Rovers fall at final hurdle
Brave effort from Wicklow side
IT wasn’t to be for Wicklow Rovers in the Under-13 Lions Club All-Ireland Cup final as a first half Louis Malcomson goal was cancelled out by a second half onslaught at the hands of Tullamore Town.
The young Rovers side, who have already made claim to the DDSL Gerry Murphy Cup this season, got off to a blistering start at Dalymount Park, home of League of Ireland Premier side, Bohemian FC.
Oscar Malcomson managed to find space at the edge of the Tullamore penalty area, firing a shot towards goal.
Tullamore custodian Reuben Egan managed to stop the effort in its tracks, however, his parry fell into the path of Malcomson’s twin brother, Louis, who followed up to score his 11th goal of the season.
While Rovers managed to earn the breakthrough on the 17th minute mark, Rory Hennessy in the Wicklow goal turned out to be the busiest man on the pitch for the remainder of the half.
The shot-stopper prevented a Tullamore equaliser off the back of efforts from Ryan Kenny and Hubert Zakrzewski.
However, the Offaly side’s best opportunity to level came shortly before the half-time whistle.
Ryan Kenny’s powerful effort from range struck the Rovers woodwork in what was a heart in mouth moment.
Wicklow made it into the dressing room at half-time with a slender one-goal advantage, but it was in the second period when Tullamore Town’s attacking threat really came to the forefront.
It took them four minutes after the interval to level proceedings. Agbo Babatunde latched onto a long ball from Noah Flynn at the back. The number nine slotted the ball past Hennessy to break the Wicklow resistance.
In the 45th minute, Town added a second. Having been awarded a free-kick from 25 yards, Ryan Kenny blasted the ball into the roof of the net, giving Hennessy no chance of pulling off another save.
Tullamore were riding a massive wave of momentum, sealing the title with a decisive third goal.
Cian McConnell found space in the box before slotting the ball past Hennessy, into the bottom left corner of the Rovers goal.
Despite the defeat, Rovers remain pleased with their achievement of reaching an All-Ireland final. Manager Keith Earls expressed his disappointment with the result but believes the team will learn from it as they still chase down the league title.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the result, but the better team won on the day. They were the more physical team and they handled the occasion better than us. Rory Hennessy in goal was our man of the match,” said Earls.
“The lads did fantastic to reach an All-Ireland final, picking up some great results along the way. We can be proud of our first season in the DDSL. We have already won the Gerry Murphy Cup and now we need to push on for the league,” added Earls.
WICKLOW ROVERS: 1. Rory Hennessy,
2. Mikey Nolan, 3. Ross McCrea, 4. Sam Culleton, 5. Jack Noble, 6. Nick McAllister,
7. Louis Malcomson, 8. Darragh Heffernan, 9. Oscar Malcomson, 10. Alex Sinnot,
11. Jake Nally, 12. Sam Christie, 13. Keelin Darcy, 14. Stephen Gormley, 15. Evan Burke, 16. Lewis Stokes.
TULLAMORE TOWN: 1. Reuben Egan, 2. Keelyn Conroy, 3. Ricky Hanlon, 4. Noah Flynn, 5. Jack Daly, 6. Ryan Kenny, 7. Hubert Zakrzewski, 8. Jack Donegan, 9. Agbo Babatunde, 10. Conor Devane, 11. Cian Byrne, 12. Niall Furlong, 13. Shane Hensey , 14. Luke Guinan, 15. Francis Adebowale, 16. Cian McConnell.
Wicklow Rovers, ahead of their match against Tullamore Town.
Wicklow Rovers and Tullamore take to the field in Dalymount Park.