Five-star DDSL too good for Wicklow
THE WICKLOW League was unceremoniously dumped out of the FAI Youth Interleague by a rampant DDSL last Wednesday night.
The Dubliners charged into a 4-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes of the contest at a freezing Whitehall. A shellshocked Wicklow side pulled one back courtesy of an own goal in the 25th minute but the hosts’ four-goal cushion was restored within minutes and from there on in the result was never in much doubt.
Although the second half possession statistics weighed heavily in Brian Byrne’s side’s favour, they were unable to transfer that pressure onto the scoreboard, although had Clive Crammond tucked away his 57th minute spot-kick the final half hour would have been a lot less comfortable for Rory Kerr’s side, who enjoyed a dream start.
With just four minutes on the clock, Wicklow wing wizard Adam Hanlon carelessly lost position on the edge of his area.
Luke Byrne seized the opportunity, quickly passing the ball inside to Mark Hughes and he would have made his Welsh namesake proud with a venomous thunderbolt that flew into the top corner of Cormac O’Brien’s net.
But like a lion pursuing a wounded animal, the DDSL quickly went in for the kill.
Niall Condron was in space 25 yards from goal. He laid the ball onto Darragh Keena, who spotted O’Connor’s run in behind the defence and he slipped it through for his strike partner who casually steered the ball past O’Brien to make it 2-0 with just eight minutes elapsed.
O’Connor then grabbed his second thanks to a large slice of good fortune. Keena brilliantly picked out man of the match Lorcan Shannon’s run down the right wing. Shannon then returned the favour when his low cross arrived at the feet of Keena to tap home. His effort was met on the goal-line by Paul Rice, but his attempt to hack clear rebounded in off O’Connor.
Wicklow, who had to plan without influential midfielder Eric Molloy after the midfielder was selected for international duty, must have felt that they were stuck in a bad dream but Dublin certainly weren’t resting on their laurels and on 19 minutes they snatched a fourth.
Another Shannon run in behind was what created the chance, although this time he was found by Hughes’ clever ball over the top. Shannon’s cross was behind the strikers on this occasion but Condron turned back to retrieve it and the wide-man took a touch before slamming it beyond O’Brien’s despairing dive from 18 yards.
The visitors were offered a glimmer of hope in the 25th minute when DDSL goalkeeper Dean Smith came to claim a Wicklow free-kick and got nowhere near it, with the end product being Patrick Seery unwillingly deflecting the ball into the net with his head.
That glimmer was quickly quashed though. Four minutes later Paul Rice gave away a free-kick near to the right-hand corner flag.
Mark Hughes curled over the set-piece and Matt Holland rose to guide a header past Cormac O’Brien, who may be disappointed with his attempt to keep out Holland’s effort.
Keena and O’Connor both went close to extending the lead with half-time fast approaching. First, the former scooped over after being found by Condron’s cut-back.
Then, the latter’s neat flick from another Condron set-up bulged the side netting.
Clive Crammond forced Dean Smith into a save in the 43rd minute, the first time the DDSL shot-stopper had been called into action all evening.
Early in the second period, Andy Mulligan prevented his side from going further behind. Condron once again got in behind the WDL backline and drew O’Brien out of his goal before finding O’Connor. But O’Connor was denied a hattrick when Mulligan hooked the striker’s back-heel off the line.
Clive Crammond looked to have possibly found a way back into the game for his side on 57 minutes when the winger was brought crashing down to earth in the penalty area, but Smith got a very strong hand to Crammond’s 12yarder and the danger was averted.
Wicklow continued to probe in the final half hour but they never really threatened the hosts, who comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to seal their place in the next round.
Top Form: Lorcan Shannon (DDSL): A constant menace.
1. Dean Smith, 2. Matt Holland, 3. Luke Byrne, 4. Patrick Seery, 5. Kevin Farragher, 6. Matt Callaghan, 7. Lorcan Shannon, 8. Mark Hughes, 9. John O’Connor, 10. Darragh Keena, 11. Niall Condron. SUBS: Paul Moffet for Callaghan (45); Keith Boyle for Keena (69); Sean Challenger for Condron (82). Not used: Shane Finnegan, Stephen Watters, Jack Kierans.
1. Cormac O’Brien, 7. Ciaran Byrne, 12. Paul Rice, 2. Ian Reid, 13. Ryan Byrne, 15. Adam Hanlon, 5. Keith Armstrong, 9. Clive Crammond, 11. Andy Mulligan, 8. Dara Verney, 10. Alan Sunderland. SUBS: Darragh O’Donnell for Mulligan (65); Niall Murphy for Verney (85). Not Used: Nathan Condell, Cian Ryan, Robbie Byrne, Gavin McDevitt, Darragh O’Leary, Jonathan Delahunt, Matti Blanchia. VENUE: Whitehall, Dublin. REFEREE: David Davidson.
Wicklow League Youths, who lost out to DDSL.