashing to an end as they slipped to a heavy defeat in the preliminary round of the SSE Airtricity Under-17 shield against Cobh Ramblers in St. Colman's Park on Saturday.
Cobh Ramblers 7 Wexford Youths 1
While the season has ended in a slump, with Youths losing their last eight games on the bounce, there has been plenty of promise along the way. At times this side has played some super football, but they have often suffered a crisis of confidence when results started to go against them.
With twelve of Garrett Larkin's squad under-age for next season too, there are certainly better days ahead for these lads. On top of the youthfulness, some of the top performers have been gobbled up by the Under-19 side, players like Vincent Quinlan and Ciarán Murphy.
Stephen Kearns was required to go in goal for this tie, with Youths lacking numbers as injuries began piling up towards the end of the season. He didn't have to wait long to pick the ball out of his net, with Cobh taking the lead early on.
The hosts' first goal was quickly followed by a second as the side which narrowly missed out on a cup place went about staking their claim for the shield. Wexford began to press and create chances themselves, as Danny Doyle had a couple of shots and Liam Berry was denied by the 'keeper.
A bigger, more physical Ramblers made it 3-0 from a corner but Youths kept plugging away and hit back with a superb team goal. It started in midfield with some excellent inter-change between Craig O'Reilly and Paddy Barron.
They found Danny Doyle in a forward position, and he fed back to Barron who slipped Liam Berry in, cutting in from the wing. Berry, star performer on the day for Wexford, made no mistake, firing across goal to the net.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Cobh scored a fourth from a corner and then added a soft penalty before the interval to take an almost untouchable 5-1 lead in at the change-around.
Youths came out determined to give it a final push in what was likely to be their final 45 minutes of the season.
They went close to scoring a great goal when a 20-plus passing move ended with Berry cracking the hosts' crossbar before they scrambled it away. In the end Cobh did add a couple of late goals to complete an impressive win and book their quarter-final place.
Wexford's season has finished but Larkin and his management team have been busy preparing for 2017 with several other players, who haven't been involved in games, in training with the team in the last number of weeks in anticipation for a better campaign after the winter break.
Wexford Youths: Stephen Kearns; Jack Bates, Cian Foley, Callum Broaders, Sam O'Neill; Mikey Carroll, Paddy Barron, Craig O'Reilly, Cian Doyle, Liam Berry; Danny Doyle. Sub. - Ronan O'Kelly for Carroll.