Wexford march on to final four
Soccer, FAI Youth Inter-league: Wexford League 2 Galway League 0
Wexford moved into the semi-finals of the FAI Youth Inter-League tournament with victory over visitors Galway in Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday.
The westerners looked sharper in the early stages, playing against a roaring wind, but once Wexford edged their way in front just after the half-hour mark they controlled the game and advanced to the last four in style.
The hosts did have a chance when Jake Kearney beat goalkeeper Patrick Martyn to the ball on the right wing in the second minute and spread it across the face of the goal. However, none of his team-mates could get a touch and it was cleared to safety.
Galway probably should have taken one of their two gilt-edged opportunities in the opening quarter and gone ahead.
Stephen Iredale cracked the post from close range after being picked out by Mikey Devaney's cross, and the visitors probed on the left again when Casper Zatonski pulled back from the byline for Jake Begley to flash over.
After riding their luck, Wexford settled. Their plight was helped by the opening goal in the 32nd minute.
Rory O'Connor was tripped ten yards from the byline on the left wing, and Ciarán Carthy curled in the free-kick on the breeze. It skipped up off the greasy surface and went in off the underside of the bar.
While O'Connor was in the area, if there was any deflection it appeared to come off the Galway defender. Nonetheless, Carthy's team-mates headed out to celebrate with the dead-ball taker, playing his second big game in two days.
Wexford had chances either side of the interval to nab a second. O'Connor's acrobatic attempt was kept out by Martyn before the break, while neither Carthy nor Adam Sinnott could get a touch on Niall Connolly's tantalising cross from the left wing after the re-start.
The second goal did come moments after Cian Hanley saw his 20-yard strike tipped behind for a corner. Connolly whipped it in and O'Connor swivelled on his bicycle kick, dispatching his shot to the corner of Martyn's net.
The hosts played out the last 32 minutes almost perfectly. The only major chance their opponents created was a Charlie Filipe shot that flew over the crossbar in the 76th minute.
Indeed, Wexford could have notched a third themselves. Adam Sinnott went clean through after a one-two with Cian Carthy, only to see his shot saved.
In the end it mattered little as the home side safely navigated the remaining minutes to advance to the last four.
Wexford: Anto Larkin; Harry Kehoe, Shane Pettit, Eanna Doyle; Michael Delaney; Jake Kearney, Rory O'Connor, Adam Sinnott, Niall Connolly; Cian Hanley, Ciarán Carthy. Subs. - Matthew Foley for Carthy, inj. (51), Craig Peare for Kehoe, inj. (65), Cian Carthy for Kearney (72), Ryan Lewins for Hanley (84), Darragh McDonald for Sinnott (90+1), also Gary Hall-Roche, Kyle Martin.
Galway: Patrick Martyn; Ethan Flaherty, Mark Melody, Ethan Connolly, Casper Zatonski; Matthew Murray; Calvin Toye, Alan Green, Jake Begley, Mikey Devaney; Stephen Iredale. Subs. - Charlie Filipe for Iredale (61), Ryan Gallagher for Devaney (65), Lewis Weraru for Toye (72), also David Sheridan, Campbell Lmudia, Dara O'Connor, Ethan Fahy.
Referee: Cillian O'Reilly (Wicklow).