Carlow pay the ultimate penalty
THERE'S not a lot you can say about a scoreless draw especially a scoreless draw with so few clear cut chances. Penalties are always exciting though, and there were some great spot kicks on display at the end of normal and extra time.
Wexford dominated the opening period in the possession stakes but failed to test Gavin Dowling in the opening exchanges. Leighton Gleeson curled a free kick wide with 20 minutes played and that was about as close as Wexford would come in the first half. Paul Murphy, who had a roller coaster day, tried a snap shot in the area soon after but it didn't cause much trouble, drifting wide of Dowling's left post.
David Lynch was the first to look lively for Carlow but his spectacular effort from the edge of the box failed to break the deadlock. Liam Byrne, Lynch and Lee Murphy combined down the left to create an opening and although the eventual shot would have landed in the top corner, it never had enough power to trouble Lee Walker.
Paul Murphy tried a volley for the Wexford men on the stroke of half time but it was nothing more than a little tricky for Gavin Dowling.
Words must have been had at half time, especially in the Wexford camp. Paul Rossiter stole forward from left full to smash a shot off the crossbar and produce a reflex save from Dowling from the edge of the box.
With the temperature in Graiguecullen heading for zero, so was the final score. Both sides found possession hard to keep hold of and just before they headed for extra time, Paul Murphy was then yellow carded for seeming to chance his arm with a dive for Wexford. He had made a decent run into the box but he went down looking for the penalty and the referee deemed it to be a dive.
Extra time was just ten minutes a side for Junior soccer and it didn't give either team enough time to put any decent moves together. Jordan Lowry did give proceedings a fresh look for Carlow but chances were few and far between. Paul Murphy's day concluded when he was given a straight red card for throwing a punch. It was a silly thing to do with penalties less than a minute away, but he had been spotted misbehaving by the linesman and took an early bath.
Jason Murphy buried the first penalty for Wexford and Paul Broderick levelled matters. Paul Rossiter and Jordon Lowry did the same before Leighton Gleeson took a John Aldridge style penalty and Mikey Byrne made it 3-3.
Ricky Fox was the villain for Wexford when Dowling guessed right and saved his spot kick. Lee Quaye gave Carlow the lead with a well placed strike.
The keepers then turned on each other and Wexford's Lee Walker showed his teammates how it's done with a lovely finish and he was a double hero when he tipped Gavin Dowling's effort onto the crossbar. It was a double whammy and momentum swung in Wexford's favour. Chris Kenny made it 5-4 to Wexford and the pressure was on. David Maher didn't deal with the pressure of the final spot kick and Wexford advanced.
Gavin Dowling, Liam Byrne, David Maher, David Walker, Terrance Haughney, Mikey Byrne, Craig Comerford, Lee Murphy, Marc Carpenter, David Lynch, Lee Quaye. SUBS: Paul Broderick for Craig Comerford (85mins), Jordon Lowry for Carpenter (ET)
Lee Walker, Warren Broaders, Paul Rossiter, Anthony Russell, Lee Chin, Chris Kenny, Leighton Gleeson, Kyle Dempsey, Jason Murphy, Paul Murphy, Eugene O'brien. SUBS: Ricky Fox for Kyle Dempsey (82mins), Michael Grangel for Eugene O'brien (82mins) Thomas Mahon for Warren Broaders (ET) VENUE: Graiguecullen REFEREE: Ollie Fasey (Kilkenny)