Sunday 17 December 2017

Wexford look good in Oscar Traynor opener

WEXFORD FOOTBALL LEAGUE looked hugely-impressive as they played with real composure and purpose in comfortably dismissing the Amateur Football League in this opening group game in the Oscar Traynor Trophy competition at Bunclody on Saturday last.

Enjoying their first outing under new manager Nicky Murphy, the home side was always in control, as they totally outplayed the visitors. Their four-goal winning margin was no more than they deserved as they played with all the urgency through the 90 minutes.

After the home side had gone two goals up, the visitors did provide hope of a recovery midway through the second-half when their lively attacker, Michael Keogh, ran on to a long ball played into space, and showed neat control before going on to beat 'keeper Pa Doyle with a low shot to the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

But they were unable to follow up on this breakthrough as the Wexford men regained control through the excellent play of Chris Kenny and Marty Kelly in midfield, while James Carty was a shining light as he teased and tormented the visitors' back four throughout.

The workrate of the Wexford side was evident from early on, with Jason Murphy powering a shot against the right-hand post after nine minutes. They managed to sustain the pressure, with visiting 'keeper Alan Kelly having a busy spell in dealing with shots from James Carty, Jason Murphy and Paul Murphy as the home side continually powered forward.

The Amateur Football League were mainly dependant on long balls into space for centre-forward Michael Keogh to run on to, but they seldom threatened the home back four where Seán Miller was outstanding along with Gareth McCurtain.

The visitors' centre-back, Darren Murphy, came close to opening the scoring in the 31st minute when he got his head to a Mark King free kick, but home 'keeper Doyle was equal to the demands, making a fine save at his right-hand post. Seven minutes before the break the deadlock was eventually broken and it was no surprise that it was the home side which provided the opening goal.

Ricky Fox played an accurate free kick across the face of the goal and his clubmate, James Carty, got his head to the ball to power it beyond the reach of 'keeper Alan Kelly into the top right-hand corner of the net.

The best chance for the visitors came just three minutes before the break when Branslow Stand got over a great cross that was powerfully headed towards goal by Lee Sullivan, only to strike the upright and rebound back into play with home 'keeper Doyle well beaten, leaving it 1-0 at the interval.

There was no such problems for Wexford as within ten minutes of the re-start they increased their lead to 2-0 when James Carty was left with a simple tap-in following a fine Chris Kenny run and cross. When the visitors hauled a goal back one expected a tight finish, but that was not to be as the home side dominated possession in the closing 20 minutes. Anto Russell powerfully headed home a Paul Murphy corner kick 19 minutes from the end, making it 3-1.

The A.U.L. saw a couple of efforts blocked before substitute Johnny Flynn-O'Connor made it 4-1 with a fine shot from just inside the area ten minutes from the end, while minutes later Jason Murphy got the fifth goal which he richly deserved for an energetic afternoon's play.

It was an impressive start for the victors who now face an away game against the Wicklow League in their next round game.

New Ross Standard

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