Spoils shared in Limerick
Limerick 2 Wexford F.C. 2
Wexford were made to settle for a draw in an entertaining encounter with Limerick in the SSE Airtricity Under-15 League Group 3 in the University of Limerick on Sunday.
Wexford fell behind twice through individual errors and may be frustrated that their relative dominance of the match did not translate into three points.
That said, a loss would have been close to fatal for the Ferrycarrig side. It's now three games without a win and they sit third in the group, but importantly Sunday's draw means that three wins from their last three games will guarantee them a quarter-final spot.
They couldn't have had a worse start when goalkeeper David Murphy shanked a routine clearance inside the first minute, and his error was punished by Dean McNamara when he eventually finished into an empty net.
However, Wexford responded well and spent the majority of the half in Limerick territory. Brody Murphy fired over from a Darragh Levingston corner and Seán O'Brien-Murphy went close on a rare flurry forward.
Levingston eventually had the sides level after good pressure earned him an opportunity to round the 'keeper and side-foot into the gapping goal.
The second-half saw history repeat itself. After a positive start from the Ferrycarrig side, Limerick broke and finished completely against the run of play when Ethan O'Sullivan side-footed into the bottom left corner.
It would have been easy for Wexford's spirit to waver but the outstanding Graham O'Reilly's persistence saw him rob the ball from Adam Fitzpatrick and half volley terrifically past Seán Hamm from 25 yards out, just five minutes after going behind.
From then on it was a classic possession versus counter-attacking match. Wexford controlled the ball and pulled numerous saves from Hamm while Limerick looked to exploit the space Wexford left behind.
They went closest late on when O'Sullivan powered through the middle of the model defence but was denied fantastically by Murphy's outstretched leg.
The yellowbellies had far more opportunities to talk about. Luke Greene's rocket was confidently batted away before Hamm denied Evan Farrell with a one-handed save.
James Dowling tumbled to the ground as he looked to tap in the rebound but referee Martin Cuddihy waved for play to continue.
Then, Brian Byrne found the side-netting from a narrow angle before Wexford almost stole all three points in injury time.
Dowling found himself one-on-one with Hamm, only for the Limerick netminder to save with his feet.
From the resulting corner, Levingston's ball was met at the back post by O'Reilly who saw his header agonisingly deflect up and over the crossbar as Cuddihy blew the full-time whistle.
Wexford are on the road to Cork City next Saturday as they look to get back to winning ways.
Wexford F.C.: David Murphy; Seán O'Brien-Murphy, Kyle Scallan, Dylan Whelan, Shane Gibson; Luke Greene, Graham O'Reilly, Darragh Levingston (capt.), James Dowling, Evan Farrell; Brody Murphy. Subs. (rolling) - Brian Byrne, Cian Kinlough, Darragh McGuire, Darragh O'Donoghue, Cormac Bruce, Cormac Doyle, Rian Fitzpatrick.
Limerick: Seán Hamm; Ronan Geary, Joey Rushe, Jake Prendergast, Scott Kirwan; Adam Fitzpatrick, Filip Mostowy, Gerard Quaid, Wassiou Ayawe, Dean McNamara; Ethan O'Sullivan. Subs. (rolling) - Adam Brennan, Andri Haxhiaj, Michael Molloy, Riain O'Connell, Oisín Enright, James Griffin.
Referee: Martin Cuddihy (Limerick).