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Dublin: 3 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019
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Sonic Youths: Wexford not getting ahead of themselves

The current First Division leaders got off to a flyer last Friday night but are remaining grounded despite the 6-0 win over Waterford United.

The team took part in the Enniscorthy 10k run last month.
The team took part in the Enniscorthy 10k run last month.
Image: Wexford Youths

WEXFORD YOUTHS MAY have had the stand-out result on the opening night of the season last Friday, but manager Shane Keegan doesn’t see promotion from the First Division as a realistic goal to aim for in 2012.

Youths put six past neighbours Waterford United without replay at Ferrycarrig Park, with Tom Elmes bagging four goals, and stormed to the top of the second tier.

However, Keegan revealed that, despite his tactical planning and the superb work ethic of the team paying off, there was a degree of luck involved and a 6-0 scoreline flattered the home team.

It was just one of those days for us,” he told TheScore. “We had worked very hard all week. Waterford are close neighbours and a fair few players would’ve bounced between the two teams.

“We know a lot about them and had a specific gameplan. Everything that we tried came off on the night.

“I had some of the stats – we had seven goalscoring chances and they had five. We were very clinical. They weren’t near their best but we weren’t six goals better than them. A lot of luck went our way.”

It was a pre-season which saw a huge amount of change within the club as founder Mick Wallace took a step back after four years in charge. The Independent TD, who is currently dealing with debt problems, has had to commit his time elsewhere since being elected and decided to hand over control to an operations committee.

“Mick always said that he eventually wanted the club to stand on its own two feet,” said Peter Crimmings, Club Secretary and PRO. “It has been mayhem over the past couple of months with all the comings and goings but hopefully it will calm down a bit now.”

They have all offered their time on a voluntary basis and Crimmings adds that Youths are financially sound going into the new campaign.

Each year we have to raise money through fundraising and sponsorships like other teams but we don’t have player contracts or massive wages bill that they do so the finances are in a good state.”

Keegan, a former FC Carlow boss, arrived and has brought with him a rake of new playing staff. The Laois native has got an extensive network in the South East and sourced his squad from his former side as well as Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Carlow IT’s college side.

“We emphasised character as well as technical qualities,” Keegan said. “We were looking at players who were determined to prove themselves at this level.”

Their first competitive test was a resounding success and the manager had plenty of praise for CJ Browne, Graham Doyle, Aidan Keegan, Danny Furlong and goal hero Tom Elmes, who has already matched last season’s total tally with his exploits on Friday.

“I had Tom at FC Carlow and scoring four goals wasn’t a surprise to me. He can score off his left, right and with his head. It is beyond me how he didn’t get more last season. He’s a fine player.”

On making the step up to Premier Division football, Keegan says their expectations are the same now as they were before the win over Waterford.

“I wouldn’t be looking at promotion this year. We have a points tally in our heads. To finish fifth or sixth would be a fantastic season.”

Youths travel to Terryland Park tonight, where a meeting with SD Galway awaits. They may have lost 2-1 to Athlone Town in their first game but Keegan won’t be underestimating them.

“Our aim would be to win our home games and pick up points where we can on the road. I’d be happy with a point but will be going out to win. They’ll be expremely well-organised. You don’t get much more experienced than Tony Mannion.”

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Ben Blake

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