Fifth win on the trot for U17 side
Wexford Youths extended their run to five unbeaten games after they brushed aside stragglers UCD in the SSE Airtricity Under-17 League Section 1 in Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday.
Wexford Youths 5 UCD 1
Although the game might not have been as comfortable as the scoreline suggests, there is no doubt that the more deserving team came out with all three points.
This result leaves the Youths hot on the tails of Cabinteely and Waterford United in third and second place respectively as they attempt to qualify for the knockout stages.
Wexford started brightly and had the ball in the net with their first attack in the fifth minute.
Vincent Quinlan, on the wing, beat his marker before delivering a pristine ball which was nodded home by striker Craig Hayes.
The Ferrycarrig side's joy was short lived as UCD equalised a minute later. Seán McDonald met a Neil Farrugia cross and pulled a great save from Youths 'keeper Adam Dunbar.
However, Dunbar could only palm the ball into the path of Yaya Camara who had the simplest task of tapping into an empty net.
After the equaliser both sides exchanged opportunities. Ivan Meegan and Farrugia both went close, before Wexford regained the lead in the 31st minute.
Meegan's free kick, which was saved onto the post, rebounded back into the path of Quinlan who beat Tom Murphy in the students' goal on his second attempt.
The home side dominated the remainder of the half. Hayes rounded Murphy before seeing his shot blocked, and Danny Doyle almost latched onto a Steven Hempenstall through ball.
But the lethal blow came just before the half-time whistle when Meegan fed Michael Carroll who expertly beat two Dublin defenders before side-footing accurately past the UCD goaltender.
Wexford began the second-half on top and almost pushed the game out of sight through Quinlan in the 51st minute.
He drifted past the Dublin back line, only to send his shot straight at Murphy.
With the Youths holding on to a two-goal cushion, the Belfield side knew they needed the next goal.
They went close twice in quick succession before the hour mark. Seán Quinn fired wide from close range whilst Dunbar's outstretched arm denied a certain McDonald goal.
Surviving that Dublin onslaught, the home side began to play with more freedom as the game drew to a close.
Youths made the scoreline at lot more glamorous in the dying stages.
Breaking from an opposition corner, Wexford found themselves in a three versus two situation, and substitute Ciarán Murphy intelligently switched play into the path of Quinlan who continued his run into the box and finished expertly into the bottom left corner.
The influential Quinlan completed his well-earned hat-trick in injury time when he linked up with Adam Rochford before smashing into the roof of the net.
Wexford Youths face Cabinteely next in a crucial game at the top of the Section 1 table.
Wexford Youths: Adam Dunbar, Martin O'Connor (capt.), Michael Molloy, Cian Larkin, Ronan Devereux, Stephen Hempenstall, Michael Carroll, Vincent Quinlan, Ivan Meegan, Danny Doyle, Craig Hayes. Subs. - Christopher Phelan for Carroll (66), Conor McGrath for Doyle (77), Jack Bates for Larkin (80), Adam Rochford for Hayes (83), Ciarán Murphy for Meegan (83), also Ronan O'Kelly, Ryan Hollick.
UCD: Tom Murphy, Brandon Perry, Dylan Rone, Joe Manley (capt.), Luke Boore, Jack Ryan, Ryan Hannon, Yaya Camara, Seán McDonald, Seán Quinn, Neil Farrugia. Subs. - Evan Farrell for Hannon (53), John O'Keane for Quinn (74), Dylan Byrne for Boore (77), Ryan Meaney for Farrugia (82), also Finn McGowan, Luka Lovic, Mark Dignam.
Referee: Brian Fenlon (Wexford).