Kearon the star man as Ark­low sink Port­laoise

SOC­CER UN­DER-15 S.F.A.I. EVANS CUP

Bray People - - Bray Sport -

Ark­low Town 4, Port­laoise 1: A su­perb per­for­mance from striker John Kearon il­lu­mi­nated a good U-15 S.F.A.I. Evans Cup con­test be­tween Ark­low Town and vis­i­tors Port­laoise at a chilly Bridgewater Cen­tre Park on Satur­day af­ter­noon last.

With a place in the open draw for the last 32 at na­tional level up for grabs both sides sparred with each other over the open­ing ex­changes.

The dead­lock was bro­ken how­ever in the tenth minute with Dar­ragh O’Leary whip­ping in a ball from the left flank that was met by Kearon, his first touch im­mac­u­late, swiv­el­ling and then fir­ing low and hard into the Port­laoise net to edge Town ahead.

The home side dou­bled their lead in the twen­ti­eth minute with Ark­low at­tack­ing once more down the left wing. O’Leary crossed into the area and the away de­fence failed to scram­ble clear, with the ball hop­ping up nicely for John Kearon to smash high into the top cor­ner.

The Laois side ral­lied in the sec­ond-half, de­ter­mined to find a way back into the con­test and in­deed they may have forced their way back into the game where it not for an ex­cel­lent save from Town’s An­thony Nolan.

With Ark­low’s next at­tack the con­test was put be­yond the vis­i­tors, fif­teen min­utes into the half. Ian Reid, en­joy­ing a won­der­ful sea­son so far, and again on this oc­ca­sion a highly in­flu­en­tial fig­ure, showed great aware­ness to spot Kearon in full flight and goal­bound. Reid played a per­fectly weighted pass that dis­sected the de­fence and gave Kearon a glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­nity to se­cure Ark­low’s pas­sage into the last 32, a chance he never looked likely to spurn as he se­cured his hat-trick, and Town’s third goal.

It was to get bet­ter for Kearon but not be­fore Port­laoise scored a con­so­la­tion goal, against the run of play.

Still, it was to be the Ark­low man’s day, con­test­ing an aerial ball with the away side’s keeper and cen­tral de­fender, the ball struck Kearon on the back and he was first to re­act, slot­ting home from close range.

Kearon was de­servedly ac­claimed as man of the match af­ter his dis­ci­plined per­for­mance en­sured Town ad­vanced, as they did last sea­son also, to the na­tional level in this sea­son’s Evans Cup. Fur­ther good news for the Ark­low side with the re­turn from in­jury of the in­flu­en­tial Mark Hardy. Hardy, who starred for the Repub­lic of Ire­land Emerg­ing Tal­ent side com­pet­ing in the Um­bro Cup pre-sea­son has been side­lined for a num­ber of weeks with in­jury and his re­turn is well-timed as Town set their fo­cus on match­ing last sea­son’s run to the last eight at na­tional level in S.F.A.I. cup com­pe­ti­tion. On this per­for­mance, Ark­low look highly ca­pa­ble.

Ark­low Town, who beat Port­laoise in the U-15 S.F.A.I. Evans Cup.

Ark­low Town's John Kearon, who scored all four goals in the S.F.A.I. Evans Cup win for Town over Port­laoise.

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