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Murphy's cracker ends aul Oscar bid

PAUL MURPHY grabbed a wonderful 60th minute goal to hand his side a sensational victory over warm favourites AUL in this excellent Oscar Traynor Trophy quarter-final clash at the New Ross club grounds on Saturday.

It was fitting that young Murphy, one of the best players on the pitch with his silken touches and ball control, excellent passes, who pounced for that dramatic strike which was a quality finish.

Small wonder that so much was thought of him before he returned home from Ipswich Town.

AUL went into this quarter-final carrying the favourite tag. One could see why as they played some stylish football, but they lacked the battling qualities of the homeside, and apart from one first half effort, they only threatened the homesides back four as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser with incessant pressure during the closing five minutes.

The visitors played all the football during the opening 15 minutes but their management was left in despair on the sideline as they failed to push home their advantage. Enjoying an amount of possession they had effort from Joseph Flood which failed to find the target during this spell.

It was to be one of those days for the AUL as a Flood 20th minute effort thundered back off the crossbar with Lee Walker well beaten.

With Paul Murphy threatening with some excellent football there was no one to get on the end of some excellent low crosses. Michael Grangell did threaten on a couple of occasions but was unable to threaten the visitors keeper Lee Murphy, whose only real save came from a 30th minute Murphy effort.

But this game always held the prospect of Wexford upsetting the visitors. Tomas Hawkins and Graham Howlin were staunch central defenders, while Leighton Gleeson was a commanding figure in midfield, with Murphy on fire up front.

So much was expected of the AUL outfit with Ross Carraigh excellent at the back, while Joseph Flood showed excellent touches in midfield, but they lacked creativity up front where their front players were snuffed out of the game by the homesides no-nonsense back four.

But at the game progressed Wexford's dominance became more evident, with Murphy firing in a low left footed shot that was capably dealt with by keeper Murphy, while Eugene O#Brien also brough a fine save out of the visitors keeper before providing an excellent cross that Grangell headed over the top.

You could sense desperation creeping into the AUL game as they were been pinned back on defence. With Wexford starting to spray the ball around with confidence they broke the deadlock in the sixtieth minute. It was Grangell who controlled a long ball before laying off to Murphy who showed a superb first touch before firing a superb left footed shot into the left hand corner of the net from twenty metres, giving the homeside a deserved lead.

The Wexford back four in which both Hawkins and Howlin were superb were proving a stumbling block as AUL laid siege to the homesides goal during the closing five minute but they were unable to create a chance during this spell as the homeside held out for a deserved victory.

Wexford Football League: Lee Walker; Lee Chin, Tomas Hawkins, Graham Howlin, David Purcell, Leighton Gleeson, Sean Culleton, Eugene O'Brien (Tom Elmes, 80), Paul Murphy, Michael Grangell (Philip Drohan, 75), Kyle Dempsey. Subs Not Used: Ricky Fox, Anthony Hayes, Darren Jordan, Dylan Mernagh, Martin O'Connor, Glen Fortune.

AUL: Lee Murphy, Conor Dalton, Ross Carraigh, Keith Browne (Jeff Flood 77), David Browne, Joseph Flood, Keith Kennedy (Gerard McCarthy 70), Stephen Murphy, John Rock (Mark Somers 60), Peter Reilly, Robert Keely. Sub Not Used: Dean Carpenter.

Referee: Oliver Falsey (Kilkenny League).