Youths book another cup final spot with slick show
WEXFORD YOUTHS qualified for their second F.A.I. Youth Cup final in five years with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Bohemians in Ozier Park, Waterford, on Sunday last.
Youths had the majority of possession for most of the first-half, with Danny Fitzpatrick in particular causing all sorts of problems for the Waterford defence. He really should have opened the scoring after 31 minutes when Chris Fenner's pass put him in on goal, but Bohs 'keeper Adam Carroll made a good save.
Fenner did have the ball in the net after 39 minutes but it was ruled out for offside.
Just before half-time though, the Waterford side had a great chance to go in front when Mark O'keeffe got clean through on goal but 'keeper Shane Sinnott pulled off a superb stop with his legs.
Conor Mccarney had a further chance for the Youths right on halftime but he shot just over from a narrow angle to leave the game goalless at half-time. The secondhalf began as a heavy shower of rain mixed with hailstones came down.
Youths, however, simply moved up a few gears, totally dominating the play with wonderful passing and movement. They were duly rewarded on 52 minutes when Donal Shanley's cross was headed powerfully home by Gary Delaney. Three minutes later, it was Delaney who came close again as he unleashed a screamer from fully 35 metres out which hit the crossbar and went over.
Wexford then had a strong penalty claim waved away when Chris Fenner looked to have been taken down by the Bohs 'keeper, Adam Carroll, as he went for goal. From the resulting corner, Delaney rose highest to head the ball goalwards, only for Niall Daly to clear it off the line.
Wexford were really going for the kill and after 68 minutes, Donal Shanley's well-hit shot from 25 metres out zipped past Carroll in goal to make it a well-deserved 2-0 lead for Youths. Minutes later Shanley was involved again as he supplied the cross for Chris Fenner to slot home goal number three via the right-hand post.
In truth, Wexford could have had a few more goals before the end, but a 3-0 win in any semi-final is good going, particularly against a fancied Bohemians side who had clinched the Munster Youth Cup title on the previous weekend.
It was a real team performance with the second-half display being as fine an exhibition of football as one could wish to see. The Wexford players were deservedly given a generous round of applause from the home crowd as they came off the pitch.
Gary Delaney was probably the man of the match, with Donal Shanley and the industrious Conor Mccarney also outstanding. The match officials from Cork deserve praise too for a job well done, as they were hardly noticeable all through the match which is the way it should be.
Youths now have home advantage for the final against Mount Merrion of Dublin, probably on Saturday, May 12.