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Kerry FC v Wexford FC March 29, 2024

Match Report – Kerry FC v Wexford FC



Kerry FC kicked off the bank holiday weekend with a home game in Mounthawk Park against Wexford FC. Kerry FC came into the game unbeaten in their last four games with a win in the Munster Senior Cup Semi-Final versus Treaty United and three draws in their last three League of Ireland games. Wexford came to Tralee off the back of a hugely dramatic win away to Bray Wanderers in the Carlisle Grounds. A Thomas Oluwa penalty in the eighty-fifth minute secured all three points for Wexford FC. It was Wexford’s second win in their opening four games of the season placing them sixth in the table.

Kerry conveyed a fantastic defensive display last week in Ballybofey and hoped for the same on Friday as they set up with the same five in the back defensive system which worked perfectly for them last week, securing their first clean sheet of the season in the process. Kerry were starting to make themselves a tough opposition to come up against and it had to be said that this was something Kerry FC supporters would have hoped for coming into the clubs second season in League of Ireland football.

First Half:
Kerry started the opening exchanges on the front foot and were creating the best chances. Ryan Kelliher had an opportunity to put the home side in front with an early lead in the first minute as he got on the end of a long pass over the top of the Wexford defence. Kelliher’s effort went over the crossbar without causing any sort of struggle for Mansfield loanee Owen Mason in between the sticks.

Just ten minutes later after some fantastic approach play in the attacking third, Kerry struck in front through a first Kerry FC senior goal from left-back Sean O’Connell. Wexford captain Ethan Boyle played the ball out of the box into a dangerous area to Mikie Rowe who was completely unaware that O’Connell was behind him and snuck onto his first touch. The second Sean got in possession of the ball he struck his shot with great precision into the bottom right corner. The goal was followed by a beautiful moment when the entire Kerry team ran over to the bench to celebrate with Cian Brosnan, the club’s number 17 who was on the bench following a family bereavement during the week. This moment highlighted the unity and strength within this growing Kerry FC side.

Even though the game started off at a very high tempo, this quickly changed as unfortunate injuries started to control the tempo of the remainder of the half. Players such as Cian O’Malley, Sam Aladesanusi and Aaron Robinson all made way through knocks in the opening forty-five. Even though the fast pace of the game was entertaining to watch, the stoppages benefited Kerry as it helped them take the wind out of the Wexford sails.

With six minutes added before halftime, there were half-hearted shouts for a Wexford penalty, but referee Chris Sheehan had a perfect view of the situation and decided there was not enough for him to point to the spot on that occasion. In the fourth minute of added time, Ethan Kos did very well to block the shot of Aaron Dobbs. A cross was swung in brilliantly into the back post beating everyone in the air before reaching Dobbs but just as he took on the shot, Kos was on hand to direct the effort out for a corner which eventually led to nothing. Just a minute or so later the final whistle blew in the first half and Kerry were on top in what was an even and entertaining contest.

Second Half:
Five minutes after the restart Wexford got their equaliser and Aaron Dobbs made up for his earlier missed opportunity. A fantastic cross into the area saw Dobbs leap up ahead of Finn Barrett and headed the ball into the left side corner of the goal giving Antonio Tuta no chance. A great goal from a Wexford perspective but it could be said that the cross should have been closed down earlier.

Owen Mason was back in action again as he saved another Ryan Kelliher effort from close range. Twelve minutes later, Daniel Okwute was played in on goal thanks to a superb over-the-top through pass from Steven Healy, but Okwute made the angle that bit harder for himself and dragged his shot a yard wide of Mason’s left-hand post.

Wexford started picking up yellow card after yellow card for cynical tackles from the likes of Darragh Livingston, Ethan Boyle and Ben Lynch. This was to prevent Kerry from the counterattack on each occasion, but frustration started to set in from the home players which led to a yellow card for Kerry FC captain Andy Spain for pointing out these types of challenges to Chris Sheehan.

Cian Brosnan entered the pitch with twelve minutes to go and his pinpoint accuracy on long passes came to fruition right away as he picked out Daniel Okwute. Unfortunately for Kerry, his shot went just wide of the mark on what looked to be the last chance of the night.

Wexford defender Ben Lynch picked up a second yellow and subsequent red card for another poor foul in the last thirty seconds of the game. The free kick was put into a good area but was punched away by Owen Mason and Chris Sheehan blew the final whistle with the game ending in a 1-1 stalemate.

Kerry will be disappointed not to pick up that first home league win but will be pleased with the fact that they are becoming increasingly hard to beat as they are now undefeated in the last five competitive games. This is a great way to be as they now travel to Dublin for the first time to take on UCD on the bank holiday Monday in just two days’ time.

Kerry FC Team: 1. Antonio Tuta, 15. Kevin Williams, 18. Samuel Aladesanusi, 5. Andy Spain (C), 6. Ethan Kos, 3. Sean O’Connell (Goal ’11), 21. Daire McCarthy, 14. Steven Healy, 7. Sean McGrath, 9. Ryan Kelliher, 11. Daniel Okwute.

Subs: Darragh Foley, Ronan Teahan, Victor Udeze, Kennedy Amechi, Togor Silong, Cian Brosnan, Finn Barrett, Graham O’Reilly, Cianan Cooney.

Wexford FC Team: 21. Owen Mason, 3. Benjamin Lynch, 4. Cian O’Malley, 5. Ethan Boyle (C), 6. Andrew Robinson, 7. Mikie Rowe, 9. Thomas Oluwa, 10. Aaron Dobbs (Goal ’50), 12. Luka Lovic, 13. James Crawford, 20. Reece Webb.

Subs: Alex Moody, Darragh Levingston, Kian Corbally, Mark Hanratty, Carl Lennox, Kaylem Hartnett, Brandon Mccann, Cian Curtis, Robbie O’Toole.