Wexford Youths -v- Waterford UnitedFri, Jun 29 2012
Shane Keegan’s men will be hoping that they can repeat the stunning 6-0 scoreline that gave them victory over Waterford in the first south-east derby of the season. With seven points now separating Waterford – in third- and Wexford –in fifth- another big Youths victory does look unlikely.
Add into that their recent form, and Youths fans have reason to be pessimistic ahead of this Ferrycarrig Park encounter. Their last match saw Youths go down to a heavy 4-0 away loss at the hands of Limerick. Indeed, you would have to look back to May 11 to find the last win for Youths, with losses to Athlone Town and Mervue United coming in between.
The last south-east derby doesn’t bode well, either. The Blues put four past Youths without reply in the RSC in April. But Youths can draw some hope from the fact that their squad is injury-free, the only absentee being the suspended Mark Phelan.
Striker Tom Elmes is also on red-hot form, leading the First Division scoring charts with eight goals this season. His workrate and finishing ability give Youths a much-needed outlet up front, and might just give them a chance tonight.
Manager Keegan remains confident, despite Youths’ poor recent form. “Despite the result last Friday night we were actually very, very good so I think we have a lot to build on from that and I think it’s going to be a really really interesting game this Friday night” he said.
“Waterford are in serious form to be fair to them they had a terrible first round series, the way they managed to turn it around in round two, is almost an inspiration to us, we’ve gone through a similar round of games, they were able to bounce back, dig deep and turn it around and put together a good run, there is no reason why we cannot do similar in this coming round of games.”
Waterford United’s two meetings with their south-east rivals probably sum up their season so far quite well. The first, a disastrous 6-0 defeat in the first match of the season, was emblematic of their poor early season form. But their 4-0 home win over Youths in April heralded a return to form which has seen them creep back up to third place, reviving hopes of a push for promotion.
The Blues have won three on the bounce now, and seven from their last eight in all competitions, with their last result an emphatic 4-1 result against Athlone Town. Mercurial youngster Sean Maguire scored twice in Lissywoolen, including one superb individual goal, and he is likely to be central to Waterford’s hopes again tonight.
Maguire trails only Wexford’s Tom Elmes in the First Division scoring charts, with seven goals so far. His fellow Blues striker Willie John Kiely is a doubt for tonight’s match though, as both he and Gary Dunphy are still recovering from injury.
Manager Paul O’Brien admits that the 4-1 scoreline in their last match flattered his team somewhat. "I will admit that we were a little rusty at times during the course of the game, but we came on strong at the end by scoring two late goals to wrap up the match."
"There is no doubt that the final score did flatter us somewhat but we deserved to win and to score four goals is a huge bonus" he continued.
"Overall I was very happy with the way we coped when Athlone went in search of the equaliser because our defence worked hard to keep them at bay."
O’Brien spoke last week of the side’s preparation for this crucial derby. "It's always the next game that is important, and we will be back together again on Sunday gearing up for a match that will once again will be difficult” he said.
“A couple of the missing players such as Willie John Kiely are coming along nicely so we will travel to Wexford in a good frame of mind."
Referee: Kevin O’Regan
In this fixture, players have a habit of coming back to haunt their former club. Last year both Conor Sinnott and David Breen scored in United's 2-1 win at Wexford in April, while Ben Ryan fired the winner for Wexford at the RSC against his old U20 club. Shane Nolan scored in the 6-0 win this season, while Daragh Walshe got one for United in the return game in April.
You could do worse than to back Tom Elmes to score first. Out of the on-form striker’s eight goals this season, four have been the opening goal in the match. He’s also the record scorer for Wexford against the Blues thanks to his four goals in Ferrycarrig Park earlier this season.
Of the 23 goals Waterford United have scored this season, over half (12) have come in the first half. Of these, most have come in the period leading up to half time. Meanwhile, of the 18 goals Youths have conceded in the league, a significant portion (five) have come just before the half-time break.
Wexford Youths 7/2 Draw 12/5 Waterford United 8/11
Wexford Youths 2-3 Waterford United
Wexford Youths Injury News: None
Wexford Youths Suspension News: Mark Phelan
Waterford United Injury News: Willie John Kiely (doubt), Gary Dunphy (doubt)
Waterford United Suspension News: None.
Niall Farrell is our correspondent at Tolka Park, covering the goings-on at Shelbourne. You can visit Niall's website for further information and contact details- niallf.net.