Deadly Dan’s the man

Lacey nets hat-trick as An­thony’s over­come Ark­low Town

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - PADDY HICKEY

MID­FIELDER Dan Lacey de­liv­ered a stun­ning hat-trick as St An­thony’s em­phat­i­cally put Ark­low Town to the sword in their Andy McEvoy Pre­mier Di­vi­sion One clash on Sun­day morn­ing.

On their home pitch, the Kil­coole out­fit, who were with­out six play­ers be­cause of GAA com­mit­ments, could hardly have got off to a more un­favourable start, Ark­low mid­fielder Andy Far­rell man­ag­ing the rare feat of scor­ing di­rect from a cor­ner with just 16 min­utes on the clock.

But within three min­utes, Lacey sta­blilised mat­ters for St An­thony’s when he found the net from 25 yards, and the No 7 sub­se­quently added to his tally in the sec­ond half, the lat­ter con­tri­bu­tion leav­ing the score­line read­ing 6-2.

In ad­di­tion to the hat-trick hero, his team­mates Pa­trick Woods, Kyle O’Reilly and Dar­ren Col­lopy got on the score­sheet for the vic­to­ri­ous side, while Richard Neary and sec­ond half sub Philip Eras­mus scored the other two goals for the vis­i­tors who had won their first two matches against Ark­low United and Ark­low Celtic.

The ini­tial stages of the con­test saw Ark­low fluff two scor­ing chances, de­fender Aaron Healy fir­ing over the bar from dis­tance on three min­utes, and mid­fielder Peter Walker driv­ing the ball wide of the right post nine min­utes later.

But then in bizarre cir­cum­stances, the south county side took the lead, the first cor­ner of the game re­sult­ing from home goal­keeper Rob­bie McNamee fail­ing to con­trol a back pass from Col­lopy with his foot and al­low­ing the ball to drift over the end line.

And from the dead ball on the left wing, and with the aid of a slight wind, Far­rell put the per­fect curve on his de­liv­ery, and ref­eree David Jame­son ruled that the ball had crossed the goal line be­fore left mid­fielder Kyle O’Reilly des­per­ately lashed it out­field.

But just three min­utes later, Lacey lev­elled mat­ters for St An­thony’s, his 25 yards shot prov­ing too good for Ark­low goal­keeper Gary Fen­nell to even get his hand on the ball.

Al­most im­me­di­ately, the vis­i­tors spurned an op­por­tu­nity to re­gain the lead when Far­rell blazed over the bar from a free 30 yards out.

How­ever, this was quickly fol­lowed by his fel­low No 6 Lor­can Kenna shoot­ing nar­rowly wide in the wake of a promis­ing St An­thony’s at­tack.

On 27 min­utes, Woods had a shot saved by the Ark­low ‘keeper, with Col­lopy clos­ing dan­ger­ously in, but two min­utes later the St An­thony’s No 9 made no mis­take from a con­sid­er­ably less favourable op­por­tu­nity.

Af­ter the ball broke loose about 35 yards out, Woods elected to shoot rather than try to find a team­mate, and he was tellingly re­warded when his splen­didly struck de­liv­ery sailed over the head of goal­keeper Fen­nell and into the roof of the net.

De­spite this set­back, Ark­low quickly hauled them­selves back into con­tention, Neary beat­ing goal­keeper McNamee af­ter he had been set up by a pass from Far­rell, on 37 min­utes.

But within two min­utes, the vis­it­ing bench were left frus­trated when striker Shane Roche latched on to the ball af­ter Far­rell had set up a scor­ing chance for him­self and seemed to be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to test the home goal­keeper who saved com­fort­ably from Roche.

Just be­fore half-time, Lacey and O’Reilly drove wide with de­cent ef­forts for St An­thony’s, leav­ing the sides tied 2-2 at the break, but with the home­sters hav­ing the ad­van­tage of the slight slope in the sec­ond half.

On the re­sump­tion, fol­low­ing a cross from Roche, Walker was nar­rowly wide with a glanc­ing header for Ark­low on 48 min­utes.

But five min­utes later, O’Reilly demon­strated out­stand­ing fin­ish­ing abil­ity for St An­thony’s when fol­low­ing a long cross­field ball which left the op­pos­ing de­fence ex­posed, the No 11 gave goal­keeper Fen­nell no chance with a strong left-footed de­liv­ery, from ap­prox­i­mately 25 yards.

Within three min­utes, a fruit­less cor­ner fol­lowed for the home side in the wake of a cross from Mark Pe­tracy and a headed ef­fort from Col­lopy be­ing de­flected wide of the Ark­low goal.

Al­most im­me­di­ately, the vis­it­ing side were re­duced to 10 men when right-back Niall Gar­vey was red-carded for pulling an op­po­nent’s jersey in­side the box.

How­ever, from the re­sul­tant penalty, and with an op­por­tu­nity to level the scores at 3-3, cor­ner-scorer Far­rell saw his well-struck his right-footed ef­fort bril­liantly saved by McNamee who ad­di­tion­ally pushed the ball away from the dan­ger zone.

Mid­way through the sec­ond half, St An­thony’s ex­tended their ad­van­tage when Col­lopy rose bril­liantly to head home at the near post a cross from Kenna, putting his side 4-2 up.

Sub­se­quently, Lacey went on to add to his scor­ing haul on 74 min­utes, af­ter a mazy in­di­vid­ual drib­ble, and on 81 min­utes, be­fore Ark­low had the fi­nal say with Eras­mus find­ing the net on 85 min­utes.

Af­ter­wards, St An­thony’s man­ager Wes Dempsey said: “We were slow to get into the game, but we set­tled down well af­ter they scored from the cor­ner.

“Still, at 2-2, I was a bit nervy at half-time, but thank­fully we im­proved in the sec­ond half and we put the game to bed by tak­ing most of our chances. And in­deed we had enough of the play to have scored an­other three or four goals.

“Of course, Dan Lacey did bril­liant with his hat-trick and Dar­ren Col­lopy held up the ball well and cause a lot of prob­lems in their box. As well, our team-work and gen­eral link-up play was very good to­day.”

Ark­low Town boss Niall Byrne said: “Not scor­ing from the penalty was a big blow for us, as that de­prived us of lev­el­ling at 3-3.

“But we don’t have any com­plaints about the re­sult, as on the day St An­thony’s were the bet­ter team and they fully de­served their vic­tory.”

ST AN­THONY’S: Rob­bie McNamee; Stephen Hunt, Em­met Kenna, Jake Mooney, Stafford Quaid, Lor­can Kenna, Dan Lacey, Mark Pe­tracy, Pa­trick Woods, Dar­ren Col­lopy, Kyle O’Reilly.Subs: Corey Latch­ford for Kenna (48), Sam Stafford for Col­lopy (82).

ARK­LOW TOWN: Gary Fen­nell; Niall Gar­vey, Jake Byrne, Aaron Healy, Sean Crow­ley, Andy Far­rell, Richard Neary, Peter Walker, Liam Moore, Shane Roche. Quintin O’Reilly. Subs: Jor­dan Viera for Byrne (52), Philip Eras­mus for Walker (56), Jack Ka­vanagh for Neary (64).

REF­EREE: David Jame­son.

Ark­low Town, who lost out to St An­thony’s.

St An­thony’s, who beat Ark­low Town in their Andy McEvoy Pre­mier Di­vi­sion match on Sun­day.

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