Wexford Youths 2 - 0 SD GalwaySat, Apr 28 2012
They can’t fool me. They may have replaced the ringmaster rap of Paul McGee with the professorial restraint of Tony Mannion in the dugout but these visitors to Wexford, trading as Galway, were none other than Salthill Devon in disguise. This is the reality of second tier semi professional Irish football where the blood sweat and tears is real enough but the referee probably takes home more cash than any of the participants.
Youths had to win in order for the locals to continue to suspend belief. After an honourable narrow defeat to an expensive Limerick team they had capitulated to a spirited Waterford one. Now, against more limited opposition, was the time to come good.
Patsy Malone came in for the suspended Dempsey who was at the ground but unable to compete; the enigmatic Danny Furlong, substituted last week but available for selection, was enigmatically absent. Malone signalled his return with a remarkably mature performance, stamping his presence on the midfield without the accompaniment of his traditional yellow card. But perhaps Jamie Carr was the Youths player to catch the eye early on, emerging from central defence to instigate attack on several occasions, although he needed the assistance of his partner C.J. Browne to avoid disaster when an attempt to play pure football in front of his own goal nearly came to grief.
Indeed it was hard to justify the short passing game on such a bumpy surface as Ferrycarrig has become and, horror of horrors, a bare patch has appeared in the goalmouth at the Clubhouse end. If for the last home game the pitch was so heavily sanded the spectacle resembled beach soccer at least the ball ran fairly true. Here, the long through pass looked like the order of the day but, constantly over hit, and with the clumsy Elmes a regular victim of the offside trap, there was little on the pitch worthy of report .
Off the pitch it was a different matter with passing substitute James Scallon leaping to head the ball back into play and colliding with the frame of the Galway dugout to require treatment to a damaged shoulder and qualify for the pub quiz question “which player was injured during a game in which he didn’t play?”
Otherwise neither keeper was seriously troubled except when the home side unexpectedly scored on the half hour. Shane Nolan, Furlong’s replacement, found himself in space on the edge of the box and drilled the ball low into the corner of Grant’s net. Geraghty came closest for Galway with a clever header from Bradshaw’s corner on the right which was scrambled away but the visitors skipper was lucky not concede a penalty just before half time when he appeared to bring Elmes down from behind.
Galway’s attempts to revive their fortunes on the resumption only promoted more spectacle stalemate and again the action of interest was confined to their dugout. First manager Mannion, who sports the kind of neat haircut your mother would love, made football history by apologising first to the referee and then to the nearside assistant. Brother John is clearly the bad cop of this duo and fourth official Shane Dunphy, won his spurs by swiftly calling him to order on the one occasion when the atmosphere got a little heated after a robust tackle by Shane Nolan on Galway number three Tommy Bradshaw. Poor Bradshaw was regularly in the wars and had to resort to the blood shirt after one encounter. This, however, was numbered nineteen which could have led to even more pub quiz trivia, the pa announcer being required to announce this change of identity.
Meanwhile, back at the game, Wexford were huffing and puffing until a second goal in the 87th minute confirmed the three points. Galway, tired and stretched thin at the back, was undone by a long ball which Broaders controlled admirably to slip in Elmes who took the opportunity in his stride with only Grant to beat. With Waterford doing Youths a favour by winning in Limerick, second place is within Wexford’s grasp. But next week’s game is in Longford. Another chance for Wexford Youths to audition for star status or indicate they really belong with Galway in a more modest milieu. If they are going to try to play Mick Wallace’s beautiful game something needs to be done about the Ferrycarrig playing surface before the visit of Finn Harps in a fortnight.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Mark Phelan, C.J. Browne, Jamie Carr, James Dermody (Martin Kehoe 89); Dean Broaders (Shane Clarke 88), Shane Nolan (Thomas Croke 84), Craig Wall, Patsy Malone, Aidan Keenan; Tom Elmes.
Subs not used: Shaun Corcoran, James Scallon, John Yeates, Eric Molloy.
Bookings: CJ Browne (45), Keenan (48).
SD Galway: Liam Grant; Luke McConnell, Brian Geraghty, Eric Browne, Tommy Bradshaw; Ronan Conlon, Eduardo Dusi, Willie Enubele, Michael Tierney, Brian Gaffney (Jason Lyons 30); Enda Curran (Charlie Burke 74).
Subs not used: Cian Fadden, Jason Murphy, Ronan Burke.
Bookings: Geraghty (80).
Referee: Keith Callanan.
Attendance: 200 (Estimate).