Coolboy edge out gallant Ashford
COOLBOY RANGERS won a tight evenly contested Under-15 Plate final against Ashford Rovers in Ballinalea Park last Sunday morning.
An unfortunate own goal halfway through the first period been the only score of the contest.
The opening stages were dominated by both defences with few real openings.
Coolboy’s Kyle Doyle had moments of trickery that ultimately led to nothing and Ashford’s Jake Cullen had a free drift over the bar.
Coolboy finally got the goal in the 18th minute.
Luke Wallace gathered the ball on the left wing and his cross through a plethora of bodies saw the keeper and defenders get in a tangle and the ball was unfortunately turned into his own net by an Ashford defender.
Two minutes later Doyle was in on the Ashford goal only for Rovers keeper Fionn Doyle to come off his line and block away bravely. Coolboy were in the ascendancy with Maurice Shiels heading a Wallace corner just wide before Wallace nodded a ball into Kyle Doyle’s path, the speedy attacker did everything right, but the ball went narrowly past the Rovers post.
Once more another Wallace corner saw consternation in the Ashford defence with the ball eventually falling into Shiel’s path and his bullet header was miraculously saved by Fionn Doyle before Ashford cleared the danger.
Coolboy were well on top but Ashford had chances against the run of play. Josh Nicholls clipped a beautiful ball into Ben Kelly’s path however the Rovers dangerman screwed his effort wide.
Most of the link up play went through Kelly who looked lively.
Coolboy centre-back MacDara O’Neill was snuffing out most of Rovers attacks through good positioning and bravery.
Coolboy’s next change came when Odhran Doyle mazy run through the Rovers saw his shot blocked away before Kyle Doyle has another effort just past the post.
Luke Fitzpatrick worked Coolboy keeper Louis Judge with the last shot of the half which the keeper parried away comfortably.
The second half started differently with Ashford shooting down the hill they were searching for the equaliser.
However, Coolboy were always a danger on the counter-attack.
The first chance fell to Cullen whose acrobatic scissor kick was straight at keeper Judge. Next attack Adam Kearns floated in a free that saw Nichols nod just wide. These two combined again moments later with Nicholls rasping shot blocked away by O’Neill.
O’Neill was really excellent in defence and for a big man he showed great composure playing ball out from the back.
A Fitzpatrick free saw Ashford centre-back David Butler boot an effort over. Coolboy were still dangerous with Shiels releasing winger Odhran Doyle down the wing and his ball across the sixyard box narrowly missing Wallace who made up massive ground in an effort to get there.
Coolboy’s Shane Byrne had a header well saved by Fionn Doyle again.
With 15 minutes to go, Fitzpatrick twice put Shane Synnott into space 25 yards out. The combative midfielders first effort sailed wide left his second was millimeters to the right of the goal. It just did not seem to be Rovers’ day.
With six minutes to go, Rovers finally got the chance they craved. Fitzpatrick once more combined with Synnott this time the midfielder spread wide to Kearns and the tricky left winger drew a penalty with a bit of trickery.
Fitzpatrick stood up to take but really staying in line with the rest of Ashford’s day the ace marksman put his effort over.
The last few minutes saw Coolboy have the best chance with Doyle blazing over under pressure.
An entertaining contest with good performers on both sides.
Best for Ashford were Fionn Doyle, Luke Fitzpatrick and Ben Cullen.
For the victors, Kyle Doyle and Luke Wallace were always dangerous. However, man of the match was MacDara O’Neill who was an insurmountable wall in defence. In the air or on the ground he was always there to repel the Ashford attacks.
Stephen O’Leary of Cobh Ramblers looks for a way around Hugh Douglas of Bray Wanderers.
A delighted Coolboy team celebrate after the match.
Ashford’s Evan Byrne and Callum Patterson from Coolboy battle for possession.