COX SEALS THE DEAL!
Rovers see off Arklow FC after thrilling clash
HAVING already secured qualification for the Premier Shield final, Wicklow Rovers under-14As reached their second final of the season after defeating Arklow Town A to advance to the Premier Cup final.
This tie had all the ingredients to be a cracker as the two sides have a history of producing close and entertaining games. In the three previous meetings this campaign, Rovers have two victories while Town have one win over the green and whites.
The visitors were quickest out of the blocks with Stuart Cox breaking clean through on goal and striking just wide of the post in the opening minute of the game. Four minutes later Cox had another opportunity when Luca Rampersaud played a perfectly weighted through ball but Cox failed in his attempt to round Arklow custodian, Christopher Makin.
Although Wicklow had all the clear cut chances early on it was far from a one-sided affair. The possession stats were split down the middle but at times Arklow just over passed the ball or couldn't make the killer pass to unlock the Rovers back four.
In the 20th minute Jack Dunne thought he had given Wicklow the lead but his effort from a corner was cleared off the line by Keith Carty.
One minute later Rovers did take the lead. Jack Dunne played Stuart Cox through on goal and it was third time lucky for Cox who shot across Makin and into the bottom left hand corner to put the visitors one up and to bring his goal scoring tally to 16 for the season.
The remainder of the half consisted of little chances with both teams sharing even amounts of the ball in central areas of the pitch.
In the 33rd minute a move involving numerous Arklow attackers ended with Liam Moore shooting over. It was 1-0 to the Wicklow outfit at the break. The first period was 50-50 in terms of possession of the ball but Rovers created more chances than the hosts and this showed in the score line at the interval.
The Town managed to create more opportunities for themselves in the second half. Four minutes into the half, Sean Crowley fired a shot just wide. A few minutes later Crowley was involved again when he hit a low and hard drive but Rossa Marron was able to get down and get the ball in his grasp.
Paul King nearly doubled Rovers lead after he went on a good run down the left flank, firing his eventual shot over the bar.
In the 58th minute Arklow went agonisingly close to levelling. Keith Carty broke past the Rovers line of defence, hitting his shot across the keeper and just wide of the post. The tension was well and truly in the air with Arklow throwing everything at Wicklow in search of an equaliser and in the 62nd minute they nearly got one.
Sean Crowley played the ball to Keith Carty out wide and in turn Keith Carty crossed the ball in to Eoin Darcy in the box but Darcy was unable to put his effort on target. Despite Arklow piling on the pressure, Rovers had a chance of their own at the other end. A Paul King cross into the box was met by Stuart Cox, with Cox's shot not testing Christopher Makin and going harmlessly wide.
Arklow's last throw of the dice came well into injury time with substitute Eoin Darcy firing his shot wide. Referee Seamus Ferguson blew his whistle to signal full time and book Wicklow Rovers place in the Under 14 WDSL Premier Cup final. Rovers will take on either Avonmore or Enniskerry FC, who contest the other semi final, in the climax of the competition.
Arklow will see this as a missed opportunity as they managed to create more chances in the second period but very few were good enough to test Rossa Marron in the Wicklow goal. Rovers missed their fair share of opportunities too but they managed to score the all important deciding goal as well as keeping Arklow at bay with a solid defensive display.
Top Form: Stuart Cox, he never gave the Arklow defenders a moment's peace.
ARKLOW TOWN A
1. Christopher Makin, 11. Jack O'Reilly, 6. Keith Carty, 9. Callum Randall, 15. Eoin Hayes, 8. Ben Fennell, 2. Joshua Mills, 17. Ethan O'Neill, 5. Sean Crowley 10. Liam Moore, 12. Dan Harris. SUBS: 7. Cian Quinn (for Ethan O'Neill, 24 mins, injury), 3. Thomas Lynch (for Randall, 40 mins), 14. Eoin Darcy (for Fennell, 40 mins)
WICKLOW ROVERS A
1. Rossa Marron, 2. Adam Waldron, 3. Eli Graham, 4. Ben Watson, 5. Daniel Harbourne, 6. Stephen Finlay, 7. Patrick O'Keane, 8. Luca Rampersaud, 9. Stuart Cox, 10. Jack Dunne, 11. Paul King. SUBS: 12. Dean Noble, 13. Ciaran Coffey (for O'Keane, 57 mins), 14. Ronan Murray (for Dunne, 46 mins) VENUE: Bridgewater Centre Park
REFEREE: Seamus Ferguson
The Wicklow Rovers side who defeated the Arklow Town lads in the Under-14 Premier Cup semi-final.
The Arklow Town A under-14 side who were defeated by Wicklow Rovers A in an excellent game at the weekend.
Wicklow Rovers’ Stuart cox reaches the ball ahead of Arklow Town's Joshua Mills.