Rovers go through
Goals from Murray and Phelan help secure final berth
WICKLOW ROVERS booked their place in the Jako Cup final after they found a way past a tough Ashford side on Saturday at Whitegates.
Ashford had all the early chances in the games as they looked to get an early goal.
Oisin Denver went close on the fourth minute as he ran onto a through ball into the box but his effort was blasted over the bar, Ashford again threatened the goal on the 6th minute with a low strike from inside the area from Luke Fitzpatrick but his shot was to tame for Rovers keeper Aaron Nolan.
The game was very evenly matched in the opening 15 minutes of the game after Rovers dealt with the early pressure from their opponents.
Both sides were playing counter-attacking football which meant it was only a matter of time before one side broke the deadlock.
It was the home side who opened the scoring on the 17th minute with a sweet strike from Aaron Murray.
Murray was played through by his teammate Charlie Phelan before taking a touch and blasting the ball past Ashford keeper Fionn Doyle.
Rovers had another great opportunity to double their lead on the 22nd minute when Tom Phelan picked out Charlie Phelan in the penalty area, Phelan took his shot on first time but unfortunately for the Wicklow attacker, he snatched at the shot and blasted over the bar. Another warning for the away side.
Rovers were in complete control after opening the scoring and began dominating possession but needed to be more clinical in front of goal, they had numerous of chances to put the game to bed late in the first half but just couldn’t find the back of the net despite their many efforts.
Ashford’s striker Tadhg Lovel and Adam Clack were working hard upfront to try and secure an equalising goal and went close on a couple of occasions but just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Tadhg went one on one with Rovers shot-stopper Aaron Nolan in the 51st minute after a mistake at the back by the Rovers defence let in the speedy attacker but Nolan was quick out off his line to clear the ball. This was a warning to the home side’s defence that the game was not over just yet.
Late in the second half, the Rovers men grabbed another goal to see out the game and secure their place in the final as Charlie Phelan fired home the second of the game.
Phelan took a long-range effort from outside the penalty area which the keeper couldn’t keep out the shot, substitute Ruairi Jenkinson made sure the ball went over the line as he headed the ball after it crossed the line, but Phelan will be claiming the goal as it was an excellent strike.
It was a tight affair with both sides using their speed on the counter-attack to create chances for their forwards but it was Wicklow Rovers who came out on top as they will be keeping an eye out for the other Jako Cup semi-final to see who they will face in the final. WICKLOW ROVERS: 1. Aaron Nolan, 2. Eoin McEvoy, 3. Cian Leonard, 4. Cormac Waldron, 5. Peter Dunne, 6. Tom Phelan, 7. Adam Byrne, 8. Jack Noble, 9. Aaron Murray, 10. Ben Bowen, 11. Charlie Phelan, 12. Ryan Mc Connell, 13. Harry Tobin-Kelly, 14. Ruairi Jenkinson.
ASHFORD: 1. Fionn Doyle, 2. Aran Cavanagh, 3. Karl Drummond, 4. Cian Ryan, 5. Adam Daly, 6. Glen Connolly, 7. Luke Fitzpatrick, 8. Sam Greene, 9. Adam Clack, 10. Tadhg Lovel, 14. Oisin Denver, 12. James Grant, 15. Allen Jose, 16. Sean Ryan. Referee: C. O’Reilly
Adam Clark fires a shot on goal during the Under-14 Premier Jako Cup semi-final.
Wicklow Rovers player Karl Drummond drives forward against Ashford Rovers.
Point blank save from ‘Rovers keeper Fionn Doyle.