- U17 North
A last minute equaliser secured Wexford a 1-1 draw with Cobh Ramblers at St Colman's Park in the final game of the first round of the 2017 League of Ireland.
Lee Duffy headed home in the closing stages to give Wexford a share of the spoils after Dean Swords had given the Rams the lead with a well-taken free kick shortly after half time.
This was to be Wexford’s first league game as a new entity since losing the 'Youths' part of their name.
Cobh played a 4-1-4-1 formation with Chris McCarthy playing the defensive midfielder role of the team, a change from the centre-half position he has occupied over the past few years.
On the right wing Ross Mann, signed from Limerick on Wednesday, made his debut along with former Limerick colleague Shane Lowth.
Wexford, on the other hand, kept on to a number of players who were relegated with Youths last season as the new club hope to go back up to the Premier Division.
The opening minutes of the game were helter skelter as both sides adjusted to the bobbly pitch with Swords, making his league debut for Cobh, having the first shot on target after ten minutes.
The game was seeing a lot of misplaced passes with neither team doing much to threaten the respective goalkeepers.
Liam Donnelly had two chances in quick succession, the first of which saw him head over following a Ricky Fox cross on 18 minutes.
Moments later, a misplaced drive from outside the box ended up in the chip van behind the goal much to the amusement of the large crowd in attendance.
Donnelly, who was full of creativity on the right flank, saw his cross find Thomas Croke unmarked in the Cobh box on 25 minutes, but the former Waterford player could only slice his volley over Paul Hunt’s cross bar.
With half time approaching, Wexford had one final chance to take the lead when Shane Dunne’s free kick from halfway was nodded on by Craig Hayes to Ross Kenny but the centre-half, at full stretch, could only scoop the ball over the bar.
At the other end Lowth saw a shot from the edge of the box go narrowly wide of Doyle’s goal following good build-up play by Mann.
There was still time for one more shot on target but Stephen Christopher could only fire straight at Doyle following Anthony O’Donnell’s corner as both teams headed to the dressing rooms.
The rain began early in the second half and with its introduction saw Craig Hayes hit the first shot of the half wide from 12 yards.
Sean Hurley had a shot off-target for the visitors as Wexford looked more likely to score the opening goal.
The deadlock was broken by Swords after 53 minutes as the ex-Ringmahon Rangers player fired his free kick home from 25 yards to the delight of the home fans.
Wexford nearly had a fortuitous equaliser moments later when Donnelly broke from deep only to see his cross sliced goal wards by Lowth, who had Hunt’s quick reflexes to thank for not conceding.
The visitors tried numerous crosses into the box but were unable to find their man as Ramblers appeared to weather the storm.
An ambitious free kick from Jason Abbott from out on the wing was tipped away for a corner by Doyle, while Duffy shot over the bar as the game drew to a close.
Yet there was time for Duffy to got the equaliser right on the 90 minute mark as he rose highest to head a Shane Dunne corner into the net.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Shane Lowth, Ben O’Riordan, James McSweeney, Anthony O’Donnell; Chris McCarthy (Craig Donnellan 89); Ross Mann, Stephen Christopher (Jason Abbott 68), Karl Caulfield, Ian Mylod; Dean Swords.
Subs not used: Adam Mylod, Charlie Fleming, Kyle McNamara, Scott McCarthy, Ryan Hogan.
Booked: O’Riordan (61).
Wexford: Graham Doyle; Ricky Fox, Ross Kenny, Owen McCormack, Andrew O’Connor; Shane Dunne; Sean Hurley, Craig Wall, Thomas Croke (Lee Duffy 68), Liam Donnelly (Mark Slater 58); Craig Hayes.
Subs not used: John McKeown, Jamie Fox, Dean George, Conor Sutton, Corey Chambers.
Booked: Dunne (6), Croke (30), Kenny (72), O’Connor (80).
Referee: Marc Lynch.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ben O’Riordan (Cobh Ramblers).