Thursday 22 August 2019

Youths have discovered a way to win against odds

It's not very hard to accurately describe what the three points meant to Wexford Youths.

These players have not seen it before, ahead of of the chasing pack, and seeking their first-ever piece of silverware and promotion to the top flight, but how they relished the occasion on the final whistle of referee Andrew Mullally.

The players threw their arms in the air, perhaps more in relief than celebration, as those two late goals meant they remain leaders of Division 1, with both Finn Harps and UCD giving chase.

There is no doubting that the destination of the title could very well come down to their two clashes with UCD before they have to face the daunting journey to Ballybofey for the final league game of the season.

There was the joyous sight of manager Shane Keegan, who even dispatched with his suit coat during those final tense minutes, before racing on to the pitch, hopping, skipping and jumping his way to the players with arms waved to join in the celebrations, followed by his backroom team and substitutes.

Even the long-haired Mick Wallace, who looked tense during that closing spell in situ behind the goal in front of the clubhouse, eventually made his way towards the management and players, hand-shaking as he grasped the importance of the occasion, not unlike many of his blitzes in the Dáil chamber.

But Wexford Youths will be careful for what they wish for as their injury concerns continue to grow. With central defender Stephen Last and winger Dean Broaders out for the remainder of the season, many were quick to note that these could prove a costly three points in the final run-in.

Recent signing Willie Tyrrell, who was settling into his defensive duties, will now miss the next game, having been red-carded after just 14 minutes.

A further concern is the foot injury suffered by Craig McCabe that forced his second-half substitution, while Lee Grace - injured in the victory over Finn Harps - was forced to sit out this latest win.

It's a worrying time for manager Keegan and his backroom team but they will take a lot of positives from recent weeks. They have found a way to take crucial points, something that was missing in past campaigns, a factor that should stand to them in the games ahead.

In many ways they will be happy to have a break this coming weekend.

While it may hinder momentum, it more importantly gives the physios more time to have some of the injured players back in contention.

The Youths' next outing will see them travel away to meet neighbours, Waterford United, at the Regional Sports Centre on Friday, August 28 (7.45 p.m.), while their next home game is against Cobh Ramblers on Saturday, September 5 (8 p.m.).

That will be followed by a huge home clash six days later with the students from UCD, whom many believe could yet pip the Youths for the Division 1 crown.

One thing we are assured of is a huge finish to the league. Consistency has come the way of the Youths so let's hope it can power them to the title.

Wexford People