New Ross Town 1 Wexford Albion 0
Niall Mooney headed a critical winner two minutes from time to move New Ross Town within touching distance of the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-12 Division 1 crown in Kennedy Park on Thursday.
It wasn't the first time this season that powerful midfield man Mooney connected with his head, but it was probably the most critical as Town needed this win to secure a play-off, after falling in their final game to fellow challengers Gorey Rangers two days later.
It wouldn't have been as easy without Mooney's timely interjection. With 58 minutes on the clock Town won a corner out on the right wing.
They had looked dangerous with previous set-pieces but none had found a crisp, accurate head.
That all changed when Jamie Lyng sent the dead-ball right into the perfect spot eight yards from goal, too far out for the 'keeper to come but just close enough that a solid header gives the defending team big problems.
And in the sea of bodies swarming around the goalmouth was Mooney.
He hardly seemed to get off the ground but made perfect connection with the header and it flew past Paddy O'Regan in the hosts' goal to send the visiting support into rapturous celebrations.
It could all have been so different had Tommy Convey's blistering shot clipped the underside of the crossbar and gone in, rather than the top and flashed over, in the first five minutes. A game of inches indeed.
After that scare, New Ross controlled the opening half playing down the famous Albion hill but created few clearcut chances as the hosts defended superbly. The closest they came was when O'Regan did well to hold Tom O'Callaghan's powerful free-kick in the 17th minute.
The game opened up after the break and Lyng was the first to try his luck with a daisy-trimmer that brought the best out of O'Regan again.
Moments later Bobby Katus was clearly fouled in the box; to his credit he didn't go down but, unfortunately, few referees are brave enough to give spot-kicks in such circumstances.
The hosts had their own moments too, as Jessie Dempsey forced Jamie Sinnott into a smart save and Jacob Murphy also tried his luck to no avail.
A very close call saw Katus given offside when breaking onto Mooney's 41st-minute pass at the other end.
As the game ticked into the final ten minutes Wexford Albion had their best spell. Callum Farrell made the visitors' defence scramble when his poked effort trickled towards goal, and Darragh Kirwan's free-kick evaded three Albion attackers on its way to a grateful Sinnott.
Still, it always felt like one clearcut chance would present itself and moments after O'Regan bravely blocked at Katus' feet, Ross Town got their winner through Mooney to set off joyous celebrations amongst the travelling faithful.
New Ross Town: Jamie Sinnott; John Brown, Tom O'Callaghan, Oisín Heaphy; Conor Rossiter (capt.), Eoghan Lyng, Niall Mooney; Bobby Katus, Jamie Lyng. Subs. (rolling) - Joe Mulholland, Peter Mackey, Ben Long.
Wexford Albion: Paddy O'Regan; Killian Whelan, Darragh Kirwan, Billy Walker; Jessie Dempsey, Adam Tierney, Tommy Convey (capt.); Jacob Murphy, Callum Farrell. Sub. (rolling) - Mark Tormey.
Referee: David Gaul.