Youths' lead up in smoke
Referee forced to call a halt
Wexford Youths will have their abandoned Division 1 League game with Athlone Town re-fixed.
Wexford Youths 2 Athlone Town 0
The locals were leading 2-0 at half-time on Friday but the referee, Pascal Tuite, was forced to call a premature halt when the generator caught fire during the interval, leaving the ground without floodlights.
Anxious to bounce back from their previous week's defeat to UCD, the Youths played some quality football during the opening 45 minutes and few could argue with their two-goal interval cushion.
They took the lead as early as the third minute when Andy Mulligan showed his strength in getting to the end line.
Having shaken off a couple of tackles, he sent over a delightful left-footed cross that was powered to the net by Aidan Keenan.
Having been disappointed with their defensive play in losing to the college side, the home side's back four stepped up considerably as Gary Delaney was once again a dominant figure, but it still took an excellent save from 'keeper Graham Doyle to keep out a Seán O'Connor shot from the edge of the area.
Adopting a positive attacking approach, the Youths increased their lead in the 17th minute when Delaney rose highest to a Conor English corner kick to head down powerfully into the corner of the net, making it 2-0 which was how it remained to the break.
Now the Youths will have to do it all over again when the game is re-fixed. Of some consolation to the home side is that leaders Finn Harps dropped two points to UCD.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Conor whittle (Eric Molloy, 23), Gary Delaney, Lee Grace, James Dermody, Craig McCabe, Andy Mulligan, Craig Wall, Conor English, Peter Higgins, Aiden Keenan. Subs. - Stephen Last, Craig Comerford, Jonny Bonner, Ryan Delaney, Philip Drohan, Daniel Niekes.
Athlone Town: Shane Cusack, Robert Gaul, Brian Shortall, Stephen Dunne, Derek Doyle, Stephen Quigley, Garbhan Coughlan, Daniel Purdy, Gary Burke, Seán O'Connor, Marco Chineda. Subs. - Patrick Dunican, Michael Browne, Ian Sweeney, Seán Trench, Daniel Molloy, Aidan Collins, Aidan Inel.
Referee: Paschal Tuite (Dublin).
One of the leading contenders for the FAI Cup, Kevin O'Connor's Cork City, will visit Ferrycarrig Park this Friday (8 p.m.) for their eagerly-awaited second round clash with Wexford Youths.
Whatever the outcome, this is one of the biggest games for the Ferrycarrig venue since the League Cup final with Derry City and is sure to attract a huge crowd.
The Cork side have quality in each line of their team, while it's also expected to include recent signing O'Connor, the former Shelmaliers and Wexford G.A.A. player who has broken into the first team despite only signing a few weeks back.
Cork City will bring a new intensity to the game as far as the Youths are concerned, but the Wexford outfit have been enjoying one of their best seasons as they sit second in the Division 1 league table, with a game in hand on the league leaders, Finn Harps.
In that regard it's always possible they could provide a cup shock, as in the past they have shocked Derry City in the cup on an evening when they livened up the Wexford venue.
Another big display from players like Graham Doyle, Gary Delaney, Conor English, Aidan Keenan and Peter Higgins could see them force the result right down to the final whistle.
However, leading scorer Danny Furlong, who missed the Athlone Town game, is not expected to be available as he battles a niggling knee injury.
Also unavailable will be Jonny Bonner who has returned home to his native Donegal having completed his studies this term at Carlow I.T.
However, he is expected back for the concluding stages of the league in September/October.
Minnows North End United make the journey west this Friday evening for their second round game with Premier Division side, Galway United, at Terryland Park.
Having ended the interests of UCC in the opening round, and having retained their league title, the Wexford town side will be on a high going into this game.
John Godkin will be urging his side for one more big performance, particularly from players like Robin Dempsey, Deckie Downes, Paul Murphy and Adam Beary who will relish the chance to shine on the big stage.