ROVERS RUN RIOT

Web­ster hat-trick­seals fi­nal place

Gorey Guardian - - SPORT - DEAN GOOD­I­SON in Peter Quinn Park

SHAM­ROCK ROVERS ST. LEONARDS 5 0

A MIKEY Web­ster hat-trick laid the foun­da­tions for a stun­ning Sham­rock Rovers vic­tory as they qual­i­fied for the Wex­ford and District School­boys Soc­cer Un­der-15 Cup fi­nal in Peter Quinn Park re­cently.

At­tack­ing down the right and in­vari­ably ar­riv­ing on the scene with im­pec­ca­ble tim­ing, Web­ster got his side into a strong po­si­tion at the break, made it 3-0 af­ter the in­ter­val, and watched on as Mylie For­tune and Seán Fitz­patrick wrapped up a spot in the de­cider.

This has been an in­cred­i­ble run for the En­nis­cor­thy boys from Di­vi­sion 2.

They handed Gorey Rangers ‘B’ their only de­feat of the sea­son in the first round, sent Di­vi­sion 1A New Ross Celtic pack­ing in round two, and knocked Gorey Rangers ‘A’ out in the quar­ters.

In that kind of form, and fly­ing high at the top of their ta­ble, they prob­a­bly went into this con­test as slight favourites against a St. Leonards side near the end of a ster­ling sea­son them­selves, cur­rently sit­ting sec­ond in Di­vi­sion 1A.

There was a clear con­trast in styles from the off. The vis­i­tors packed the cen­tre of the field and of­ten looked to spring their at­tack­ers from deep po­si­tions.

Rovers were a bit more ex­pan­sive and looked to work the ball on the ground from the flanks into their su­perb at­tack­ing tal­ent.

The style clash re­sulted in a fas­ci­nat­ing first-half. St. Leonards were strong through the mid­dle and won a lot of in­di­vid­ual bat­tles but strug­gled to break down their hosts.

Rovers looked a con­stant threat in the fi­nal third and it was no sur­prise when they took the lead in the tenth minute.

The ex­cel­lent Seán Fitz­patrick did the hard work, and his pass was de­flected into the path of Web­ster who coolly fired home to make it 1-0.

The sec­ond, which ar­rived in the 23rd minute, was sim­i­lar. This time Tadhg English cut in and saw his off-load re­bound to Web­ster, and he was ice-cool again with a classy low fin­ish past Dean Sin­nott.

The clos­est St. Leonards came was an almighty goal­mouth scram­ble just be­fore the break that saw Conor Power’s shot hooked off the line.

The third goal was clearly go­ing to be huge, and Rovers got it when Fitz­patrick ghosted through and un­selfishly squared for Web­ster to tap into the empty net.

With the vast ma­jor­ity of their squad still Un­der-14, Sham­rock Rovers were buzzing with con­fi­dence.

Eoin McGrath split the de­fence open in the 59th minute and For­tune tapped home be­fore Fitz­patrick net­ted the fifth with a fierce strike from the edge of the area to book a cup fi­nal date with St. Joseph’s of Kil­muck­ridge.

Sham­rock Rovers: Jamie Fitz­patrick; Shadragh On­wu­biko, Jamie Kealy, Ge­orge Spencer, Conor Hol­loway; Mikey Web­ster, Jamie Don­nelly, Dar­ragh Far­rell, Tadhg English; Seán Fitz­patrick, Mylie For­tune. Subs. - Luke Boxwell, Ja­son Og­wueleka, Maxwell Shoyeju, Eoin McGrath.

St. Leonards: Dean Sin­nott; Cormac Kiely, Shane Cul­leton, Eoin Power; Evan Rus­sell, Liam Burke; Shane Ryan, Michael Mul­li­gan, Ciarán Ho­nan, A.J. Ben­nett; Alan O’Grady. Subs. (rolling) - Cian Swan, Brian Fo­ley, Keith Kelly, Conor Power.

Ref­eree: Ger Mor­ris.

Mikey Web­ster (6, left) slot­ting home the sec­ond of his three goals for Sham­rock Rovers. Shadragh On­wu­biko (Sham­rock Rovers) clos­ing down A.J. Ben­nett of St. Leonards. Ciarán Ho­nan (St. Leonards) gives Mikey Web­ster the slip.

The Sham­rock Rovers squad who have an Un­der-15 Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ance to look for­ward to in the com­ing weeks. Seán Fitz­patrick (Sham­rock Rovers) in a bat­tle for the ball with Eoin Power (St. Leonards).

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