There was no fairytale start to life in the Premier Division for Wexford Youths as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Longford Town at Ferrycarrig Park.
The Youths fell behind to an early goal from Kevin O’Connor, and despite having the majority of possession in the second period, it took a late stoppage-time finish from Josh O’Hanlon to seal the three points for Tony Cousins’ side.
The home side were on the front foot from the off and had an early chance when Aidan Friel found Eric Molloy with a crossfield ball from the right to the left. Molloy did well to cut inside two defenders but his strike was well blocked.
That early home pressure was undone after just six minutes as the visitors took the lead. A throw from the left deep inside the Youths half found O’Connor and after beating his man, he fired past the dive of Youths keeper Graham Doyle into the near corner for the opening goal.
Youths midfielder Jonny Bonner created an opening on the quarter-hour as he fed a through ball to Molloy, and he forced Paul Skinner to produce a good low save in the Longford Town goal.
Wexford Youths midfielder Chris Kenny went close next but his overhead flick dropped just wide of Skinner’s goal. Two minutes later he had another chance, but he couldn’t direct his header, from Craig McCabe’s long throw, on target.
Longford Town almost doubled their lead through David O’Sullivan but the striker saw his low strike blocked by Delaney. The ball droped to the on-rushing Kaleem Simon but his strike was flicked behind for a fruitless corner.
Eric Molloy found Ryan Delaney on the overlap next and his cross to the back post found Paul Murphy, but he couldn’t get enough contact on the ball to direct it goalwards.
The Youths continued to search for an equaliser and Danny Furlong almost found it 13 minutes into the second half. Winger Friel whipped in the corner from the left side but striker Furlong saw his header drop just wide of Town keeper Skinner’s far post.
Molloy, Murphy, Bonner and Furlong all had half-chances to get on the scoresheet, but it wasn’t to be as Longford Town sealed the points in second-half stoppage time.
Striker Josh Hanlon beat the offside trap, latching onto O’Sullivan’s through ball to fight off the attention of Gary Delaney, and fire low past Youths keeper Doyle to grab all three points for the visitors.
For the home side, they’ll wonder how they couldn’t make their enermous pressure count in the second period, but for Tony Cousins’, he’ll be thrilled with his sides defending and clinical finishing in sealing an opening weekend three points.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle, Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Lee Grace, Ryan Delaney (Danny Ledwith 81); Aidan Friel, Chris Kenny, Jonny Bonner, Eric Molloy (Andy Mulligan 65); Danny Furlong, Paul Murphy.
Subs Not Used: Matthew Connor, Craig Wall, John Peare, Conor English, Stephen Last.
Yellow Cards: Paul Murphy (49).
Longford Town: Paul Skinner, Mark Hughes, Mark Rossitor, Noel Laverty, Conor Powell; David O’Sullivan, Kealan Dillon (Jamie Mulhall 65), Kevin O’Connor, Philip Gannon, Kaleen Simon; Josh O’Hanlon.
Subs Not Used: Daniel O’Reilly, John McKeown, Ian Molloy, Pat Flynn, Cian Fay, Karl Chambers.
Yellow Cards: Philip Gannon (13), Mark Hughes (80), Jamie Mulhall (83).
Referee: Dave McKeon.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Kevin O’Connor (Longford Town).