Youths begin defence with win in Waterford
WEXFORD YOUTHS Under-18s began the defence of their All-Ireland F.A.I. Youth Cup title on Sunday last, an away tie with Waterford Bohs, the team they beat in last year's semi-final.
It was daunting to have to play such a strong side as Bohs in the first round and it proved to be an epic encounter between two outstanding teams.
The Youths withstood a lot of early pressure from the home side but managed to get on top as the half wore on and grabbed a super goal just before the interval, courtesy of Jason McHugh.
The second-half was end-to-end stuff and the Youths only made the game safe in the dying minutes when Conor Maher played a ball that Johnny Giles would have been proud of, for Daryll Power to finish with style.
This was a super game of football which was a credit to both sides. Referee James McGrath was nothing short of excellent, and I still don't understand why we see better refereeing at Under-18 level than at League of Ireland, which leaves much to be desired.
It was impossible to pick a man of the match for the Youths, it was such a team performance, with Danielius Niekis in goal, Dale Scallan at sweeper, behind Ryan Delaney and Cian Boggan who were rock solid.
A midfield six of Donal Shanley, Eoin Dunne, Tony Smith, Daryll Power, Conor Maher and Nevin Rossiter worked themselves to a standstill, behind the excellent Jason McHugh up front.
The large crowd were certainly well entertained by the football on show.
Happy days - another historic win that should prove of immeasurable benefit to the latest kids on the block.