Super Wexford shock leaders
Wexford F.C. 2 U.C.D. 1
A superb first-half showing from Wexford F.C. saw them rip up the formbook to shock the Under-19 Southern Elite Division leaders at Ferrycarrig Park on Tuesday.
Goals in the opening 45 minutes from Dean George and Martin O'Connor put the hosts in the driving seat, and although substitute Yoyo Mahdy pulled one back for the Dubliners in the 82nd minute, Wexford held out for a fully-merited victory.
With 22 points separating the sides going into the game and the students having only lost once from their previous 14 outings there could only be one result, couldn't there? Not a bit of it as Tom O'Connor's young charges went at their much-vaunted opponents from the off.
Wexford created their first decent opening inside seven minutes, when Dean George cushioned a header into the path of Adam Feeney, but his shot was parried by goalkeeper Finn McGowan.
After Mark Dignam's strike was blocked at the other end, Wexford again threatened when Feeney flicked on a header for the inrushing Vincent Quinlan, but his strike was always rising over the crossbar.
The hard-working Feeney was again in the thick of the action on 15 minutes when Yaw Aboagye delivered a pinpoint through ball for the striker to rush on to, but McGowan was quickly off his line to narrow the angle and thwart the shot.
Wexford goalkeeper Adam Dempsey wasn't called into action until the 29th minute when he comfortably gathered Kevin Coffey's long-range shot, with the hosts continuing to carve open the U.C.D. defence and manufacture the better chances.
After Vincent Quinlan had dragged a left-footed effort wide, they got they breakthrough their endeavour deserved when Dean George broke the deadlock on 36 minutes. Mick Gardiner did well to make space for himself on the left wing and arrowed a precision pass to George, who forced the ball past McGowan.
Two minutes later and Wexford F.C. were in dreamland. The talented George fired in a blistering free-kick from 30 yards, which was too hot to handle for the U.C.D. goalkeeper, and Martin O'Connor applied an improvised finish, back-heeling the ball to the net.
U.C.D. made three changes at the break, hoping to freshen things up, and they certainly began the second-half with greater urgency, although the Wexford defence coped admirably with the increased intensity.
However, the visitors did come close to halving the deficit in the 65th minute, with the lively Kevin Coffey unleashing a shot from a tight angle which struck the angle of post and crossbar.
U.C.D. continued to turn the screw, with Yoyo Mahdy heading over while off balance and Seán McDonald and Luke Boore firing off target, although they still weren't creating clearcut chances against a determined rearguard.
With 75 minutes on the clock they finally caused a degree of panic in the Wexford defence when McDonald played in Kevin Coffey, but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Dempsey and the ball was hacked to safety.
The league leaders did manage to plunder the goal they so badly craved on 81 minutes when Seán Quinn sent in a cross from the right and substitute Yoyo Mahdy drove a shot low and hard to the net.
Four minutes later Seán McDonald's strike was straight at Dempsey, and following a few anxious moments Wexford could celebrate the sweet sound of referee Brian Fenlon's final whistle.
Wexford F.C.: Adam Dempsey, Jack Gallagher, Dion Murphy, Martin O'Connor, Adam Rochford, Yaw Aboagye, Mick Gardiner, Dean George, Vincent Quinlan, Danny Doyle, Adam Feeney. Subs. - Robbie Kane for Feeney (67), Neil Murphy for D. Murphy (75), Jack Healy for Aboagye (79), Eoin Curran for George (86), also Michael Murphy, Cian Doyle, Alan Maher-Broderick.
U.C.D.: Finn McGowan, Darragh Corcoran, Mark Dignam, Andy O'Reilly, Luke Boore, Luca Lovic, Evan Farrell, Conor Crowley, Seán McDonald, Cian Ryan, Kevin Coffey. Subs. - Joe Manley for Dignam (45), Yoyo Mahdy for Ryan (45), Seán Quinn for Crowley (45), Jack Ryan for Lovic (56), Dylan Rowe for Farrell (72), also John O'Keane, Ryan Meany.
Referee: Brian Fenlon.