Wexford Youths victorious after extra time
Wexford Youths won the FAI Umbro Youth Challenge Cup after a hard fought battle with Mount Merrion Youths. Mount Merrion took the lead in the first half through a well worked goal form Marcos Byrne but Wexford forced the match to extra time thanks to a goal from Chris Fenner. Both teams had chances to win the match in extra time but Wexfordâ€™s dominance from set pieces finally paid off when Gary Delaney headed home the winner for Mick Wallaceâ€™s side.
It was a tense opening to the match as both teams struggled to come to terms with the pressure of the occasion. Wexford were the quickest to settle and dominated most of the first half with their direct style of play keeping Mount Merrion in their own half of the pitch. Wexford threatened from set pieces and could have scored from corners on three occasions but Donal Shanley and Gary Delaney failed to test Little in the Mount Merrion goal. The breakthrough came for Mount Merrion on 31 minutes when the impressive Adam Carroll set Mark Oâ€™Sullivan free, he drove into the box and passed to Marcos Byrne who turned beautifully and finished well. Wexford could have gotten straight back into the match when Shanley crossed for Delaney whose header was pushed wide for a corner, the corner broke to Arevadze on the edge of the box and his driven half volley whistled just wide of the Mount Merrion goal.
Wexford should have been back level in the 51st minute when Wallace made an excellent run and cross for Fenner who steered his shot just wide. Wexford raised their level of performance and when Wallace and Fenner again combined well it resulted in Wexfordâ€™s equalizer thanks to a fantastic finish from Fenner. Mount Merrion went close to retaking the lead after a determined run and shot from Karl Corbett was tipped over the bar. Corbettâ€™s chance spurred on the Dublin team and it was their turn to exert pressure from set pieces as Ffrench and McDonagh both went close with headers. Shanley and Fenner combined well for Wexford and when Shanley took the return he was fouled on the edge of the box but the short range free came to nothing. Marcos Byrne had a half chance to win it on the stroke of full time but was off balance when he shot and saw his effort drift just wide of the post as the game went to extra time.
Straight from the tip off Mount Merrion went on the attack and an excellent shot from Oâ€™Sullivan brought a great save out of Sinnott in the Wexford goal. Mount Merrion had Wexford under pressure for most of the first half of extra time but Wexford nearly scored on the break when a lovely cross from Duffy was spilled in the area but no Wexford man was close enough to finish to the empty net. Wexford took the lead from a corner on the stroke of half time when Delaneyâ€™s header hit the crossbar and rebounded to the same man who headed it back into the bottom corner. Conor Ffrench thought he had an equalizer but his goal bound effort was deflected over the bar by his own player. Mount Merrion drove forward searching for an equalizer but in spite of their pressure it was Wexford that held out to win the 2012 FAI Umbro Youth Challenge Cup
Wexford Youths: Sinnott, Scallon, Kumar, Wallace, McCarney, Oâ€™Donoghue, Shanley, Delaney, Fitzpatrick, Fenner, Duffy
Substitutes: Banville for Oâ€™Donoghue 80â€™, Flynn, Kehoe, Dwyer, Chatara, Kinsella, Oâ€™Callaghan
Mount Merrion: Little, Doughan, Kennedy, Murphy, McDonagh, Corbett, Oâ€™Sullivan, Carroll, Byrne, Ffrench, Arevadze
Substitutes: Higgins for Doughan 115â€™, Lewis, Johnson-Barker, Skelly for Carroll 61â€™, Higgins, McCann, Fitzpatrick
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