O’Neill twins both hit the net as Bokerboys advance to Leinster ¼ final

Wexford CBS under-17 soccer team beat St.Kierans College of Kilkenny in Curracloe on the 9th of December to advance to the quarter final of the Leinster cup. The boys took to the field backed by a strong wind in the first half and from the first minute put their opponents under severe pressure. Luke O’Neill put the Bokerboys ahead inside two minutes after a fine individual run saw him beat two players before hitting a powerful shot which the keeper got a hand to but failed to keep out of the net to give the CBS a dream start. In spite of a fierce wind this was a game of high quality and the game flowed from end to end. St. Kierans came close to equalising five minutes later but flashed a shot just wide of the post. The CBS gained the upper hand and created several chances but a combination of good goal keeping and poor finishing halted them from doubling their advantage. Luke O’Neill, Luke Dowdall and Jamie Thomas were wreaking havoc on the opposing defence as time and time again they looked to run at their opponents and played a high energy game. Ryan Busher, Sam O’Neill and Paddy O’Reilly were in control on midfield and dictated the game. A fine passage of play involving O’Reilly, Busher and Luke O’Neill played in Sam O’Neill but he hit an effort straight at the keeper. The CBS continued to press, Jamie Thomas played a wonderful curled pass over the top of defence to Luke O’Neill on the other side but he found his effort well saved. Ryan Busher was next up for the CBS as he hit an effort narrowly over. Luke Dowdall could have added another but some last ditch defending blocked him down after a great ball in from Luke O’Neill. The Bokerboys continued to apply the pressure, Luke O’Neill saw a freekick tipped over with ten minutes remaining. Jamie Thomas almost hit the net shortly after with a thunderous strike but again it was well saved by St. Kierans impressive keeper. St. Kierans always looked dangerous in the counter attack particularly their number 10 who plays with the Irish under 15 international team and were very close to levelling the scores on the stroke of half time after a neat one two played in their number 11 who attempted to go around Adam Dempsey but was forced wide and eventually he attempted a cross which Dempsey gathered gratefully.

The second half the Bokerboys were forced to play against a fierce wind but to their credit they certainly upped their game, they kept the ball moving on the ground and dominating possession, Paddy O’Reilly in midfield in particular was at the heart of everything as the CBS overlapped and played some scintillating football. Inside two minutes Jamie Thomas and Luke O’Neill combined well before finding a defence splitting pass for Luke Dowdall who raced into a one on one position and with plenty of time really should have hit the net but his effort was well saved. Dowdall came close again shortly after as Ben Butler overlapped before whipping in a dangerous cross. The Bokerboys eventually added a deserved second midway through the second half, a fine flowing move started by Ryan Busher and involving Jamie Thomas and Luke O’Neill eventually fed the ball to Sam O’Neill who beat his man on the edge of the box before slotting home a lovely finish to the bottom left corner of the net. St. Kierans at this point poured everything forward in search of an equaliser but found the back four of Dion Murphy, Kallum Broaders, Jack O’Leary and Ben Butler in no mood to give them a chance. Broaders and O’Leary in the centre defended resolutely throughout the game and had to up their game considerably as Kierans attempted to get back in the game. The Bokerboys did have chances to add another, Jamie Thomas almost tripled the lead with a freekick which he fired just over and TJ Cousins was unfortunate not to receive a penalty after a stumble in the box. St.Kierans did pull one back with 15 minutes remaining after some individual brilliance from their number ten who exploited space in the CBS defence before rifling home a shot to leaving Dempsey with no chance 2-1. Substitute Leon Nolan-Cullen gained possession for the CBS on the half-way line and raced down the wing before delivering a lovely ball to Luke O’Neill who hit an effort on target but which was well saved by the away keeper. St.Kierans backed by the wind upped their game and put real pressure on the CBS in the final ten minutes as they went with a very direct approach but were not afforded any clear cut chances. Adam Dempsey was forced into one excellent save from a flicked header from a free and Jack O’Leary pulled off a phenomenal sliding tackle to calm the nerves. CBS introduced some substitutes who all had an impact on the final stage of the game with Chris Cowman shoring up midfield and Todd Hynes adding renewed energy at left back as the home team saw out the remainder of the game and secured a great victory.

An excellent team performance again from the CBS in their closest game so far this season, this was a test for the boys which they proved to be more than capable of meeting. Excellent performances all over the field backed by the composure of their captain, Adam Dempsey in goal, on the day man of the match was deservedly Paddy O’Reilly who controlled the game from midfield but of course honourable mentions to the O’Neill twins Sam and Luke who both hit the net and played brilliantly throughout. The lads now await the draw for the ¼ final but with this kind of performance and two more players to come back into the squad they stand every chance of going all the way.

Wexford CBS: Wexford CBS: Adam Dempsey (Wexford Youths), Dion Murphy (Wexford Albion),  Kallum Broaders (North End), Jack O’Leary (Wexford Albion), Ben Butler (Wexford Albion), Paddy O’Reilly (Wexford Albion), Sam O’Neill (Wexford Albion), Ryan Busher (Wexford Youths), Luke O’Neill (Wexford Albion), Luke Dowdall (Wexford Albion), Jamie Thomas (Wexford Albion) Subs: T.J Cousins (Wexford Albion) for  Dowdall (Wexford Albion), Chris Cowman (Curracloe Utd.) for Busher, Leon Nolan-Cullen (North End) for Thomas, Todd Hynes (North End) for Butler