Wednesday 24 January 2018

Sixth spot in Kennedy Cup

Best-ever display by Wexford

The Wexford Under-14 squad for last week's Kennedy Cup in Limerick
The Wexford Under-14 squad for last week's Kennedy Cup in Limerick
Determination in the huddle before one of the games in Limerick

A superbly prepared Wexford and District Schoolboys League side achieved their second best-ever finish in the Kennedy Cup last week, taking sixth spot out of 32 competing teams.

Paul Sheridan's side gave a great account of themselves and made it all the way to the plate final. However, there they fell to a talented South Dublin Football League eleven after a penalty shoot-out, despite taking the lead through Darragh Levingston.

Wexford started out the campaign nervously, not showing their true quality, as they conceded a sloppy goal to lose to West Cork by a goal to nil. Yet they re-grouped before their second outing and improved greatly.

Cian Browne was superb in goal as Wexford made six changes to their team from the opening game and dismissed Limerick County 3-0, with the goals coming from Darragh Levingston, Donal Porter and Andrew Mulvey-Mescall.

Wexford got the win they needed in their final group game, 1-0 against North Tipperary, courtesy of Levingston's second goal in as many games. That, coupled with West Cork's draw with Limerick, meant the Slaneysiders advanced to the quarter-finals proper.

The last eight draw pitted Wexford against a superb North Dublin Schoolboys League side and it proved a bridge too far. Despite another excellent performance from Browne, the Metropolitans won 3-0 and played some top-notch football.

That result dropped Wexford into the plate competition for teams ranked fifth-eighth. The semi-final saw Joe O'Sullivan and Luke Greene come into the side in midfield and absolutely boss the game.

In the end Levingston's wonder goal, for which he took on a handful of defenders before slotting past the 'keeper, was enough to win it.

A plate final against South Dublin was Wexford's final game on Friday morning, the curtain-raiser to the Cup final that pitted eventual winners Dublin and District Schoolboys League against Galway.

Wexford were again superb, dominating much of the game but in the end it wasn't to be.

The Slaneysiders took the lead when Levingston drilled home a 30-metre free-kick, only for Dublin to equalise. Wexford battered them after the break as Joe O'Sullivan fired over, Donal Porter had a shot saved, and an almighty ping-pong session from a corner somehow didn't produce a goal.

Eventually the game went to penalties. Both sides slotted home their first two attempts but Wexford missed their next two and South Dublin converted theirs, meaning they took the plate for fifth spot and their opponents finished an excellent sixth after a fantastic week in Limerick.

Wexford squad: Cian Browne (Gorey Rangers), Martin Atkin (St. Joseph's), Jason Bolger (Gorey Rangers), Ryan Connelly (Gorey Rangers), Reece De La Cour (North End), Matthew Foley (Campile), Shane Gibson (Gorey Rangers), Callum Gondard (Forth Celtic), Luke Greene (Gorey Rangers), Cian Kinlough (North End), Darragh Levingston (Gorey Rangers), Justin Moran (Forth Celtic), Andrew Mulvey-Mescall (Gorey Rangers), Rory O'Connor (New Ross Celtic), Graham O'Reilly (North End), Joe O'Sullivan (Campile), Donal Porter (New Ross Celtic), Kyle Scallan (North End), Dylan Whelan (Campile), Seán Maher (Moyne Rangers).

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