Town hit All Blacks for six


Bray People - - Bray Sport -

Ark­low Town 6, All Blacks 0: Ark­low Town Youths turned on the style at Bridgewater Cen­tre Park in their ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated Le­in­ster Youths Cup fourth round clash at the week­end against a fan­cied All Blacks side from Wex­ford.

Due to the re­cent spell of in­clement weather the fix­ture had twice been post­poned and this back­log of fix­tures could yet scup­per Town’s as­sault on nu­mer­ous fronts for sil­ver­ware this sea­son.

The vis­i­tors ar­rived in Ark­low with a re­spected rep­u­ta­tion hav­ing beaten a strong Home Farm side in their pre­vi­ous out­ing. Town them­selves had ad­vanced to the fourth round on the back of an ex­cel­lent win over Dublin side Rangers AFC, so a keenly fought con­test was an­tic­i­pated.

The open­ing ex­changes were tight, with Ark­low seek­ing to cre­ate down ei­ther flank. The home side etched out a num­ber of half chances, but all were spurned.

A Paul Werder cross found Stephen O’Neill in a cen­tral po­si­tion but O’Neill’s header glanced wide and that was fol­lowed with Daniel Led­with see­ing a firm header strik­ing the All Blacks post af­ter an ex­cel­lent cross from Werder.

In the 20th minute O’Neill again went close, get­ting on the end of a Led­with cross to force the Wex­ford keeper into a fine save. All Blacks then sensed an op­por­tu­nity to score against the run of play and pressed Town for a short spell.

How­ever, Ark­low, su­perbly mar­shalled at the back by James Scallan, were in no mood to con­cede and it was Scallan him­self who thought he had given Town the lead but he was ad­judged to have han­dled the ball be­fore fir­ing home. Seven min­utes later, Town were fi­nally re­warded for their con­stant pres­sure, with Daniel Led­with get­ting on the end of a Jonathan Kelty cross to slot home from close range.

Town made the per­fect start in the sec­ond half with Stephen O’Neill push­ing through the keeper’s legs to dou­ble Ark­low’s lead af­ter, again, ex­cel­lent play from Paul Werder.

The game as a con­test was put be­yond the Wex­ford side when Shane Mur­ray, en­joy­ing a great game in mid­field along­side Clive Cram­mond, switched play as Ark­low pressed for­ward. Paul Werder was af­forded the free­dom of the park and his un­selfish play al­lowed Stephen O’Neill, from five yards, to net his sec­ond and Town’s third.

De­spite All Black’s will­ing­ness to play an at­trac­tive brand of foot­ball, a fourth Ark­low goal al­most straight from the restart sealed their fate. Shane Mur­ray broke through the mid­dle, find­ing Jonathan Kelty and the Ark­low man shot home low into the cor­ner.

The rout con­tin­ued two min­utes later af­ter Jack Tim Mur­phy, in­tro­duced as a sub­sti­tute and op­er­at­ing on the left flank, found Paul Werder six yards out and he placed home, a de­served re­ward for his work ethic on the day.

Sub­sti­tute Dar­ragh Cul­leton went close late on, get­ting on the end of a Shane Mur­ray cross, but his headed ef­fort smacked off the cross­bar. Cul­leton was not to be de­nied though, as two min­utes later, he got on the end of a cross from the tire­less Werder af­ter Werder had beaten four de­fend­ers with a mazy run.

Town’s win sees them ad­vance to the quar­ter fi­nals of the Le­in­ster Youth Cup and a tough as­sign­ment away at Sher­iff YC this Sun­day.

Ark­low Town's Stephen O'Neill in action against All Blacks.

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