COX SEALS THE DEAL!

Rovers see off Ark­low FC af­ter thrilling clash

Bray People - - SPORT - JAMES JAMES NOLAN NOLAN At Bridge­wa­ter Cen­tre Park

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.

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