Fans, supporters, volunteers and anyone who was involved with Wexford FC last season will say it was a difficult year…
Week in week out, as I watched from the stands, the performances were there but the results didn’t seem to go our way. It was clear from early on last season that we had our work cut out for us.
It seemed like we lacked the killer instinct which is needed to survive in what was a tough first division. Looking back on results, we were defeated by just one goal in over a dozen games. This season, hopefully, we can switch that statistic and punish teams when they arrive down in Ferrycarrig Park.
I think, when many of us look back on last season, we will be very thankful for the slip up in Limerick which resulted in us being lifted off the bottom. As for this season, fans will definitely have a more positive outlook.
There has been the promotion of youth players such as Liam Berry and Colum Feeney into the first team which is always a positive note. Having gained experience at the back end of last season, Berry will look to cement a place in the starting eleven this season.
Feeney, a Wexford native will also be hoping to stake a claim in the team. The young keeper will be another familiar face in the line-up. With a host of young goalkeepers in the squad, this could be Feeney’s year to make his mark on the team.
The same can be said for Seán Roche who impressed in spells last season, scoring a belter in a cup defeat to Bray away from home, as well as some other noteworthy performances. I’m tipping Roche to play a very important role in the Wexford FC setup this season. Roche’s ability is evident to anyone who has watched him play and as Wexford FC supporters, we hope it can shine through this season.
Conor English, who will probably be the most familiar face to fans, will need to show his experience with these younger players, and we all know he is capable of doing so.
Defender Lee Costello also impressed in games last season and he’ll look to continue that run of form. Having played at center half and left back last season, I would be surprised if Costello isn’t at the heart of the defense for the upcoming season alongside players who have played as full backs such as Berry and new signing Kristian Crawford.
Dan Tobin, another new face in the dressing room, has been made first team captain and is likely to take the other center half spot. With a host of LOI appearances and aged just 22, Tobin will be expected to lead this Wexford FC team both on and off the field.
Most fans will be hopeful that our new brigade signings will fit nicely into the first team squad. Getting a new crop of young talent is a positive note for all interested in the club.
The most notable of these include Craig Giles. When signed it was noted he is the grandson of possibly the most gifted footballer Ireland has produced in Johnny Giles. But, Craig will be hoping that his performances will mean he’s known around these parts for his own ability rather than his granfathers. Having impressed previously with Shelbourne at underage level, he will be hoping to make a position in our first team his own.
In terms of our other new signings, LOI fans might be familiar with the name Kaleem Simon. Kaleem previously impressed with Longford playing over 50 games and his experience at this level will be important with such a young squad.
Like Tobin, Conor Crowley has joined from UCD and is likely to be a key member in the midfield. Also from UCD is keeper Tom Murphy who will compete with Feeney and fellow newcomer Jack Lydon. The three young keepers will keep each other on their toes and they will not want to make mistakes once in the starting position.
I see Wexford finishing somewhere around midtable in the league this year. There will be serious questions asked if the team does as badly as last season. Howeve, I can only see us improving from last season and a higher finish should be expected.