North End shake off the shack­les

Sky Blues see off stub­born Rangers

Enniscorthy Guardian - - SPORT - DAVE DEV­EREUX


AN IM­PROVED sec­ond-half per­for­mance saw North End United shake off the shack­les to be­gin the new year with a well-de­served win against a stub­born Ross­lare Rangers out­fit in their Wex­ford Foot­ball League Premier Di­vi­sion clash in Hol­ly­grove on Sun­day.

The Sky Blues were re­liant on set-pieces as they took a 2-1 lead into the in­ter­val thanks to goals from Paul ‘Patsy’ Malone and Gary Dempsey, but they played with more free­dom af­ter the change of ends and Adam Beary and Kyle Dempsey added to their tally.

That said, Rangers were un­lucky not to add to Lee Dev­ereux’s first-half lev­eller them­selves and they brought plenty to an ab­sorb­ing con­test.

Both sides took a while to dust off the cob­webs af­ter the Christ­mas break, but Rangers were undone in the 16th minute when ‘Patsy’ Malone threw his head bravely at a Shane Dempsey near­post cor­ner and ex­pertly di­rected it past goal­keeper Steven Cog­ley.

Their cel­e­bra­tions were short­lived how­ever, with Lee Dev­ereux ad­just­ing his body well to meet a Mark Fur­long pass be­fore lift­ing a deft vol­ley over the head of Dy­lan Fur­long three min­utes later.

Dev­ereux then had a gilt-edged chance to fire the seasiders in front when he got his head to an Aaron Goff cor­ner, but he failed to get a firm con­nec­tion and the ball drifted harm­lessly wide.

Tena­cious tack­ler ‘Patsy’ Malone was of­ten in the thick of the ac­tion, and in the 22nd minute his cross was cleared to Shane Dempsey at the edge of the area, but the mid­fielder drilled his shot wide.

Mo­ments later Malone won a chal­lenge in typ­i­cally tiger­ish fash­ion and the ball again fell to Dempsey, with Cog­ley be­ing forced to tip his strike around the post.

The pair com­bined again in the 25th minute, with Malone meet­ing Dempsey’s in­swing­ing cor­ner with a header, but his ef­fort was cleared off the line as North End be­gan to crank up the pres­sure.

The hosts did get their noses back in front ten min­utes from the in­ter­val and again Shane Dempsey pro­vided the as­sist with a cor­ner.

His flag-kick found the un­marked Gary Dempsey and the ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paigner was never go­ing to miss, thump­ing a header past Cog­ley.

North End wanted to strike while the iron was hot, and two min­utes af­ter re­gain­ing the lead they al­most had their third.

Shane Dempsey showed great vi­sion to find the ram­pag­ing Craig McCabe on the left wing, and when the full-back pulled the ball back for the im­pres­sive Rhys Mur­phy, he dragged his shot wide of the tar­get.

An­other Dempsey cor­ner caused con­cern in the Rangers rear­guard just be­fore the half-time whis­tle when a de­fender sliced the ball goal­wards, but to the re­lief of the vis­i­tors it was cleared off the line, to leave them with a fight­ing chance for the sec­ond-half.

The cham­pi­ons clearly wanted to put the game to bed as quickly as pos­si­ble af­ter the change of ends and went for the jugu­lar, with Gary Dempsey cut­ting in­side and curl­ing an ef­fort to­wards the far post that was well clawed away by Cog­ley.

They didn’t have too long to wait though, with Shane Dempsey find­ing Adam Beary in the 57th minute and the striker ac­cepted the in­vi­ta­tion, con­fi­dently slid­ing the ball into the far cor­ner of the net.

To their credit, Ross­lare Rangers didn’t let their heads drop and Lee Dev­ereux twice threat­ened to give them a glim­mer of hope of an un­likely come­back.

In the 63rd minute he ran on to a pass from sub­sti­tute Cian Meyler but saw his ef­fort saved by Dy­lan Fur­long, and sec­onds later he went around the goal­keeper, but couldn’t squeeze his ef­fort in from an ex­tremely tight an­gle.

It was then game, set and match with 67 min­utes on the clock as Adam Beary teed up Kyle Dempsey, who waltzed past the goal­keeper and tapped the ball to the net.

Beary had an op­por­tu­nity to grab North End’s fifth with ten min­utes re­main­ing af­ter be­ing put through by sub­sti­tute Paul Mur­phy (Kil­more), but Cog­ley was smartly off his line to make the block.

North End United, who face Sham­rock Rovers in a clash of the heavy­weights on Sun­day, will be happy to make a win­ning start to 2019 de­spite hav­ing a lengthy in­jury list, while Ross­lare Rangers have plenty to be pos­i­tive about for the re­main­der of the cam­paign de­spite this de­feat.

Mean­while, North End have been handed a tasty in­cen­tive to get past Ayr­field United in the Leinster Se­nior Cup, with the win­ners fac­ing SSE Airtricity League of Ire­land side Long­ford Town. NORTH END UNITED: Dy­lan Fur­long, War­ren Broad­ers, Robin Dempsey, Gary De­laney (capt.), Craig McCabe, Rhys Mur­phy, Paul Malone, Shane Dempsey, Kyle Dempsey, Gary Dempsey, Adam Beary. Subs. - Paul Mur­phy (Kil­more) for S. Dempsey (70), Lee Wadding for Malone (75), Ciarán Carthy for Beary (80), Ay­man Yousif for Mur­phy (80).

ROSS­LARE RANGERS: Steven Cog­ley, Niall Walsh, Em­met Byrne, Gearóid Byrne (capt.), Conor O’Reilly, Mark Fur­long, Shane Pet­tit, Aaron Ke­hoe, Aaron Goff, Danny Fur­long, Lee Dev­ereux. Subs. - Barry Quirke for O’Reilly (42), Rob Cousins for Ke­hoe (HT), Cian Meyler for Pet­tit (53), Seán Ste­wart for G. Byrne (72), Ben Mor­ris for Fur­long (86).

REF­EREE: Sea­mus Kelly.

Danny Fur­long of Ross­lare Rangers is chal­lenged by Paul ‘Patsy’ Malone and Gary De­laney.

Gary Dempsey of North End United heads in his side’s sec­ond goal.

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