Rovers strike late cup winner
Despite an heroic effort, an undermanned Wexford Youths side slipped out of the Enda McGuill Under-19 Cup at the hands of hosts Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium on Saturday.
Shamrock Rovers 2 Wexford Youths 1 (AET)
Youths had just 13 fit and available players, including three of Garrett Larkin's Under-17 squad, for the daunting trip to face league high-flyers Shamrock Rovers.
The Dublin side possess two forwards in Seán Boyd and Enniscorthy's Aaron Dobbs who have experienced first team football this season, and in Trevor Clarke they have a midfielder with an under-age international background.
Regardless, Wexford didn't make the trip to Tallaght to roll over and, after an iffy run of form recently, they were absolutely fantastic.
Rovers probably shaded the first-half with Dylan Furlong magnificent in the Youths goal.
Michael Molloy, the first of several new signings expected in the coming week or two for Billy Molloy's team, had the unenviable task of marking Boyd on his debut but he was fantastic, not giving the imposing striker a sniff for most of the game.
Dobbs did go close on a couple of occasions in the first-half, while Doona and Boyd saw efforts saved by Furlong as the sides went in at the break scoreless. It was much of the same in the second-half with Vincent Quinlan and Adam Rochford having efforts for Youths.
At the other end Jamie Hamilton came off the bench and hit the crossbar with a chipped effort. With Under-17 Cian Doyle exceptional in midfield, Wexford battled away and were worthy of taking the game to extra-time.
A quiet first 15 of overtime suggested that both sides were possibly looking forward to the penalty shoot-out, but everything changed after the mini-break. Rovers took the lead in the 110th minute, with Dobbs scoring the goal.
Weaker sides would have capitulated at that stage but Wexford kept fighting. Five minutes from time another Under-17, Danny Doyle, cut in from the left and drilled a low shot to the bottom right corner of Mikey Quinn's net to level the tie.
With the game heading to spot-kicks, Shamrock Rovers broke the visitors' hearts with a 120th-minute Darragh Gibbons headed winner from a corner that sent the hosts into the quarter-finals and put Wexford out.
Youths are back to league action this weekend in the mini south-east El Clasico against Waterford and expect to have several key players back. With eight games to go, the Ferrycarrig Park side will look to build on this confidence-boosting performance and move up the table.
Wexford Youths: Dylan Furlong; Paul Carton, Michael Molloy, Conor Sutton (capt.), Paul Brennan; Eric Quinn, Cian Doyle, Davy Doyle, Eoin Donnelly; Vincent Quinlan, Adam Rochford. Subs. - Danny Doyle for Quinn, Adam Dunbar for Rochford.
Shamrock Rovers: Mikey Quinn; Luke Rossiter, Conor Gleeson, Gavin Kearney, Darragh Gibbons; Richie Purdy, Eoin Stokes (capt.), Trevor Clarke, James Doona; Seán Boyd, Aaron Dobbs. Subs. - Jamie Hamilton for Doona, Dean Kivlehan for Clarke, Jamie Wilson for Rossiter.