Rath­new see off New­town af­ter Wick­low Cup bat­tle

Rath­new de­feat New­town af­ter heated af­fair

Bray People - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN At New­town

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.


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.


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.

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