Hoops have too much for U-19s
Wexford F.C. 0 Shamrock Rovers 3
Shamrock Rovers burst out of the blocks and Wexford just couldn't keep up in the SSE Airtricity League Under-19 Southern Elite Section at Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday.
The Tallaght outfit are relatively safe in the top four as the season moves into its final stretch and they were easily too slick for their slumping hosts. Everything they did was a little sharper, with their passing, tackling and shooting all better. Their movement was excellent, particularly striker Dean Williams.
The Rovers frontman was a handful. He didn't get a goal but was a nightmare for the Wexford defence, as he came short into pockets of space to get possession, he twisted and turned outside of defenders to get a yard, and rarely looked to go in behind as a first option.
After starting the season a little sluggishly, this was Rovers' third win since the break and their confidence was clearly evident in their play. On the contrary, Wexford struggled once again. They have now scored just twice in their last nine games and have not registered in the last four.
In that quartet of games they have conceded 14 times and they are rooted to the bottom spot with five league games to play - all at home. It would be hard for Wexford boss Thomas O'Connor to draw up a worse start for his side than what they got.
Within two minutes Shane Stokes flung the ball into the penalty area from the right wing after the home defence had dealt with his initial corner. However, the back line was all at sea when the ball arrived just past the penalty spot and Cian Collins stooped low to head past Adam Dempsey.
Wexford rarely threatened but if Danny Doyle could have got his head up and spotted Cian Doyle alone in the centre when he beat Conor Gleeson in the 15th minute, then his side might have drawn level.
As it was the visitors continued to push and probe and it came as little surprise when they won a penalty in the 28th minute. With Vincent Quinlan and Martin O'Connor both trying to tackle him in the box, Williams was taken down and Richie English converted the spot-kick.
Quinlan pulled back to Ciarán Murphy on the half-hour mark but his drive from outside the box missed the target. Rovers went 3-0 up in the 40th minute when Collins poked a low English free-kick past Dempsey from close range.
After all the goalmouth action of the first-half, the second was a lot more sterile. Wexford looked to hit the flanks with quick, long balls but Shamrock Rovers defended them pretty well. The hosts were lucky not to be reduced to ten when Danny Doyle kick out at Harry Cornally with the ball long gone, but both got yellows after a brief face-to-face staring contest.
The closest that Wexford went to a consolation was in the 83rd minute when Quinlan arrowed Jack Healy's lay-off inches wide of the frame of the goal. Wexford will host Galway on Sunday in Ferrycarrig Park as they look to snap a twelve-game win-less run.
Wexford: Adam Dempsey; Adam Feeney, Neil Murphy, Martin O'Connor (capt.), Adam Rochford; Dean George, Vincent Quinlan; Ciarán Murphy, Cian Doyle, Dylan Bradley; Danny Doyle. Subs. - Robbie Kane for C. Doyle (82), Jack Healy for Bradley (82), Adam Doyle for C. Murphy (87), also Jason McGuire.
Shamrock Rovers: Luca Gratzer; Harry Cornally (capt.), Cian Collins, Darragh Gibbons, Conor Gleeson; Richie English; Emmanuel Lawal, Evan White, Shane Stokes, Adam Doyle; Dean Williams. Subs. - Luke Kiely for Doyle (62), Lee McEntee for White (72), Jordan Tallan for Stokes (72), also Conor Fitzharris.
Referee: Seamus Kelly (Wexford).