Newcastle Rovers 1 Feenagh 4
The juniors become the first side to qualify for the quarter finals of the cup with this superb victory at Woodfield on Sunday last. Rovers currently lie third in the Premier Division and reached the 5th round of the FAI Junior Cup yet we belied our underdog status to secure a fully merited victory. The tie was scoreless at the break in a half devoid of many clear-cut chances. The game was played at an unrelenting pace throughout and we more than matched our higher ranked opponent. John O’Gorman passed up our best chance of the half when he fired over when racing through on goal. The goals were to flow after the interval. Conor Dillon opened the scoring early in the second half with a close range finish following a cross from Luke Ryan to the delight of the visiting support. Ryan has a penchant for scoring goals of the spectacular variety and his goal which made it 2-0 certainly fits into that category. John Nix played a ball into his direction and Ryan kept the ball in play before breezing past the full back and looping the ball over the keeper from the edge of the area for a superb finish. PJ Kinsella’s celebratory dance on the pitch was equally memorable ! In between these strikes the Rovers keeper had been sent off for taking down John O’Gorman. Referee John Roche had no alternative but to produce a red card as it was a last man tackle. Rovers then pulled one back to make it 2-1. Given O’Gorman and Ryan’s pace we always looked likely to score again and so it proved. A hopefully punt forward saw O’Gorman contest the dropping ball with the standin keeper. The keeper didn’t manage to claim possession of the ball and O’Gorman swept the loose ball to the net. Victory was sealed when Diarmuid Coleman latched onto a loose clearance on the edge of the area and finished smartly to the bottom corner of the net. Ryan and Moore were both denied by the Rovers keeper before the finish. Our first visit to Woodfield was a memorable one and as a result, a rare quarter final appearance in the Desmond Cup is to follow. Outstanding team effort on the day. Billy O’Sullivan stood out defensively with Ger O’Gorman and James Dillon putting in major shifts in the midfield engine room. John O’Gorman and Luke Ryan were a constant threat up front.
24 hours or so before the juniors cup exploits, the youths had earned a fully deserved victory over Abbeyfeale to claim a berth in the semi finals. The youths have been motoring along nicely in Division 2 this season but encountered a bump in the road last time out, when an understrength side went under to Carrig Celtic. A strong 11 entered the fray this week and it was clear in the early exchanges that they meant business. It was a busy weekend for Luke Ryan who played a starring role for both youths and juniors. It was Ryan who gave us the lead midway through the first half from the penalty spot. His brother Shane released him through on goal and he was upended by the keeper as he bore down on goal. The two combined again before the close of the half with Luke heading Shane’s corner narrowly wide. Another Shane Ryan corner saw William Murphy’s attempt at goal blocked and Gerard Moore’s follow up effort go narrowly wide. The second goal came via the head of Shane Ryan as on this occasion he was the beneficiary of a good cross from Dylan Hayes Daly. Luke then set up the impressive Cian Cotter with a gilt edged opportunity, but an unfortunate bobble saw him balloon his effort over the bar. Abbey then had their best spell in the game and despite a few close shaves we emerged unscathed. Luke then sealed the win as he drove home from close range after a previous effort from Murphy had been blocked and Moore’s attempt at a shot fell nicely in his direction. Impressive all round team performance with O’Keefe solid and assured at the back, Cotter and Fitzgibbon the top midfield performers and the two Ryan’s impressive upfront. Speedy recoveries to Dean and Luke who both picked up knocks over the weekend.