Tuesday 12 December 2017

Keegan remains positive after encouraging show

Wexford Youths manager Shane Keegan remained positive, and rightly so, in the wake of Friday's encouraging display but ultimate loss at the hands of Shamrock Rovers.

'Those who weren't at the games will see two consecutive 2-0 defeats, see us with no points and surmise that we are in for a season of being rooted to the bottom of the table as we appear to be clearly out of our depth. But those who were at the games know the real story is very different,' he said.

'As for Friday night, I actually don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that was arguably the best performance the team has ever given me. It's not so long ago that the sole aim of a Wexford Youths team heading to play Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght would be to try to keep the score down.

'Instead of that I had Pat Fenlon and three separate Rovers players coming to me after the game, all basically saying "sorry about that, we robbed ye"!

'Defensively the lads were brilliantly structured and made it impossible for Rovers to play through us. From an attacking point of view, 'Spot' and Danny's inter-play and movement was fantastic and Rovers couldn't contain them.

'But unfortunately for us, Barry Murphy pulled off two fantastic saves and we're left walking away with nothing again.'

The outcome means that Youths are still seeking a first win after four trips to face Rovers in Tallaght, although they were considerably more competitive than in the FAI Cup clash six years ago when the Dubliners cruised to a 5-1 win.

The other games were both in the Leinster Senior Cup, with Rovers winning 2-1 in 2010, and 1-0 in 2013.

Only one team had beaten Rovers in Tallaght in their first season after gaining promotion, namely Sporting Fingal in 2010. Otherwise the Hoops had recorded nine wins and six draws against new boys on their home patch prior to Friday's clash.

Cork Hibernians were the last club to win their first-ever top flight game at the expense of Rovers, as far back as 1958.

There was an interesting connection between the teams as Shane Keegan had coached Mikey Drennan during his time as a schoolboy in Kilkenny from Under-10 to Under-16.

Drennan, a precocious talent, won an All-Ireland Féile na nGael Under-14 hurling medal with Brian Cody's James Stephens club before spending some time on the books of Aston Villa.

Wexford People

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