U19s reach shield semis
After winning just two of 18 league games, Wexford Youths have put a pair of fantastic performances together back-to-back to make the SSE Airtricity Under-19 shield semi-finals.
Wexford Youths 2 Shelbourne 1
Six days on from sending Waterford United packing, Shelbourne were the victims this time in Tolka Park on Saturday as the Ferrycarrig boys gave a superb display of football to book their spot in the last four.
Billy Molloy's side are certainly peaking at the right time. Opponents Shelbourne got off to a rotten start in the league stages, taking one point from the first eight games, but they have been in superb form since, winning six of the last ten.
However, that impressive run counted for nothing as Youths went into their back yard and comprehensively outplayed them. Right from the first whistle the visitors went at the Dublin side and they got their reward inside ten minutes.
The ball was won well in midfield by Vincent Quinlan to set the move in motion. He fed Dean George, hovering near the penalty area, and the striker in turn slipped in Eoin Porter. From the centre of the box, just inside the area, the former Waterford striker made no mistake, tucking home low to the right corner.
It was turning into a good, open game of football. Youths were pressing high up the field, causing damage down the left and not allowing Shelbourne the time to play out from the back like they wanted to. Wexford were creating chances too.
Dean George went through one-on-one but was denied by Shels 'keeper Matt Lyons. Youths could have had a penalty when Ciarán Murphy was impeded in the area.
The winger stayed on his feet but it didn't do him any good in the eyes of the referee who waved away appeals.
After clearing an earlier throw, Wexford switched off. Shelbourne tossed the ball in, with Michael Murphy taking possession inside the penalty area and firing past Corey Chambers to tie the contest.
George was denied when through on Lyons again, while Eoin Porter really should have had a penalty when he was hacked down in the area late in the half. Still, Youths went in at the break level, in a great frame of mind, and began creating down the right wing after the re-start.
The idea was to keep a clean sheet in the second-half and the goal would eventually come. That's exactly what happened.
Quinlan had a few strikes from around the penalty area that came to nothing, George and Ciarán Murphy too, but Youths were making all the running.
Finally the pressure told when Eoin Donnelly, excellent in centre-midfield, won possession back. He fed his equally impressive centre-field partner Quinlan, who slipped in George and the Youths striker made no mistake this time, beating Lyons with a low strike.
Wexford were comfortable closing out the match without any real scares. At the back Conor Sutton was the star, performing fantastically throughout, while Paul Brennan was solid in defence and lively in attack.
Youths must now wait for the draw to discover their last four opponent.
Wexford Youths: Corey Chambers; Paul Carton, Owen McCormack, Conor Sutton (capt.), Paul Brennan; Michael Molloy, Eoin Donnelly, Vinny Quinlan, Ciarán Murphy; Eoin Porter; Dean George. Subs. - Dylan Bradley for Molloy, Martin O'Connor for Donnelly, Ciaran Lú for George, also Seán Duffy, Adam Rochford, Cormac Kehoe, Neil Murphy, Adam Dempsey.
Shelbourne: Matt Lyons; Luke Doyle, Conor Keely, Cian Fogarty, Ross Coyle, Aaron Molloy, Michael Murphy, Dayle Rooney (capt.), Dylan Grimes, Aaron Ralph, David Harper. Subs. - Ryan O'Neill, Nathan Doyle, Craig O'Connor, Seán Cronin, Leo Tang, Seán Trimble, Josh Scully.