Rathnew reach final
Rathnew AFC 2, Glencormac United 0: Rathnew became the first side to book their place in the final of the Clarke Fuel & Oil Cup last Tuesday evening ( February 17) with a facile win over a hardworking Glencormac United side.
They found it hard to break the visitors down but eventually did and deservedly so, to advance to the semi-finals.
It was as early as the eighth second when Glens’ goalkeeper Shane Vickers was called into action.
Six minutes later Wicklow star Colin Jameson slid his free-kick to Kenneth Doyle who crossed it to Jody Merrigan but the tall youngster’s effort was blocked off the line.
Four minutes later Jameson lofted a long ball forward to Anthony Doyle, and the stocky striker chested the ball down before swivelling and shooting wide.
Rathnew were then given a golden opportunity on 13 minutes when Paul Merrigan’s brilliant surging run was brought to a halt by a visiting defender, but Jameson’s spot kick was well saved by Vickers. Apparently the number 13 is unlucky for Jameson, but not for Vickers.
Twenty minutes later Gary Messit’s free-kick was spilled by Rathnew goalie Stephen Doyle, but he gathered the ball quickly with Pádraig Devlin lingering.
Three minutes before the break the visitors had what was probably their best chance of the match. Tom Byrne dinked the ball for- ward, Pádraig Devlin flicked into Dean Byrne’s path, but the youngster’s blast was well saved by Doyle when he was clean through.
Rathnew were not happy with the way things were going at the break and they needed to change things, so they brought on Stephen Canavan at half-time and then Nicky Mernagh six minutes later.
Mernagh almost made an instant impact, but his shot was palmed away by Vickers.
In the 62nd minute Tom Byrne was forced to clear the ball of the line to deny the hosts.
A minute later Karl Doyle missed a good chance when scuffed his shot from inside the penalty area after being teed-up by Canavan.
Rathnew were by this stage well on top and it looked like they would find the breakthrough sooner rather than later.
On 69 minutes Barry Mernagh played a quick one-two from a corner and cut inside before releasing a piledriver that Vickers managed to tip over his crossbar. However, it was from the resultant corner that the home side took the lead.
Kenneth Doyle swung in a corner from the right and after Vickers could only flap at it, it fell to Anthony Doyle at the back post and he blasted the ball home for a deserved lead.
Thirteen minutes from time Rathnew should have put the game beyond doubt after Kenneth Doyle’s cross was met by Anthony’s diving header, but the striker failed to hit the target when he really should have scored.
On 82 minutes Wicklow U-18 star Ian Morris saw his low 25yard free-kick gathered by the Rathnew goalie and a Glen’s goal was looking unlikely.
Any hopes of a semi-final place for the away side were killed off two minutes before the end though when Anthony Doyle released Nicky Mernagh, who committed the ‘keeper before taking the ball wide and when he crossed to Anthony Doyle he put the ball in the far corner before Vickers had a chance to get back in position.
There were unfortunately some ugly scenes near the end with tension running high but nothing too shocking. One thing that was proved last Tuesday night though was that Rathnew certainly have the hunger and the bite for this cup competition.
Man of the Match: Shane Vickers (Glencormac United): The goalkeeper was on top form, pulling off some great saves, as well as a penalty stop.
Rathnew, who reached the final of the Clarke Fuel & Oil Cup.
Beaten semi-finalists, Glencormac United.