Celtic cut loose after break with five goals
WEXFORD CELTIC advanced to the third round of the Under-11 Cup on Saturday morning with a hard-fought victory over Rathnure in Drinagh.
The full-time scoreline does little justice to a match that was close-run and even for long spells of both halves.
Indeed, the Blackstairs boys could easily have forged their way ahead early on as some nice weaving passing and snap-shooting saw both Harry Codd and Eoin Farrell narrowly miss the target.
It was against the run of play when Wexford Celtic grabbed the first goal in the eighth minute. A lovely through ball by Aaron Roche was knocked into the path of Cian Roche by Aaron Marsh, and midfielder Roche made no mistake when dispatching to the net from close range.
An element of good fortune got Rathnure back into the game in the 14th minute. The hosts were in the process of changing their goalkeeper when referee Ger Morris prematurely re-started the match. Cian Roche, who was going between the sticks for Celtic, still had the 'keeper's jersey around his neck when Farrell drilled a long-range shot past a bewildered new stopper to the net.
Despite remonstrations from the sideline, the goal stood. It didn't take long for Wexford Celtic to bounce back as they began bossing the play.
They went in at the interval 2-1 ahead courtesy of a superb bit of quick thinking by Rhys Murphy. The Celtic midfielder broke quickly on a Nicky Martin kick-out, controlled, raced in on goal and scored to give his club the lead at the changeover.
While the first-half was nip and tuck between two evenly-matched teams, the early stages of the second period were a completely different story. Wexford Celtic were in irresistible form after the re-start as they blitzed the visitors.
The second-half performance was built on a solid foundation at the back and an attack that drove forward in waves. Kept under wraps before the break, Aaron Roche notched a four-minute hat-trick to break the game open.
The attacker's opener came from a controlled free-kick after he was fouled, the second was a tap-in from close range after Adam Mrayah was initially denied, and the third quickly followed when Roche fired to the net from Murphy's precision pass.
John Hore rattled home a long-range strike to make it 6-1 in the eighth minute of the second-half as a shell-shocked Rathnure struggled to find their feet.
Finally the visitors stemmed the tide and almost pulled a goal back when James O'Leary was denied by a fine save from Roche.
Wexford Celtic did add one final goal with three minutes left - this time when Hore's corner found its way to the net off a defender's leg - as they moved unscathed into the last 16.