Wexford Youths begin life in the top flight with defeat at home to Longford Town
Wexford Youths 0 Longford Town 2
Goals early and late from Kevin O’Connor and Josh O’Hanlon ensured there was to no happy beginning to life in the Premier Division for Wexford Youths.
Their young manager Shane Keegan had stressed in pre-season that he hoped to be defensively more solid this season, so he won’t have been pleased to have seen his side fall behind to a soft goal after just six minutes of their debut in the top flight.
His charges were caught napping from a Longford throw-in on the left which picked out O’Connor. The Town midfielder cut past his marker to make time and space for himself to drill a low drive to the bottom near corner of the Youths’ captain Graham Doyle’s net.
The locals heads didn’t drop, though, as they recovered from that early set-back to press Longford for a good spells, almost levelling ten minutes later.
Jonny Bonner fed Eric Molloy who turned smartly inside the area to bring an agile diving save from Paul Skinner.
Six minutes later, home midfielder Chris Kenny wasn’t far off target with an overhead kick as Youths maintained the pressure.
Kenny was there again to loop a header just over the top after Skinner flapped at Craig McCabe’s long throw.
But Youths had a right let off on 26 minutes as they avoided falling further behind. A David O’Sullivan shot ricocheted back off Gary Delaney to fall for Kaleem Simon whose deflected effort trickled past a post for a corner.
Youths chased the game hard from the restart with Molloy shooting over before Danny Furlong glanced a header from Aidan Friel’s corner narrowly wide.
Furlong, last season's 30-goal topscorer, was then left thumping the ground in frustration on 64 minutes as he blazed over the top after a sweeping moved cut Longford open.
Furlong did have the ball in the Longford net on 89 minutes, but had been well flagged for offside.
O’Hanlon then raced clear of the Youths' offside trap to rifle home Town’s second goal on 91 minutes.
Wexford Youths: Doyle; McCabe, G. Delaney, Grace, R. Delaney (Ledwith, 81); Friel, Kenny, Bonner, Molloy (Mulligan 65); Furlong, Murphy.
Longford Town: Skinner; Hughes, Haverty, Rossiter, Powell; O’Sullivan, O’Connor, Gannon, Simon; Dillon (Mulhall 65); O’Hanlon.
Referee: Dave McKeon (Dublin).