Wexford Youths 0 Waterford United 1
Page three of the Wexford Youths match programme made interesting reading on Friday night last at a wet and windy Ferrycarrig Park. Their manager Mick Wallace wrote the following: “It should be a great occasion. It should be a great game. I would love to win it.”
He got it wrong on all three accounts. The dreadful weather turned the game into a rather drab affair. The occasion as a result was dampened to say the least. As for his ‘I would love to win it’ wish, well that was never on the cards, especially as Waterford United went in front after only 32 seconds and from then on they never looked in danger against what was a pretty dire Wexford outfit.
On the same page, we were informed that the current Waterford team are managed by Gareth Cronin. Perhaps the bush telegraph does not reach Wexford as fast as it should do. Having dropped two late points against Sporting Fingal the previous week, the Blues were keen to get their first win on the board and they did just that without any difficulty whatsoever.
The home side were missing a number of players due to suspension and injuries and perhaps it came as no surprise that the Blues goalkeeper Michael Devine left the pitch without having to make one save of note.
Despite the muddy conditions, Devine’s jersey was as clean after the game as it was before the game got underway. Unless Wexford get their missing players back quickly, they will find themselves well adrift of the rest, such was their mediocre display.
The Waterford side looked much more composed and they will not get an easier game all season.
Stephen Henderson, the actual Waterford manager, made only one change from the team that drew 1-1 with Sporting Fingal the previous week. Willie John Kiely returned from suspension and that meant that David Grincell drooped down to the bench, and the Abbeyside-born player did not waste anytime making his presence felt because he stuck the ball into the Wexford net with his first touch.
John Kearney took possession of the ball from the kick-off and he played the ball out wide left to Kevin Waters who in turn sprayed the ball out to the right to Paul McCarthy. The Tramore-born midfield player squared the ball over to Kiely and he gleefully touched the ball past last season’s Waterford goalkeeper Pakie Holden from close range.
Waterford tried to build on that opening minute goal and they almost increased their advantage on 18 minutes when Seamus Long played the ball forward to Paul McCarthy who picked out Kiely but on this occasion he lobbed the ball over the advancing Pakie Holden and also over the crossbar.
Alan Carey floated over a free kick from the left on 33 minutes but central defender Graham Cummins who had come forward crashed his header off the Wexford defender John Flynn-O’Connor.
Before the interval, Kevin Murray, the Blues defender went close with a header following a fine Kevin Waters free but his effort was also blocked.
Visitors on top
One would have thought that the home side would have pushed on in the second half but quite simply they did not have the class to do so and Waterford just continued to knock the ball around with ease, although they did not really trouble the Wexford goalkeeper. Kevin Waters tried his luck from long range after 57 minutes, but Holden held the ball easily.
Willie John Kiely met a corner kick taken by Gary Dunphy five minutes later but he shot over the bar from 16 yards. Kiely was extremely unlucky not to score his second goal after 71 minutes. Paul McCarthy slipped the ball forward to the in-form striker who was in a very difficult position out on the left but he still managed to get a shot in from an acute angle but the ball came crashing back off Pakie Holden’s upright.
David Grincell replaced the injured Gary Dunphy with 15 minutes remaining and he went out to the right side of the park, but his only contribution was to kick the ball into the stand and pick up a yellow card.
Wexford’s only half decent player, Conor Sinnott floated over a free-kick from the right deep into injury time but his colleagues could not get forward quickly enough to get a head on his well directed free.
Wexford Youths: Pakie Holden, John Flynn-O’Connor, Anto Russell, Keith Kearney, Stuart Lawlor, Peter White, Patsy Malone, Conor Sinnott, David Miller, Shane Dunphy, Gavin Doyle. Subs: Liam O’Loughlin for Lawlor (30 mins), Ritchie Fitzgerald for Millet (H-T), Marty Kelly for Dunphy (80 mins).
Waterford United: Michael Devine, Alan Carey, Graham Cummins, Kevin Murray, Seamus Long, Kenny Browne, Gary Dunphy, Paul McCarthy, John Kearney, Kevin Waters, Willie John Kiely. Subs: David Grincell for Dunphy (75 mins), Joe Mulcahy for McCarthy (89 mins).
Referee: Eddie McNally (Cork).