Kevin Dooney reports from Ferrycarrig Park
Pre-match talk of Dean Casey flying in preseason proved to be no exaggeration as Casey’s left foot guided Cabinteely to a 2-1 victory away to Wexford.
On a bitter night in the southeast Cabo took little time to warm up, registering four corners in the first eight minutes.
Keith Dalton and Casey took turns peppering the Wexford box from left and right respectively as Cabo looked a constant threat.
This threat came good after eight minutes as Casey’s in swinging corner found Kevin Knight’s head at the back post with Knight’s downward header reaching the back of the net over the head of the Wexford defender standing at the post.
Wexford responded well after the shaky start and had a few minutes very much in the ascendency resulting in multiple corners as Cabo players threw themselves in front of successive shots leaving debutant keeper Adam Hayden with little to do.
The game settled after its frantic first third as Cabo continued to use corners as their main form of attack without really threatening the Wexford goal.
Cabinteely started the second half in a similar vain to the first with corners coming thick and fast after the restart.
Defenders again proved threatening as Andy O’Brien, filling the tall man number five role vacated by Conor Keeley, could only find the post with his header.
Cabo again struck the goalframe on 50 minutes, only this time Dean Casey’s thunderous 30-yard free kick came off the inside of the post and made its way into the back of the net.
The two-goal cushion was short lived as set pieces again showed their importance in this division with Wexford captain Luke Turner getting his head on the second ball from a corner near the hour mark to set up a cagey last half hour.
Cabo’s good fortune appeared to be running dry as Wexford once again applied the pressure and the referee booked Cabo sub Alex Aspil, who had replaced an injured Eoin Massey in the first half, despite Aspil seemingly making solid contact with the ball.
Cabo continued to show promise though, racking up their fourteenth corner of the night on seventy minutes.
Soon after Kieran Marty Waters showed skills reminiscent of winning the 2017 First Division Player of the Season award as he skipped past several defenders only to unselfishly attempt a failed square ball.
Wexford were again under pressure as keeper Tom Murphy kick out rebounded off his own defender and fell to the feet of Marty Waters with Dean Casey only able to find the side netting from the resulting play.
Cabo rejuvenated tired legs with a triple substitution seeing two more players make their competitive debuts in the final ten minutes.
Wexford created chances but failed to truly test Hayden as Cabo held out for a deserved but nervy 2-1 victory.
Cabo end the first night of fixtures top by the width of a wide vowel from Cork City who they will face next Friday (April 2nd) in Stradbrook as they seek to make Good Friday a Great Friday.
Wexford: Tom Murphy; Alex O’Hanlon, Paul Cleary, Luke Turner (c), James Carroll; Paul Fox, Karl Manahan (Jack Connolly 85’), Conor Crowley (Jack Doherty 72’), Harry Groome; Kyle Robinson (Success Edogun 77’) Karl Fitzsimons
Subs not used: Jimmy Corcoran, Daniel Dobbin, Jack Larkin, Evan Farrell
Cabinteely: Adam Hayden; Kevin Knight (c), Andy O’Brien, Dan Blackbyrne; Dean Casey (Jordan Payne 80’), Zak O’Neill, Eoin Massey (Alex Aspil 40’), Vilius Labutis, Keith Dalton; Kieran Marty Waters (Niall Barnes 80’), Sean McDonald (Mitchell Byrne 80’)
Subs not used: Harry Halwax, Luke Clucas, Luke McWilliams, Deane Watters, Kieran Butler
Referee: Mark Moynihan.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Dean Casey (Cabinteely).
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