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Floodlight failure leads to late finish

Andrew Corden Cup U20: Wexford 4-11 Waterford 0-6

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Emmet Cullen making inroads on the Waterford goal

Emmet Cullen making inroads on the Waterford goal

Emmet Cullen making inroads on the Waterford goal

Wexford had a comfortable victory over neighbours Waterford to conclude the Andrew Corden Cup Under-20 football development league in Ferns Centre of Excellence on Saturday.

The game only went ahead after a late dash to the Wexford training centre, after the lights failed in St. Patrick's Park.

It came just three days after the same group of players had a practice match abandoned after the floodlights went at the same venue.

On top of the lighting issue, which surfaced about 15 minutes after they had initially been illuminated, the Waterford bus had somehow managed to go the wrong way leaving the city and they were 15 minutes late to the original venue anyway.

After everyone sped up the N11, it all added up to a 9.02 p.m. throw-in for a game that really should have been played in daytime hours but had been set to start at 7.45 p.m. in Enniscorthy. Yet, when Wexford did get on to a freezing Ferns field, they played some decent stuff.

The team was much changed from the drubbing at the hands of Tipperary six days earlier, and the first-half in particular was smattered with some clinical football.

Clearly the level of opponent dropped from the opening two games, but Wexford needed something a little less testing to get their mojo back.

And they managed to do that, with plenty of positives to take from this outing.

Probably the biggest plus was the form of Diarmuid Barry, as the St. Martin's clubman proved a constant thorn for the Waterford full-back line and probably deserved the hat-trick he just missed out on for his 60-minute display.

But across the board Wexford played with more confidence. Waterford posed very little threat to the back seven, while Liam Coleman and Tiarnan Neville had plenty of drive in midfield.

The hosts weaved some nice patterns in the final third and could easily have had a few more in their major tally at full-time.

Colum Feeney had a pair of frees on the scoreboard before the powerful Emmet Cullen used his finesse to released the marauding Niall Murphy for the opening goal in the eleventh minute.

Murphy knocked over a minor moments later and, when Diarmuid Barry pointed, Wexford held a 1-4 to nil lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Waterford threats were few and far between but they did score four second quarter points to keep themselves in touch.

However, the home side were only barely in reach. Todd Hynes broke through to net a second goal for Wexford in the 22nd minute, and Barry added a third before the interval as his side went in 3-5 to 0-4 ahead.

The third quarter was probably the poorest for Wexford from an attacking point of view.

Waterford made wholesale changes at the interval, and it stalled the home side's momentum but only for a while.

Just one point was added by the Déise boys in the first 24 minutes of the second-half. Liam O'Connor cantered forward to cancel that score out in the 40th minute, and Wexford started to push on again.

A Conor Kehoe assist helped Diarmuid Barry into the clear in the 47th minute and he forced home his second of the evening.

A third almost immediately followed, but his finish from a Páraic Hughes pass floated agonisingly over the crossbar.

The sides played out the final few minutes without too much fuss. Substitutes Cormac Cooney and Conor Mahoney added late points after Wexford rang changes, while the former went close to a goal too, only to be denied by a sharp stop by the visiting 'keeper.

Having won both of their previous games, Tipperary and Carlow agreed that the last encounter of the group that was due to be played between the sides would double-up as the final of the competition, now in its second year.

Tipperary were the victors in that decider on Saturday, winning by 1-12 to 0-13 in Fenagh.

Wexford: Anthony Larkin (Starlights); Ryan Furlong (Sarsfields), Liam O'Connor (St. Mary's, Rosslare, 0-1), Mick Delaney (Starlights); Nathan O'Connor (Starlights), Páraic Hughes (Kilanerin), Niall Murphy (Ferns St. Aidan's, 1-1); Liam Coleman (Castletown), Tiarnan Neville (Shelmaliers); Shane Pettit (St. Fintan's), Fiachra Hourihane (Oylegate-Glenbrien, 0-1), Colum Feeney (Adamstown, 0-3 frees); Todd Hynes (St. Mary's, Maudlintown, 1-0), Emmet Cullen (Gusserane), Diarmuid Barry (St. Martin's, 2-3). Subs. (all used) - Colm Parnell (Ballyhogue), Michael Carroll (Glynn-Barntown), Cormac Cooney (Glynn-Barntown, 0-1), Peter O'Neill (Kilrush), Tomás Murphy (Blackwater), Conor Kehoe (Sarsfields), Conor Mahoney (Glynn-Barntown, 0-1), Rees Broaders (St. Mary's, Rosslare), Adam Fleming (Réalt na Mara), Ben Stafford (St. Martin's).

Waterford: Seán McGrath; Naoise Mac Cathmhaoil, Keelan Taylor, Seán Hahessy; Ronan Elliffe, Seamus Cronin, Liam Fennell (0-1); Tom Walsh, John Devine; James Power (0-1), Larry Walsh (0-2), Jack Keane; Eoin Power, Aaron Ryan, James Walsh. Subs. (all used) - Kieran Guiry, Josh Veale, Jack O'Connell, Oliver McAllister, Jack Fitzgerald, Michael Ó Floinn, Ben Flynn, Liam Motherway (0-1), Niall McSweeney (0-1 free), Kieran Crawford, Fergal Lynch.

Referee: Darragh Byrne (Wicklow).

Wexford People