Wexford bow out
Under-18s lose out to Inishowen in last eight clash
Wexford bowed out of the FAI Youth Inter-League when they succumbed to a well-organised Inishowen League outfit in their quarter-final clash in a cold and blustery Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday.
Wexford Football League 0 Inishowen Youth League 2
Striker Bart Wesolowski confidently fired the north westerners in front on 13 minutes, and when Adam Duffy finished a lightning breakaway with similar panache midway through the second-half it completely took the wind out of Wexford's sails.
The hosts had enjoyed their best period of the game in the ten minutes prior to that killer second goal, but it was always going to be an uphill struggle once Inishowen had a two-goal buffer to protect.
Wexford did continue to try to breach the visitors' defence but failed to make the most of a couple of opportunities that, at the very least, would have instilled some doubts into Inishowen minds and set up a nervy finale.
However, it wasn't to be and Wexford will look back on their last eight exit as a missed opportunity, given that they matched their opponents in every facet of the game except the one that really mattered, putting the ball in the back of the net.
After a tepid opening, the home side had their first sight of goal on ten minutes, when a perfectly-weighted through ball from Dylan McVeigh sent Cillian Gilligan clear, but goalkeeper Ciarán Bradley was quickly off his line to block the shot.
Three minutes later Inishowen were ahead when Bart Wesolowski pounced on some hesitancy in the Wexford defence to win possession, evade a couple of challenges and rifle the ball beyond netminder Darragh Brooks.
The Slaneysiders almost hit back on 20 minutes but Kyle Firman's chipped effort was narrowly off target after a Dion Murphy cross was cleared into his path.
At the other end Brooks had to be alert to save a first-time drive from John Timlin, when the ball broke kindly for him after Norbert Indyka's cross was cut out.
It was Wexford's turn to threaten again on 31 minutes when Dylan O'Brien played the ball to the feet of Andy Kennedy on the left wing.
Kennedy made a yard of space for himself before whipping in a teasing delivery to the back post, and although Jamie Thomas got his head to the ball it hit a defender, completely taking the sting out of the effort.
Five minutes before the break O'Brien and Kennedy again combined on the left, but the inrushing Dion Murphy arrived a second too late to get his head on another dangerous cross from the winger.
Wexford could have suffered a sucker-punch just before the half-time whistle but for a fine piece of defending from David Christie, with the Gorey Rangers man doing well to get a block in on Norbert Indyka as he raced through on goal.
With the wind at their backs in the second-half Wexford were determined to apply increased pressure on the Inishowen defence, with Dylan McVeigh forcing Bradley into a comfortable save seconds after the restart.
However, Inishowen came within inches of doubling their advantage two minutes later when Adam Duffy ran on to a Finn McLaughlin cross but saw his effort blocked on the line.
Buoyed by the let-off, Wexford upped the tempo and enjoyed their best spell of the contest, with Andy Kennedy firing a shot into the side netting, seconds after substitute Luke O'Neill had caused panic in the Inishowen defence.
On the hour mark Aaron O'Brien fired a free-kick over the crossbar, while moments later Dylan McVeigh's long-range effort drifted just wide of the right post.
Wexford were rocked back on their heels on 66 minutes though, when the visitors broke quickly and Adam Duffy stylishly arrowed the ball to the corner of the net.
The hosts went close on 75 minutes when Jordan Redmond hared down the left wing and saw his shot smothered by Bradley, and Aaron O'Brien blazed a decent chance over the bar in the follow-up.
A minute later O'Brien went closer when his effort on goal took a slight deflection, but Bradley adjusted his feet well and got a strong right hand to it.
With Wexford throwing caution to the wind Inishowen almost sealed the deal in the 78th minute, but Darragh Brooks kept the home side in it by saving well from the impressive Finn McLaughlin.
Wexford had a couple of chances to set up a tense finish, with Cillian Gilligan swivelling and firing over the bar and Andy Kennedy seeing his well-struck effort confidently held by the goalkeeper.
Inishowen could have rubbed further salt into the Wexford wounds deep into injury time as players queued up to put the ball in the back of the net, but Oisín Hession's shot on goal was blocked.
Wexford Football League: Darragh Brooks, Dion Murphy, Dylan Fleming, David Christie, Ayman Yousif, Dylan O'Brien, Jamie Thomas, Kyle Firman, Cillian Gilligan, Dylan McVeigh, Andy Kennedy. Subs. - Aaron O'Brien for Firman, inj. (29), Luke O'Neill for Yousif (55), Jordan Redmond for Thomas (67), Brandon Sinnott for Christie (80), also Ben Butler, Ethan Vickers, David Murray.
Inishowen Youth League: Ciarán Bradley, Brendan Doherty, Pat Loughrey, Jake Harkin, Denim McLaughlin, John Timlin, Oisín Hession, Finn McLaughlin, Bart Wesolowski, Adam Duffy, Norbert Indyka. Subs. - Mikey Friel for Wesolowski (53), Adrian Donaghey-Doherty for Duffy (78), Darragh Deery for Indyka (89), also Jordan McGeady, David Doherty, Brendan Doherty.
Referee: Chris Maher. Assistant referees: Gary Fitzgerald and John Ferncombe (all Waterford).