Wexford CBS 4 Presentation College Bray 3 A.E.TWexford CBS claimed the senior Wicklow/Wexford league title last Tuesday after an incredible team performance. Deprived of 6 members of their usual squad, CBS knew they were in for a tough battle against an impressive Presentation College Bray. Forced into making some changes the players gave absolutely everything to claim a memorable victory. Pres Bray enjoyed the better of the exchanges early on and some resolute defending from the young backline, Captain Dion Murphy in particular was leading by example, held them at bay. The first notable chance arrived about 10 minutes into the game, after some impressive movement and play from the pacey front trio of Pres Bray culminating in a powerful strike from outside the box which was expertly saved by stand in keeper Sean Hopkins. As the game progressed the CBS began to grow in confidence and fashioned a few chances of their own. Jamie Thomas nutmegged the opposing full back and whipped in a dangerous cross which was well caught by the Bray keeper. Wexford took the lead midway through the first half after a defence splitting pass from Shane Hall to release TJ Cousins on the right flank, Cousins took on and beat one player before getting his head up and drilling a low cross into the box which was expertly met by Luke O’Neill who fired home in off the crossbar to give the Bokerboys a well-earned lead. This gave the Wexford lads confidence and they really took the game to their opponents and perhaps should have doubled their lead with Shane Hall narrowly heading wide from a corner and O’Neill coming close on a couple of occasions but to no avail. Pres were however dangerous on the counter with their pace and Simon Power in particular who plays with UCD’s first team causing problems. Power went on a mazy run beating two Wexford defenders and almost finding the net only for a brilliant goalline clearance from Ben Butler. In a terrific game of end to end football CBS went in at half time with a well-deserved lead.
Within 5 minutes of the restart the Bokerboys should have doubled their lead, Jamie Thomas whipped in a delightful free kick from the right which Shane Hall met again but directed his effort straight at the keeper. Pres Bray began to up their tempo in the 2nd period as they were chasing the game and to their credit began to play some brilliant football. No. 8 in centre midfield fired a warning shot from 25 yards which narrowly went over. The Bray team got their tails up and started to overrun the CBS midfield. Hopkins in the CBS goal was forced into making two extraordinary saves to keep the Bokerboys in front, and Shane Hall produced a memorable moment midway through the half as with Hopkins defeated he acrobatically rose and managed to flick the goalward effort over the bar saving what was a definite goal and keeping the CBS lead intact. CBS looked dangerous on the break but couldn’t quite manage to click and double their advantage on a number of breaks. However to their credit Bray kept pushing and soon levelled after some good play down their left flank with a winger finding himself in space, his effort was again well saved by Hopkins but the rebound fell to Power who fired home the rebound. Within minutes Pres took the lead in the game finding the net from a well-placed corner with a nearpost header. This CBS side however displayed tremendous courage and character as they dug deep to force their way back into the game. The introduction of Leon Nolan Cullen into centre midfield provided some much needed energy and with his determination and silky skills he exerted a huge influence as the Bokerboys regained their earlier momentum. Jamie Thomas and Luke O’Neill with their pace and trickery on the wings pinned back Pres and the tireless efforts of Sam O’Neill and Shane Hall in midfield saw the Bokerboys begin to dominate possession. Nolan Cullen struck the post with a spectacular 25 yard effort with 10 minutes remaining. With time running out CBS sent on their under 17 keeper and moved Hopkins up front where he added to the aerial threat. CBS saw efforts blocked and cleared and go narrowly wide, but to their credit refused to accept defeat. With one minute of time remaining Hopkins glanced a header into the path of Captain Dion Murphy who placed an effort low across the keeper who managed to get a hand to it, the save was picked up by O’Neill at the back post who cooly slotted home from a tight angle amid scenes of joy from the CBS. Kallum Broaders drove forward down the right hand side in the final seconds but saw an effort flash wide. Full time 2-2 and extra time was to follow.
Wexford CBS emerged in extra time in a confident fashion and took the game to their opponents who had expelled so much energy during the 2nd half. Within 4 minutes Jamie Thomas put the Bokerboys in front with a spectacular strike. A well worked move down the left flank found its way to Luke O’Neill who split the Pres defence with a deft flick into the path of the onrushing Thomas who volleyed a thunderous effort low into the corner at pace to send the CBS into wild scenes of celebration. Luke O’Neill took control of the ball a minute later and left 3 players in his wake on a run down the wing before firing in a low cross which his twin brother Sam just failed to connect with to put the game to bed. A tired Bray side threw all they had forward in search of an equaliser in a tremendous game and again levelled with a minute remaining in the 1st half if extra time with a fine strike from just outside the box finding its way low to the corner of the net. In the 2nd half of extra time CBS again took the lead in the contest, Broaders was fouled in an advanced position, Jamie Thomas stepped up and whipped in a fierce delivery which was palmed away but to the feet of Luke O’Neill who again was quickest to react and once more he kept his cool to slot home from close range. Sam O’Neill almost doubled the advantage late on, but there was time for another dramatic moment right at the death of the game as the Bray keeper who came forward for a corner managed to get his head to the ball only to see it glance wide off the post. The full time whistle was blown and a young Wexford CBS side were crowned champions and now advance to the ¼ final stage of the Leinster Champions league. Every member of the team who performed gave everything to claim a victory that will live long in the memory. This game was a joy to watch and displayed everything great about the game, either side would have been a worthy winner but it was the CBS and Luke O’Neill who bagged a hat-trick and a man of the match display who went home smiling.
Wexford CBS: Sean Hopkins (Wexford Celtic), Kallum Broaders (Waterford Utd), Ben Butler (Wexford Albion), Cian Foley (Wexford Youths), Dion Murphy (Cpt) (Wexford Albion), Shane Hall (Wexford Albion), Ryan Busher (Forth Celtic), Sam O’Neill (Wexford Albion), Jamie Thomas (Wexford Albion), Luke O’Neill (Wexford Albion), TJ Cousins (Wexford Albion), Subs: Leon Nolan Cullen (Wexford Youths), Reece Murphy (Wexford Youths),also Adam Dempsey (Wexford Youths), Danny Walsh (Wexford Albion), James Creane (Wexford Albion), Jack O’Leary (Wexford Albion)
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