I was walking on Wexford’s Main St the other day when a pupil approached me to ask me if I had my tickets yet. I assured him I had got them earlier that morning and that yes I was looking forward to Saturday night.
This Saturday Wexford Youths host the Eircom League Cup final at Ferrycarrig Park. Their opponents are League Cup specialists Derry City from the Premier Division. Derry have had a typical Derry City season, always there or thereabouts in the hunt for honours. They’ve never played before in Wexford. Stephen Kenny’s men would prefer nothing more than to win the League Cup. Kenny is an outstanding manager who has delivered trophies before for Derry, taking them a few years go through the UEFA Cup to a credible draw with Paris SG . They are a step up in class for Mick Wallace’s men but it’s a cup tie and anything can happen as Cork City and Cobh Ramblers will tell you. I was at the Cobh match and it was all over long before the ref blew full time. There is a prominent banner at Youths matches that quotes Jim Larkin, “The great only appear great because we are on our knees, Arise Youths”
Mick Wallace will have his men well marshalled and they will have home advantage. Conor Sinnnott is one of the best players in Division 1, Youths have always looked well going forward especially with Craig McGuire driving down the right. Youths can always be relied on to win when they’re not supposed to as Sporting Fingal found out recently. Youths have a proud record in under age cup competitions. That’s the recipe for a good cup tie.
I hope Derry City fans enjoy their trip to the sunny south east. When they joined the league they brought enthusiasm and crowds back to the game, it’s a soccer mad city and nobody could take away anything from what they achieved. I hope they're back here on a more regular basis in the future. However Wexford Youths have made their contribution too. Mick Wallace’s vision in investing in the community is bearing fruit. In terms of structure the events happening at clubs elsewhere in the league show that he has his structure right and that it is possible to find players proud to play for the jersey and that that pride is reflected back by the community to them. Regardless of the result on the field the big winners next Saturday night will be Wexford Youths. For the first time Youths are in a final and I think its not for the last time either.
Perhaps another quote of Jim Larkin's is also appropriate to Wexford Youths; By God's help, and the intelligent use of their own strong right arms they could accomplish great things. Come on the Youths