Good point for U19s
Wexford F.C. 1 Shamrock Rovers 1
Wexford moved themselves off the bottom of the SSE Airtricity Under-19 League Southern Elite Division table with a hard-earned draw against high-flying Shamrock Rovers in Ferrycarrig Park on Monday of last week.
James Quinn's boys picked up their first victory of the season down in Cobh in their previous game, and they took that confidence into a clash against a team which had smashed nine past them earlier in the season.
This contest was never going to be that straightforward. In fact, it was Wexford who took the game to the Tallaght boys, busting a gut to close them down before peppering their penalty area with a string of teasing dead-ball deliveries.
However, Wexford must have went in at the break with two clear regrets. Firstly, that Luke Kelly nipped in on the stroke of half-time to leave them trailing, and secondly, that they never could get the better of Rovers in the set-piece battle.
It was a game of very few clear chances in the first-half. Richie English cracked a free-kick from distance that Kelan Gaffney clutched at the second attempt in the 19th minute, and later Darren Prendergast made a telling block after Adham Masood intercepted and looked to feed in Shane Beary-Cahill.
Rovers didn't look comfortable with Wexford's intensity or with how the game was going. When Prendergast threw his hands up in dismay at a patron, who helpfully got up out of his seat to fetch the ball but accidentally threw it over the Rovers right-back's head, it pretty much summed up the visitors' attitude.
They did give warning to what they were capable of when Harry Cornally slipped Emmanuel Lawal through in the 43rd minute and Gaffney saved.
However, it wasn't heeded as Luke Kelly ghosted in on the right two minutes later and fired across goal to the corner of the net.
If the goal was harsh on Wexford, they responded in the correct way. Masood had just missed the target with a strike moments earlier when he was involved down the right again.
Quinlan then took over, and chipped across goal to the back post where Beary-Cahill controlled and fired past Adam Kenny.
Much of the remainder of the second-half was spent by Shamrock Rovers picking holes in the hosts, and Gaffney repelling all their advances.
Dean Williams missed several opportunities, Wexford lad Darragh O'Connor and Kelly did too, but they couldn't find the winning goal.
Then, with two minutes left, the visitors were forced to scramble clear a Danny Doyle corner, with Yaw Aboagye attempting to force home the ball from close range.
Right at the death English headed a right wing corner wide but it would have been harsh on a Wexford side which deserved their point.
Wexford F.C.: Kelan Gaffney; Craig O'Reilly, Ger Murray, Danny Bruce, Ciarán Paige; Cian Larkin (capt.); Adham Masood, Vincent Quinlan, Mick Gardiner, Shane Beary-Cahill; Danny Doyle. Subs. - Yaw Aboagye for Larkin (60), Adam Feeney for Masood (85), Ciarán Murphy for Beary-Cahill (85), also Colum Feeney, Liam Berry, Michael Carroll.
Shamrock Rovers: Adam Kenny; Darren Prendergast, Seán Callan, Darragh O'Connor, Eric Abulu; Richie English; Luke Kelly, Harry Cornally (capt.), Evan Smithers, Emmanuel Lawal; Dean Williams. Subs. - Thomas Oluwa for Cornally (67), Evan White for Smithers (90), also Shane O'Rourke, Conor Gleeson, Adam O'Connor.
Referee: Brian Fenlon (Wexford).