Young guns get use­ful work­out

Wick­low de­feated by Drogheda

Bray People - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN At Carlisle Grounds

WICK­LOW

Somers 10; Doyle 28 DROGHEDA

Kelly 40; Adieynka 62; Khan 76 2 3 WITH THE Kennedy Cup be­gin­ning in just 54 days, Wick­low’s prepa­ra­tions con­tin­ued at the Carlisle Grounds on Satur­day with a friendly de­feat to Drogheda.

Karl Brauner’s young guns had taken a 2-0 lead at the home of Bray Wan­der­ers through Tom Somers and Cor­mac Doyle, but the vis­i­tors hit back to level through sub­sti­tutes Josh Kelly and Tom Adieynka be­fore right-back Adam Khan won it for the Boy­nesiders four min­utes from time in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion.

Wick­low have been drawn in Group 8 of this year’s Kennedy Cup along­side DDSL, Car­low and Lim­er­ick Des­mond. The en­tire Wick­low squad will all be dy­ing to be in­volved when they kick off their cam­paign against the DDSL on Mon­day, June 16, and many pledged fair cases to be in­volved on Satur­day.

In the first 30 sec­onds, a slip from Wick­low cen­tre half Nathan Cullen but he and his fel­low de­fend­ers re­cov­ered well to smother Drogheda striker Conor McQuil­lan and quash the dan­ger.

On ten min­utes, it was the Drogheda de­fence put un­der the spot­light and they failed. A cor­ner kick was swung in men­ac­ingly from the left and af­ter the away side failed to clear their lines, winger Tom Somers pun­ished them as he swept the ball home in ruth­less fash­ion.

Cor­mac Doyle’s fin­ish in the 28th minute was equally as lethal. Drogs goal­keeper Daire Moore played a ca­sual pass to­wards a de­fender that Doyle in­ter­cepted. And in the blink of an eye he’d lined up and ex­e­cuted a bril­liant bend­ing fin­ish that sailed into the top cor­ner.

Wick­low shot-stopper Tom Scales was nearly caught out by vis­it­ing de­fender when his 45-yard free kick was caught by the wind and threat­ened to sneak in un­der the cross­bar un­til Scales touched over.

The home side went back on the at­tack when mid­fielder De­clan Bres­lin’s through-ball found the run of the on­side Doyle. He had to twist and turn to try and es­cape his mark- er’s at­ten­tion but de­spite his best ef­forts, he couldn’t find room for a shot.

Un­for­tu­nately for Wick­low, their two goal cush­ion would be halved be­fore the break. A loose pass at the back fell kindly to Josh Kelly and lifted his vol­ley be­yond the de­spair­ing fin­ger­tips of Scales.

At half time, Drogheda in­tro­duced pow­er­ful striker Tom Adieynka and it was im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous that he would be a hand­ful for the Wick­low rear­guard. It took him one minute to cause his first prob­lem as he mus­cled his way through the heart of the de­fence but Scales and his de­fence did just enough to put him off.

He tore through clean on goal again on the hour mark and this time it was the out­stretched legs of Scales that kept Wick­low ahead.

Wick­low then en­joyed a rare sec­ond half at­tack as they broke like light­ning; Kian Bol­ger sent in a low cross and Somers turned on it be­fore fir­ing goal­wards but a brave Drogheda de­fender got across to block his ef­fort.

With 62 min­utes on the clock, Adieynka fi­nally got the goal he de­served as he steered a pre­cise shot around the goal­keeper to leave the ball rest­ing in the cor­ner of the net.

And Wickow were un­able to hang onto the draw. With four min­utes to go, a Wick­low de­fender slop­pily gave the ball away. Adam Khan picked it up and slalomed in­side his man un­til he was within shoot­ing range. It was go­ing to take some­thing spe­cial to beat re­place­ment goal­keeper Eoghan O’Neill from there but he man­aged it by chip­ping a su­perb shot that floated into the top cor­ner.

Brauner’s troops couldn’t muster a late re­ply but de­spite the de­feat, there was plenty of en­cour­age­ment for the young­sters.

Af­ter the match, they chal­lenged Drogheda to a penalty shoot-out and showed cool heads to win 4-3. Kian Bol­ger, Louis O’Neill, Conor Bres­lin and Jack Kealy all con­verted their spot kicks, with Kealy netting the win­ning one.

WICK­LOW 1. Tom Scales; 13. Jack Kealy, 3. David Kielty, 4. Nathan Cullen, 17. Jack Man­ley; 9. Tom Somers, 8. Conor Bres­lin, 6. De­clan Bres­lin, 11. Kian Bol­ger; 10. Louis O’Neill; 12. Cor­mac Doyle.

DROGHEDA 1. Daire Moore, 2. Adam Khan, 3. Eoin McKenna, 4. Luke Byrne, 5. Stephen Do­ran, 6. Cian Quinn, 7. James Lars­son, 8. Jamie Gickes, 9. Thomas Clarkes, 10. Conor McQuil­lan, 11. Jamie O’Leary.

VENUE: Carlisle Grounds

The Wick­low Kennedy Cup team who faced Drogheda in Bray last weekend. Photo: Garry O’Neill.

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