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Friday 15 November 2019

Murphy strikes late to earn precious win for Wexford

Soccer, Oscar Traynor Trophy: Leinster Senior League 0 Wexford Football League 1

Wexford Football League who eked out a 1-0 win over the Leinster Senior League on Saturday. Photo: Anto O’Brien
Wexford Football League who eked out a 1-0 win over the Leinster Senior League on Saturday. Photo: Anto O’Brien

Wexford Football League had to dig deep to overcome the Leinster Senior League in their first group game of this season's Oscar Traynor Trophy at a wet and windy Bluebell United grounds on Saturday.

When the visitors were reduced to ten men with 15 minutes left on the clock, with midfielder Alan Rhodes receiving his marching orders, it looked like they might have to settle for a share of the spoils at best.

However, this Wexford side showed that they are made of stern stuff by grabbing a late winner through the talented Paul 'Spot' Murphy, putting them in a strong position in the group with a home tie against the Defence Forces to come.

Wexford began the game brightly, with John O'Connor just off target with a header from a Paul Murphy free-kick.

On seven minutes Wexford had a goal disallowed as Gary Delaney saw his first header blocked, and he then followed up to nod home but the goal was struck off for a foul on the home 'keeper.

Leinster Senior League's first chance arrived after 17 minutes as Stephen Donnelly dragged his effort across goal from a good position.

Two minutes later they again went close when Jordan Buckley cut in from the left and let fly from 20 metres.

At this stage Wexford lost their captain, Ian Sinnott, to injury, with Alan Freeman replacing his clubmate.

Stephen Donnelly had the next chance for the hosts on 30 minutes, when he worked an opening inside the area, but pulled his shot wide of the target.

Wexford then broke straight back and, following good work by Dale Flynn, his pass fell to John O'Connor, who saw his effort blocked at the expense of a corner-kick.

At the start of the second-half Niall Connolly replaced the injured O'Connor.

The visitors tried to push for what would be a priceless winner, and after 55 minutes Alan Rhodes got on the end of a poor clearance on the edge of the area, with his shot flashing past the left post.

With the conditions getting worse, neither team were able to create any clearcut chances, but with 15 minutes remaining the Leinster Senior League got a massive boost as Wexford lost midfielder Alan Rhodes to what seemed a very harsh red card.

However, Wexford re-organised and showed their character as they closed down the home side at every opportunity.

Brad O'Neill's charges then struck for the decisive goal on 86 minutes, as a great team move up the left put Connolly in behind the home defence.

His low, left-footed cross found Paul Murphy arriving at the back post and he side-footed home into the bottom corner from six metres.

After making the breakthrough, the Slaneysiders were in no mood to let their advantage slip and they safely negotiated the six minutes of added time, with the Leinster Senior League reduced to attempting shots from distance with none troubling visiting goalkeeper Lee Walker.

Wexford's next game in their three-team group will see them play the Defence Forces before the Christmas break.

Leinster Senior League: Craig O'Brien, Calvin Douglas, Scott Lawless, William McDonagh, Seán Gleeson, Jordan Buckley, Tony Griffiths, Seán Quinn (capt.), Thomas Caffery, William McAdams, Stephen Donnelly. Subs. - Darren McDonald, Josh Doyle, Jordan Roe, Michael Malone, Graham Murphy, Leon Heffernan.

Wexford Football League: Lee Walker, Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Ian Sinnott (capt.), Dale Flynn, Shane Pettit, James Peare, Alan Rhodes, John O'Connor, Paul Murphy, Kyle Dempsey. Subs. used - Alan Freeman, Niall Connolly, Matty Kavanagh, Emmet Quirke, Peter Goldsmith, also Seán Stewart, Jason McGuire.

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