Youths suffer one-goal loss
New boys make good start
A scrappy John McKeown goal two minutes before half-time condemned Wexford Youths to defeat in their first outing in this season's SSE Airtricity League Division 1 in Stradbrook on Friday.
Cabinteely 1 Wexford Youths 0
After Conor Whittle made a mess of a defensive situation and gifted Cabinteely a corner, Shane O'Neill swung in a tantalising ball under the Youths crossbar. Pandemonium ensued in the six-yard box and McKeown got the vital touch to register the hosts' first-ever league goal.
It was an apt way for the south Dublin newcomers to get their winner. All evening their set-piece delivery was exceptional, as opposed to Youths who really struggled to beat the first man far too often.
However, things could have been so different had Shane Keegan's side got the penalty they should have had in the 24th minute.
They had already seen roars ignored when Philip Drohan was shoved in the back in the area in the fourth minute, but the shout 20 minutes later was even more clearcut.
It was one of John Bonner's rare good dead balls that should have given Youths a spot kick. His left wing curled effort just missed the head of Craig Wall but with several other visiting players attacking the cross at the back post, the ball bounced up and was blocked by Jamie McGlynn's outstretched hand.
In unison the Wexford players appealed as the ball was swatted away to safety but Dublin referee Simon Rogers was unmoved and Cabinteely dodged a bullet.
The home side actually had the better chances in between the two penalty appeals. Jordan Buckley slipped Kevin Knight in on the left wing in the ninth minute but his effort was brilliantly saved by Graham Doyle.
From the resulting corner Doyle was called into action again when O'Neill's centre found its way to Robert Maloney but his header was held by the Wexford stopper.
Youths' best chance of a tight first-half fell to Ryan Delaney who hooked Bonner's right wing corner wide from close range, and six minutes later his side fell behind.
Wexford needed to up the tempo after the interval and they did that with the aid of substitute Danny Furlong.
The Rosslare man has been struggling with a hamstring injury but was still able to give Cabinteely plenty of problems.
Within six minutes of his introduction he was haring away from the defence. Eric Molloy played him through with a solid header and maybe a fully-fit Furlong would have taken it in on goal rather than snatching at an instantaneous long-range shot.
The attacker's lack of match fitness showed again when he got behind the Cabinteely defence two minutes later, only to again take a quick shot at the target that Evan Whelan comfortably saved low to his right.
The longer the game went on, the more Youths pressed. However, clearcut chances were non-existent and the visitors' night was summed up three minutes into added time when Bonner's long-range shot was easily held by Whelan.
Next up for Youths is an EA Sports Cup clash against U.C.C. tonight (Tuesday) in Ferrycarrig Park, and that is quickly followed by the south-east 'El Clasico' at home to Waterford United on Friday evening.
Cabinteely: Evan Whelan; Aaron Brilly, Victor Ekanem, Robert Maloney (capt.), Jamie McGlynn; Evan Finnegan; Shane O'Neill, Jordan Buckley, John McKeown, Kevin Knight; Gerald Pender. Subs. - Lloyd Cairns for Buckley (74), also Conor Foley, Tyrone McNelis, Bobby Mazono, Eoin O'Sullivan, Gavin Fahy, Shane Fagan.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle (capt.); Conor Whittle, Lee Grace, Ryan Delaney, Craig Comerford; Craig Wall, Peter Higgins; Eric Molloy, John Bonner, Philip Drohan; Conor English. Subs. - Danny Furlong for Wall (52), Craig McCabe for English (79), James Darmody for Drohan (79), also Seamus Houghton, Andrew Wall, Conor Maher.
Referee: Simon Rogers (Dublin).