Rathnew see off Newtown after Wicklow Cup battle
Rathnew defeat Newtown after heated affair
RED CARDS rained down at the Matt Kelly Memorial Grounds as Rathnew AFC A bested Wicklow Cup champions Newtown United A in an absorbing contest.
A place in the last four was at stake as two giants of Co. Wicklow went to war in a tie that produced five goals and five red cards.
Hosts United lost Mark Fitzsimons, Ross Odlum and Shane Mooney to sending offs, while Shane Magee and captain Chris Gregory were ordered from the field of play by referee Gavin Colfer, who felt the sting of both sides’ abuse as the clash wore on.
It was never likely to be a dull affair and the rewarding of a fourth minute penalty to the visitors guaranteed it wouldn’t be. Nicky Mernagh got both sidelines fired up as he fired the spot kick past Ciaran McGuirl.
United refused to buckle and their response was swift and deadly as Mooney swept home a 20 th minute leveller.
Having let their lead slip, worse was to follow for the Villagers in the 36th minute when Matthew Kennedy’s follow-up from Dessie Waters’ shot hit the net.
The first red cards of the second half were produced five minutes into the second period. Rathnew’s David Jameson and Fitzsimons clashed; wrestling to the ground off the ball with fists flying in every direction as Magee joined the fracas. This prompted reinforcements to charge forward from both sides and within seconds, a 20-man freefor-all ensued.
Fitzsimons and Magee were punished but more could have been.
With emotions running high, it took Rathnew two minutes to level matters as Mark Doyle brilliantly guided a diving header past McGuirl.
Doyle was involved in the next sending off as he and Odlum scuffled. The former appeared to be the main perpetrator as he picked up and dumped Odlum to the ground. Doyle only received a yellow for his rugby-style tackle, while Odlum received a costly second yellow, having been cautioned for dissent just before the half hour mark. The winning goal arrived with eight minutes to play. Industrial work from Mark O’Sullivan furrowed a chance for Mernagh and the striker didn’t panic when one-oneone with McGuirl; slotting to the goalkeeper’s right to spark bedlam on the Rathnew bench.
The drama was not finished though, tensions still had some more boiling over to do. On 84 minutes, Shane Mooney was astonished to be dismissed for an off the ball clash. In the immediate aftermath of Mooney’s departure, Gregory earned himself a red card as well for a rash reaction to Mooney.
Newtown’s Martin Melia was lucky to escape punishment for hurling the ball against the head of Gregory. Had Colfer spotted and punished that offence, United would probably have finished with seven men.
Colfer was at the heart of things right from the start as he pointed to the spot after four minutes. The ball was flicked on from the left and McGuirl called for the ball to be left. However, it bounced up off P.J. Dowling and, to Newtown’s sheer disbelief, it was adjudged to have struck his arm. Mernagh cared little for the hosts’ protests as he bulged the netting from 12 yards.
By the 20 th minute, Mooney had cancelled out Mernagh’s opener. A sweeping attack down the left flank featuring Ross Odlum and Dessie Waters saw the ball clipped into the centre where Mooney arrived in the nick of time to send an expert side-foot volley crashing to the net.
Odlum and Waters again linked up in the 36th minute to forage a lead goal. Odlum sprayed a pass deep down the left flank for Waters to chase. He gathered, took it inside and unleashed a shot that McGuirl parried into Kennedy’s path and the midfielder was not going to miss from 10 yards.
There was a brief bout of handbags three minutes before the interval but that was just to whet the appetite ahead of what was to come.
Before that, Marty Williams was denied a third goal for United by the post after he’d added to Fitzsimons’ flick-on.
That would be Fitzsimons’ last footballing involvement. Three minutes later, him and Magee scrapped and brought a few more along to the party with them. The ruling was a red card apiece. Jay Devlin then created Rathnew’s equaliser as his deep, deep cross was met superbly by the diving head of Mark Doyle and his delicate touch was enough to guide it past McGuirl.
The United headache soon worsened as Odlum came out on the wrong side of a Doyle dump tackle; in more ways than one.
Rathnew almost went ahead on 68 minutes as Doyle’s monstrous throw-in was nodded on but came back off the crossbar with McGuirl beaten.
Shane Mooney was inches from converting Martin Melia’s low, 81 st minute cross but the goal’s deciding contest arrived within a minute.
A poor defensive clearance was pounced upon by O’Sullivan, who paved the way for Mernagh to break through on goal and fire his side into the last four.
Top Form: Jay Devlin (Rathnew AFC A): Some colossal defensive headers.
NEWTOWN UNITED A
1. Ciaran McGuirl, 2. Martin Melia, 3. Stuart Synnott, 4. P.J. Dowling, 5. Billy Clarkson, 6. Matthew Kennedy, 7. Ross Odlum, 8. Shane Mooney, 9. Dessie Waters, 10. Marty Williams, 11. Mark Fitzsimons. SUBS: Luke Martin for Waters (83); Steven Davis for Williams (87). Not used: Glenn Carthy, Conor Eccleston, Roy Carthy.
RATHNEW AFC A
1. Cathal Moody, 2. Shane Magee, 3. Colin Jameson, 4. Jason Devlin, 5. David Jameson, 6. Chris Gregory, 7. Shane Doyle, 8. Donal Fitzgerald, 9. Mark Doyle, 10. Nicky Mernagh, 11. Jason Taylor. SUBS: Aidan Small for Fitzgerald (H/T); Mark O’Sullivan for S. Doyle (56); Kenneth Doyle for Taylor (63). Not used: B.A. Franey, Jamie Shea, Colin Cassidy. VENUE: Matt Kelly Memorial Grounds, Newtown
REFEREE: Gavin Colfer
The Rathnew AFC team who defeated Newtown United A in a feisty affair in the Wicklow Cup semi-final. Five red cards were issued.
The Newtown United A side who were defeated by Rathnew AFC at the Matt Kelly Memorial Grounds in Newtown.