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Thursday 15 November 2018

Dobbs flying as new season starts

Alan Aherne

Wexford F.C. will be hoping that the rich vein of form currently enjoyed by Enniscorthy teenager Aaron Dobbs will continue when they travel to Stradbrook on Friday to face Cabinteely in their SSE Airtricity First Division opener (7.45 p.m.).

The promising striker was in scintillating form on Thursday when he scored both goals for the Republic of Ireland Under-19 side in their 2-1 friendly win against Romania in La Manga, Spain.

Dobbs headed home a Cieran Dunne cross in the 50th minute, and the same duo linked up again with half an hour left as the talented attacker completed a fine double.

He was joined on the team by one of Wexford's new acquisitions, winger Owen Wall, who caught the eye in Ferrycarrig Park last season when scoring a late brace for Waterford in a 5-0 EA Sports Cup rout.

Dobbs had also featured in the first game against Romania two days earlier, coming on in the 73rd minute for Aidan Keena as Ireland claimed a 1-0 win.

And having also regularly hit the net in Wexford's pre-season games, most notably away to Waterford and Bray Wanderers respectively, hopefully Dobbs will be a handful for the Cabo defence on Friday.

Scoring goals was a major problem for Damian Locke's side last season, with a mere 16 registered and 41 conceded in a poor campaign that ended with a seventh-place finish.

Only Athlone Town were below Wexford when the year concluded, and the south-east side were overly reliant on midfielder and top marksman Thomas Croke for goals.

He finished with six to his credit, whereas it was a frustrating season for Dobbs who didn't find the net in nine league outings after joining on a loan deal from Shamrock Rovers.

The young man, who celebrated his 19th birthday on January 6, turned his full attention to another code when the First Division concluded, helping Starlights to the county Senior football title in October.

There has been a Wexford presence in the league since 2007, and on that note one of the club's favourite sons made a very interesting move last week.

Danny Furlong, the record scorer and appearance maker with 90 goals from 196 outings, has returned from Southern United in New Zealand to link up with former Wexford boss Shane Keegan at Galway United.

Keegan presided over a second successive relegation last term, with the westerners making the drop in his first season at the helm after he left the Ferrycarrig Park crew on the day after they lost top flight status with a 3-0 play-off defeat to Drogheda United in 2016.

With Furlong now set to face Wexford with his new club, it will add further spice to Galway's visit to Ferrycarrig Park on June 15.

For the moment, though, the focus is on Cabinteely who have made incremental progress in their three league seasons thus far, finishing eighth, seventh and sixth in that order.

Wexford will be captained this season by Mayo-born centre-half Ross Kenny, and their new signings include I.T. Carlow trio Liam McCartan, John Morgan and Shane Barnes.

Enniscorthy's Chris 'Hopper' Kenny will also add steel to the midfield department after returning from a one-year sojourn with Sligo Rovers.

The first home game is against U.C.D. on Friday week, March 2.

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