Bree boys best
Kennedy drills home crucial winner
Dean Kennedy drilled home a 70th-minute winner as his Bree United side finally got the better of a dogged Wexford Albion in their Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-16 Division 2 clash at Coolcotts Lane on Saturday.
Bree United 2 - Wexford Albion B 1
Despite throwing everything at the hosts, Bree looked to be heading home with a frustrating point until Kennedy latched on to a breaking ball from Dean Doyle's corner to fire his club to the top of the table alongside Rosslare Rangers.
The goal came at the end of a short spell of intense pressure. Nick Doyle had just seen his header from a corner cleared off the line by the alert Dara Lawlor, but there was nothing the full-back or impressive 'keeper Luke Hebblethwaite could do to stop Kennedy's drive.
Indeed, it was the dagger for the home side who had improved markedly after a long struggle of a first-half. Bree totally bossed the opening 40 minutes and must have been scratching their heads about the 1-1 scoreline at the interval.
With Kennedy and opposite flanker Anthony Butler probing from the wings and Paul Sinnott and Dean Doyle pinging succulent ball after inch-perfect ball from the centre, attackers Peter Kelly and Nick Doyle were almost being spoiled.
However, Albion boast an extremely strong back four and Lee Moran, Dara Lawlor, Andrew Smith and Tiernan McGuire were proving very difficult to get the better of.
Hebblethwaite had made a couple of tidy saves in the opening quarter of an hour but when Dean Doyle slid Anthony Butler into the clear there was nothing he could do to prevent a calm and clinical finish from hitting the rigging.
Out of nothing Wexford Albion responded when Aaron Kinsella sent Ryan Busher away on the right of goal and he controlled the ball, made a yard of space and flashed a stunning shot past Killian Power to the Bree net.
Bree owned the remainder of the first-half, playing down the Coolcotts Lane hill, but came no closer than when Dean Doyle picked out Peter Kelly with a superb pass, with the striker's low shot cannoning off the foot of the post and away to safety.
After living dangerously in the first-half, Albion improved in the second period and went close when David Tennant's 25-yard shot whizzed narrowly wide of the left post. However, it was the irrepressible Kennedy who got the winner as Bree held on to take the three points.
Star man: Dean Kennedy (Bree) - constant source of quality balls from the wing and his winner capped an outstanding display.
Bree United: Killian Power; Martin Levingstone, Aaron Murphy, Enda Minogue, Wojtek Waligora; Dean Kennedy, Paul Sinnott, Dean Doyle, Anthony Butler (capt.); Nick Doyle, Peter Kelly. Subs. - Scott Tobin for Waligora (50), also Shane Roche.
Wexford Albion: Luke Hebblethwaite; Andrew Smith, Tiernan McGuire, Dara Lawlor, Lee Moran; John Winters, Ben McMahon, Max Barnes (capt.), Aaron Kinsella; Niall Doyle, Ryan Busher. Subs. - Andrew Doyle for Winters (45), David Tennant for Doyle (50), Dylan Breen for Kinsella (57), also Cian Rossiter.
Referee: Noel O'Connor.