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Sunday 22 July 2018

Wexford Youths held by Kildare in opener

PAT WHITTY

WEXFORD FINALLY got this season's Youth Inter-League campaign started when they played this much-delayed group game at a bitterly cold Bunclody on Saturday.

This game was scheduled to be played in Castledermot but had to be switched to Bunclody due to the weather conditions.

Though the pitch had a light dusting of snow and was firm, it was perfectly playable.

Wexford dominated possession for much of the game, but overall, a draw was probably a fair result as a skilful Kildare side fought very hard to the end.

The game got off to a flying start for Wexford as they were awarded a penalty for handball just two minutes into the game.

David Miller's well-struck kick was saved by goalkeeper Terry Smith and the rebound was finished to the net, but referee Michael Franklin disallowed the goal due to encroachment while the kick was being taken.

Wexford's disappointment was short-lived however, as a minute later, Richie Farrell unleashed a screamer from a good 30 metres out which beat Smith all ends up.

The lead was to be short-lived too though, as Kildare won a free-kick out on the left touchline on seven minutes, and Ryan Burke's excellent delivery was headed to the net by centre half Seán Daly.

After such an eventful opening, the game settled down somewhat and David Miller had the only other effort of note shortly before half-time when his shot went just wide.

Just three minutes had gone in the second-half when Kildare shocked the Wexford boys by taking the lead. Craig McCabe's miskick was seized on by the lively Dylan Connolly who slotted home a good goal.

Wexford struggled to get a grip on the game for a while after this setback and it was only the introduction of a few substitutes after an hour of play which got a bit of momentum going again.

On 65 minutes one of these substitutes, Aidan Nolan, slipped home the equaliser after a good move down the right side.

Wexford tried hard for a winner, but despite good chances for David Miller, Robert Dempsey and Jamie Fox the goal wouldn't come and they had to settle for a draw.

Wexford's final group game is at home to leaders Wicklow on January 15, and that clash will decide which two teams will get out of the group to the knockout phase.

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