Doyle shines as Model side progress to semis
IT TOOK a penalty shoot-out and a Shane Doyle goal to send Wexford Youths into the EA Sports Cup semi-final with a victory over Galway United at Ferrycarrig Park on Tuesday last.
Both sides played a lot of possession football through the opening half, creating a lot of options, but neither could break the deadlock. The visitors looked dangerous moving forward, with Jake Keenan firing a left-footed effort over the top, while Gary Shanahan brought a good save out of 'keeper Graham Doyle at his near post after 29 minutes.
But with the home side coming more into the game, Shane Dunne was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Marty Owens, while at the other end Vinny Faherty had a third-minute corner beaten away by netminder Doyle at the expense of a fruitless corner.
Wexford Youths striker Darragh Walshe then threatened as he cut in from the right, forcing a diving save out of 'keeper Conor Gleeson. Then near the interval Darragh Walshe had a close-range effort well saved by 'keeper Gleeson, leaving it 0-0 at the interval.
Galway threatened through the opening 25 minutes of the second-half with Shanahan forcing two fine saves out of Doyle, while the home side's best effort was a low shot from substitute Danny Furlong capably dealt with by Gleeson.
Galway winger Shanahan was causing all kinds of problems for the Youths' back four. His control and runs were beginning to create chances as the game entered the closing ten minutes. Five minutes from the end Shanahan forced a superb diving stop out of 'keeper Doyle, while minutes later Doyle was again to the fore as he saved superbly from Faherty.
With full-time beckoning, the visitors launched one final attack in search of a winning goal. A quick ball through midfield picked up Shanahan and only a timely advance and superb block from 'keeper Doyle deneid the westerners what woould have been a dramatic winning goal.
Five minutes into extra-time Danny Furlong's timely left-footed shot broke the deadlock, beating the 'keeper from an acute angle and making it 1-0. Craig Shortt, in on goal, should have secured victory but kept his shot too close to netminder Gleeson who managed to knock it away with an outstretched leg, but the home side withstood the pressure and went in leading 1-0 at the break in extra-time.
Six minutes from the end, Shanahan made all his side's pressure pay off when he struck a left-footed shot from close in to the corner of the net, leaving it 1-1 at full-time and leaving the sides facing the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Wexford Youths 'keeper Graham Doyle performed heroics, saving superbly from Jason Molloy and Ryan Connolly to send his side into the semi-final with a 4-3 penalty victory, as Dunne kept his composure to put the final penalty away with a well-struck shot.