Youthful Arklow Town claim F.C. Carlow scalp
F.C. Carlow 0, Arklow Town 1: Arklow Town Youths, predominantly an U-16 side with only three senior players above that age, caused a bit of a stir in Tullow last Saturday when defeating the highly experienced and somewhat fancied F.C. Carlow in their keenly contested FAI Youth Cup tie.
The young Town side were quickly into their stride with Stephen O’Neill coming close twice in the opening eight minutes.
The Carlow ’keeper made a fine save, turning O’Neill’s goal bound effort past the post and that was followed with a shot hit directly at the ’keeper.
Carlow reacted by carving an opening themselves four minutes later, denied only by a magnificent double save from Town’s netminder Cormac O’Brien. The Arklow side were dealt a cruel blow in the 20th minute when Aaron Barry was forced off with a suspected broken toe, replaced by Clive Crammond.
Town struck what was to be the decisive blow, with half-time approaching.
A free-kick, four minutes from the break, saw inspirational captain James Scallan heading home, triggering a somewhat unique goal celebration.
Arklow retained the initiative in the secondhalf, frustrating the home side who appeared unable to get the better of Town’s Irish international Shane Murray, orchestrating matters in midfield.
However, the Carlow pressure increased and they laid siege on the Arklow goal over the closing minutes.
With Carlow pressing for a leveller, Arklow once again spurned a glorious chance to kill the game, Stephen O’Neill again failing to get the better of the Carlow ’keeper in a one on one situation. Danny Ledwith was then farcically yellow carded after being scythed down in the Carlow area with ten minutes remaining.
Crucially, deep into injury-time, Carlow saw their best chance, a header from six yards out, sail over the bar, leaving the Arklow side to enjoy a prized scalp and passage into the last 32 of the FAI Youth Cup.
Keith Armstrong and Shane Murray both enjoyed superb performances in the Arklow midfield while Clive Crammond proved his worth when replacing the injured Aaron Barry.
Cormac O’Brien proved resilient in the Arklow goal when called upon but the real backbone to the side was provided by the experience of Richie Power, Paul Werder and Stephen O’Neill, who all led the side to a highly disciplined and satisfactory victory.
Arklow Town's Irish international midfielder Shane Murray, highly influential in Town's excellent win over F.C. Carlow in the FAI Youth Cup.
Arklow Town's influential captain James Scallan, scorer of the winning goal in their impressive 1-0 FAI Youth Cup victory over F.C. Carlow.