2011-12 Reports & Video
Sunday, September 4th
For fifteen minutes of this Division Two opening day fixture Enniscorthy United, without really unlocking the Ajax defence, looked to have the upper hand, bossing the midfield, and having the lions share of possession. Barry Byrne went closest to breaking the deadlock, a well struck long range effort forcing a tidy diving save from the Ajax keeper. On about the 20 minute mark, two errors put United in a huge hole. First up, Trevor Breen unfortunately turned the ball into his own net, in attempting to cut out a cross, giving goalkeeper Jim Troy no chance. Barely three minutes later, a poor challenge led to an Ajax penalty, and it was duly converted, making it 2-0 to our neighbours. United looked a little shaken for the remainder of the half, not really imposing their game on Ajax, and with a touch more composure, the visitors could have made them pay further, a couple of half chances on the break being squandered.
The half time break was a welcome one for the home side, and on the restart, they looked a much more driven, and energised outfit. Mick Rigley and Nigel Fortune came off the bench for Billy Millar and William O'Sullivan.
Immediately United were on the front foot, and began a period of pressure that was seeing the Ajax defence stretched for the first time in the game. Barely 5 minutes were gone in the half, when the game was back in the balance. Mick Rigley was clearly tripped on the edge of the box, and Darren Walsh stepped up to beautifully slot the free kick into the Ajax keepers right hand corner. Two minutes later, the game was level. Tony Kenny was unlucky to see his shot on the turn come back of the post, but was sharp, and brave enough, to put the rebound in with a header from about 4 yards.
As the rain came the game got a bit untidy, both sides looking for the win, but always with one eye on not throwing a point away. Trevor Breen made up for his own goal, with some great defending to block a dangerous Ajax attack, and with about 10 to go, Aidan Canavan was very unlucky to see his header hit the bar and go over. The game finished 2-2, probably a fair result overall, but both managers will feel they could have won it.
As with the A team, Enniscorthy United B made a slow, and what would prove a very costly start against Ballymurn Celtic this morning. With the game just fifteen minutes old, the home side were 3 goals up, and it was looking like a tough run out for The Blues. However, goals from Des Kenny, David Sullivan and James Sheridan gave United real hope, and but for a missed penalty , they could well have come away with a point. The slow start proved their downfall though, and Ballymurn ran out 5-3 winners.We'll have an in depth report of The B sides second outing next Sunday versus Camolin, were, if they start the game as they finished here, they could be in with a real shout of getting their first points on the board.
Sunday, September 11th
In very blustery conditions Shamrock Rovers adapted better and showed more energy and drive to run out 2-0 winners in this local derby. Playing with the wind in the first half, the hosts built a two goal lead and despite spending much of the second half defending, they restricted United to a couple of half chances. The first quarter of the game was fairly even as both sides struggled to get their game together. Then, on 25 minutes, Michael Dempsey capitalised on an error in midfield to get behind Utd's defence and beat Jim Troy. Rovers controlled the rest of the half and about 10 minutes before half time Derek Whelan powered home a header from a corner kick to double the advantage.
Utd did spend more of the second half on the front foot but will be dissappointed with how they passed the ball and the lack of energy and creativity. Rovers defended fairly comfortably to secure a second win and maximum points so far. Utd will look to bounce back, and get their season going, in their next outing.
In a strange game this morning in Camolin, the scoreline would lead you to believe Utd had taken quite a beating, and while it would be a stretch to argue that the better team lost, the facts of the game are that Utd had the lions share of possession and created enough clear cut chances to win two games. A combination of poor finishing, and a good performance by the Camolin goalkeeper let the more clinical, and opportunist home side, run out comfortable winners.
Utd began the game quite steadily, and on several occasions early, stretched Camolin out wide through David Sullivan and James Hutchison, dangerous final balls just lacking a finish. For 15 further minutes , the game descended into a scrappy midfield battle, neither side able to find the key ball to break down the defence. It took an unfortunate error to lead to Camolin's opening goal, a United defender standing on the ball, and allowing the Camolin centre forward a clear strike from close in. Brendan Kearney got a strong hand on the shot but from such close range, could not keep it out. It was a few minutes after Camolin's breakthrough, that the game really changed. Martin Farrell, looking very strong and in command at the back, pulled up sharply with a leg injury and had to be replaced, causing a major reshuffle in the Enniscorthy defence and midfield. Unquestionably, the terrible state of the Camolin pitch, did not help, for either the injury or opening goal.
Utd had no one to blame for the second however, getting caught pushing up for offside, and giving the Camolin forward a clean run through, where he made it 2-0. With Farrells injury, and a lack of numbers , halftime options for the managers were limited. Some re shuffling in the team left Eddie Ryan in a more isolated role up front, and dropping James Sheridan into a deeper midfield role. At times Utd, moved the ball well, especially down the left, and good chances were coming thick and fast, the Camolin keeper winning out in at least three one on ones, whilst some wayward shooting also allowed the home side maintain their gap.
With Utd pushing so hard, they were bound to give some chances on the break, and with 20 to go, the contest was ended, with Camolin's No9 netting their 3rd on a breakaway, and the scoring was complete late on from the penalty spot. To their credit, Utd kept pushing to the very end, creating another couple of chances before the final whistle, and can certainly feel hard done by to have nothing to show for their efforts.
Sunday, September 18th
In blustery , but dry and warm conditions this morning, Enniscorthy Utd A toughed out their first win of the season, against a very fit, and well organised Cloughbawn Celtic side.
Utd lined out in a 4-4-2 formation, Glen Fortune making his first appearance of the season on the left side of midfield. The opening phase of the game was bitty, with neither side able to assert enough control in midfield, get the ball down out of the wind , and create pressure. After about 15 minutes, Utd did begin to settle, Aidan Canavan and Dean Ryan breaking up play well, and starting to control the middle, enabling the forward pair of Darren Walsh and Mick Rigley the time to gather the ball, and move it about, and chances started to come. After some nice neat passing across the front of the Cloughbawn box Darren Walsh was played around the back, and his cut back was perfect for Aidan Canavan, who made an ok connection from about 12 yards out, just pulling the ball wide of the keepers right hand post.
Within minutes Mick Rigley was played through on goal, but his angle was narrow, and the keeper got out to him quickly, getting enough on the shot and keeping the game level. Utd were completely on top now, but the pressure was not telling until, on 26 minutes, Darren Walsh twisted and turned away from defender and goalkeeper and slotted home past the stranded defender on the line, for Utd’s opener, and his second of the season. United remained in control without really pushing on for the remainder of the half, and with about 3 minutes left to the break, where given due reminder of the tightness of the game. A through ball dragged Jim Troy from his goal, and whilst he did get something on the ball, it bounced out to a Cloughbawn forward, whose effort was on target but maybe lacking some power. John Whelan did very well to be in perfect position to head off the line, and Utd got to the break with their lead intact.
A bright second half start, saw Utd up the pressure and from a corner about 5 minutes in, Aidan Canavan challenged well in the air, and the ball travelled to the back post, where the unmarked Mick Rigley cleanly half volleyed into the roof of the net, the keeper getting a touch, but having no real chance of keeping it out. It was at this point of the game that Utd got a bit tentative, trying to maintain the lead, and secure the win, rather than pushing on and killing the game. Given the ball, Cloughbawn duly started to play, and for 10 minutes or so were in the ascendency, but without overly stretching the well organised Utd defence. Stephen McCormack and John Fielding came on for Darren Walsh and Glen Fortune.
After 66 minutes, a miscommunication, and with the defence pushing forward, Cloughbawn scored, and a sure result looked anything but certain again. Utd where not helping themselves, some poor ball possession and wrong decisions had them very much on the back foot, the midfield now tiring and stretched. Utd were getting deeper, but the defence were organised, and there were not too many scares. Mick Rigley was very unlucky not to kill the game after 75 minutes, showing great strength to hold the ball through a challenge, and regaining his feet to fire off the outside of the keepers right hand post.
The last minutes played out with Utd not exactly clinging on, but a little too deep for comfort, and the referee seemed to find Alex Ferguson’s watch, playing a lengthy amount of stoppage time. The final whistle brought a deserved win, that will hopefully see the team push on and find a good vein of form.
Man of the Match: John Whelan. Commanding at the back, especially in the air, and vocally led his team on through a difficult second half..
This morning, Utd's B team travelled to face a Coolgreaney side that had collected maximum points from their opening two games. Utd began the game brightly and a Billy Millar goal and a Des Kenny penalty put Utd 2 up inside half an hour. Coolgreaney did pull a goal back before half time as a the wind got hold of an attempted cross and it drifted in to the far corner of the Utd net. The second half was a tight affair and Coolgreaney may have thought they had snatched a point as they equalised on 87 minutes. However Utd came back again, and Billy Millar secured the win with virtually the last kick of the game. Brian Nolan, Noel Dwyer, Barry Byrne and Billy Millar led a strong overall team display as Utd got off the mark.
Sunday, September 25th
Leinster Junior Cup Rd 1
Utd produced their best peformance of the season to date in this LJC first round game. Gaining control early, United dominated from start to finish. From the outset Utd had a grip of the midfield area and were doing all the pressing. Billy Millar was causing problems down the left and went close with a cross shot and only last ditch defending denied a number of other chances. After half an hour Stephen McCormack had to go off with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Aidan Canavan, but Utd's rhythm was undisturbed. On 35 minutes, Utd went ahead, Mick Rigley, alert and quick onto a through ball, pushing his shot wide of the advancing keeper for the lead. Utd continued to press, and got just reward for their dominance in first half stoppage time. Glenn Fortune was the only player to react to Jim Troy’s long clearance, and similarly to the first goal, he slotted past the keeper into the top left hand corner of the net for his first of the season.
The start of the second half saw a confident Utd side really start to move the ball well. Ryan and Canavan were in control in the middle, but all the players seemed confident, and were showing well for the ball. The third goal duly came on 57 minutes, and was a well worked team goal. Some nice build up play got the ball out right to Mick Rigley, who played a lovely weighted ball in to the path of Glenn Fortune, and he calmly slotted home from around the penalty spot. Thereafter, Utd managed the game well, retaining control and staying really solid never giving Callan any hope of finding a way back into the game. Darren Walsh and Joe Kenny were introduced for Mick Rigley and Tony Kenny after an hour as Utd comfortably saw the game out.
Man of the Match: Glenn Fortune. Led the line well all game and took his two goals very calmly.
In the afternoon game, a dominant Enniscorthy Utd will be disappointed with 2 lost points at home, drawing 1-1 with Courtown Hibs. Chances aplenty were created, and the performance was generally tidy, but they will see this result as one that got away.
Kicking off in the considerably worsening weather did not affect Utd, who started the game on the front foot, looking to get the ball forward quickly, and get around the back of the Courtown defence. The Courtown keeper looked very shaky early on, and Utd will have wanted to test him often. In the driving rain, Utd were having much more of the ball, but were struggling to turn their superiority into really good chances, the final ball letting them down.
On 15 minutes, Martin Connors took the ball to feet in the Courtown box, and spinning right, got a yard on his marker. A combination of pulling, and then a lunged challenge brought him down, and the referee immediately awarded a penalty. Dessie Kenny, for the 2nd week in a row stepped forward, and coolly slotted the ball into the keeper’s left hand corner. 1 nil being just reward for Utd’s utter territorial dominance. 5 minutes later, and Utd had a great chance to double their lead. The ball was driven into the Courtown box, and somewhat fortuitously, the referee pointed again to the spot. To be fair, from my viewpoint, it was hard to see, so maybe there is some validity in the award, but if it was against you, you could certainly feel hard done by. Up again stepped Dessie Kenny, this time striking to the keepers’ right. The ball was cleanly hit, but caught too much of the inside of the right post, and came back into play, before being cleared. Utd got to the break justly ahead, but maybe feeling it should be more, Courtown having offered very little in the game.
The first 15 of the second half saw neither side get a real grip on the game, the ball caught up for periods in a midfield battle. Gradually, Utd again started to get a grip, getting the ball wide to the introduced James Mythen on the right, and James Hutchison on the left. Several chances were spurned, the best of which fell to Andre D’Oliveira, who just couldn’t turn in the rebound, after James Hutchison’s free kick was spilled by the keeper. With what was a very rare foray into the Enniscorthy half, Courtown earned a corner, and from this, they equalized, the ball pinging about before going in off a Utd player. 1-1 with 20 left, and Utd were starting to rue their missed chances. To their credit, Utd pushed hard for the winner, Noel Dwyer going close from a header, and Dessie Kennys' driven cross/ shot was just begging for a touch, but in the end, the point earned was scarce reward for a game they controlled for long periods.
As with the morning game, the defence were very solid, and untroubled as a unit, and the midfield worked hard. Unbeaten in two for the B team, and certainly, playing as they did, that run will hopefully continue.
Man of the Match: Mark Morrissey. Solid all game at left back, and even ventured forward a couple of times, going close with a shot from distance.
Sunday, October 2nd
Utd produced a strong, solid display this morning to record their third victory, and second clean sheet, in a row. A strong start saw Utd take the lead after three minutes through Barry Byrne's near post header from a corner. Utd continued to dominate and Billy Millar, Glen Fortune, Mick Rigley and Aidan Canavan could all have increased the lead as chances were carved out. Corach were relying on long throws and a couple of corners to mount any sort of threat but in the middle of the half Utd conceded a string of free kicks, and Jim Troy had to make a sharp save as Utd pushed out looking for an offside from a dead ball.
The second half saw Utd remain on the front foot for large parts. Aidan Canavan and Dean Ryan competed well in the central areas and Billy Millar and Tony Kenny provided real outlets wide. A further couple of chances came and went until with about 25 to go, Billy Millar was fouled in the box and after a delay, Tony Kenny sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot. The 73rd minute saw the introduction of Darren Walsh and Joe Kenny and a slight change in shape as the front two of Mick Rigley and Glen Fortune were withdrawn. Corach did not really threaten and Utd saw out the remainder of the game untroubled with the back four of William O'Sullivan, John Whelan, Barry Byrne and Pa Kearney providing a solid barrier.
Man of the Match: Pa Kearney. Moved from centre to left back, never put a foot wrong.
Utd's B team were much more dominant than the scoreline suggests in winning their game. Utd created a hatful of chances but had to wait until 15 minutes from time when Des Kenny played a captain's part in heading home the winner from yet another dangerous Hasane Smyth corner.
Utd had dominated from the start with James Sheridan, Hasane Smyth and Des Kenny driving the team forward. The front two of Martin Connors and Pa Carty linked up play well and Utd played some really good football but just lacked a finishing touch. Curracloe where hardly in the game as Martin Farell and Robert Vardy controlled the defensive line. Brendan Kearney had only one save to make, getting down well to keep out a deflected long range effort.
The second half followed the same pattern, and to their credit, Utd kept trying to play the right way. Barry Nolan, Mark Fortune and David Sulivan all came on as chances continued to be created and missed. Utd's dominance was finally rewarded when they got their much deserved lead on 75 minutes. As with the A team, Utd saw the game out comfortably to get a fully deserved win.
Man of the Match: Des Kenny. Solid defensively, a constant threat going forward, never stopped running, and got the all important goal for his team.
Sunday, October 9th
Utd went to St.Josephs this morning and while not being at their best, came away with a hard earned point. Both teams had identical records before the game and sat in 3rd and 5th places respectively, with St.Josephs having a better goal difference.
The first half of the game saw Utd struggle to get their game together and St.Josephs looked sharper and were definitely in the ascendancy. However, despite their possession, they rarely looked like scoring and their best chance came as a result of some poor communication defensively that saw St.Josephs fail to capitalise on a two on one break. Utd hadn't found any rhythm with their passing at this point and the game looked to be heading to half time goalless.
Then, in the 42nd minute, from a situation that should have been dealt with, Utd conceded a penalty when Barry Byrne was adjudged to have fouled St.Joseph's centre forward. Jim Troy got a hand to the spot kick, but could not prevent it finding the net. The award may have been on the soft side, but the problem should not have occurred.
Utd upped their level after the break and while still not passing the ball as well as they can, were much sharper and more aggressive in the tackle, and took control of the game. St.Josephs found themselves being pushed back and only a goal line clearance prevented Nigel Fortune from equalising. Another couple of goalmouth scrambles were survived before, in the 58th minute, Mick Rigley got himself some space behind the back four and fired past the keeper from 15 yards to level the game.
Utd continued to dominate, and a couple of further goal line clearances prevented them going ahead in the last 20 minutes. Dean Ryan also went close for Utd. In the last quarter, Des Kenny and Barry Nolan replaced Nigel Fortune and Mick Rigley. St.Josephs had done little in the half but fashioned a half chance that was put over the bar, before Glen Fortune brought a decent save from St.Joseph's keeper with an effort from the edge of the box. The last action of the game saw a St.Josephs header from a free kick go harmlessly wide before the referee ended the contest. While Utd would have liked to play better in possession, the team battled well in the second half, may well have won the game, and restricted what were the leagues' leading scorers to only a couple of chances in the game.
Man of the Match: Barry Byrne. Perhaps unfortunate with the penalty, had a strong game in the centre of Utd's back four.
Utd's B team kept their good form going with a fine win against the division favourites Campile Utd this morning at Neil O'Sullivan Park. The B team have taken 10 points from the last four games and are climbing towards the top end of the table after a slow start. This morning, they showed great character to twice come from behind against the league leaders before finding the winner in the last few minutes.
Utd found themselves behind after only two minutes and even though James Sheridan levelled, Campile had edged back in front at the break. However, a strong second half from Utd saw them level through Martin Farrell's penalty before David Sullivan popped up with the winner 3 minutes from time.
A great result, and hopefully the team will continue it's good run in the coming weeks.
Sunday, October 16th
It took only 4 minutes for Utd to grab this mornings game by the throat, and they pushed on extremely well, displaying some ruthlessness in seeing of the game quickly, in what was clearly their best 45 of the season so far.
Right from kick off, Utd got the ball moving around well, just failing to connect with final passes, but stretching Cushinstown. On 4 minutes, Tony Kenny got away down the right , and from just inside the byline, pulled a great cross to the far post, where Glen Fortune met it powerfully to head back across goal into the corner. Further half chances were being created, and Dean Ryan went close from distance. Utd's movement in midfield and up front was giving Cushinstown problems, and on 20 minutes, they doubled their lead,a Mick Rigley cross, again from the right, and again Glen fortune was up highest, looping a header into the same corner, for his and Utd's second.
Utd began to play with a real confidence, and on 33 minutes, this was highlighted with the best goal of the game. Pa Kearney won the ball decisively at the back, and moved it forward quickly. In the challenge the ball broke to Glen Fortune who drove at the defence. He played the ball to Barry Nolan, pulling right who beautifully back heeled into the area for Mick Rigley to clinically drive home low and hard.
A fourth came just before half time, after John Whelan was felled in the box, following a scramble from a corner, and Tony Kenny rolled the ball in from the spot. All 4 Utd goals in the same corner of the net!!
The second half seemed poor in comparison to the excellence of the first 45, but Cushinstown seemed determined to give a better account of themselves, and Utd clearly did not want to let them have a sniff of a comeback. For 25 minutes, play was broken, but Jim Troy had not a save to make in that period, Utd looking really solid across the field. The players clearly wanted to take hold of the game, and the last 20 could have brought a few more goals, the ball bouncing around Cushinstown's box a couple of times from corners, and Utd again on the front foot, creating chances.
No further goals were added, the game finishing 4-0.Not a bad display to be found in a very good workout for the A team,before next weeks visit to Stoney Rovers.
Man of the Match: Tony Kenny. Excellent, especially in the first half, dangerous out wide and made great use of possession. Involved in all the goals, displayed usual calmness to slot home his penalty. Sacrificed some width second half to benefit team shape..
Leinster Junior Shield, Rd 1
5 changes were made to Utd's B team line up from last weeks huge win over Campile, a sign not of disregard for the Shield, but of the growing strength in depth and availability of players for selection for the B team. In the end, Utd were comprehensively beaten, but for 55 minutes the game was on an edge, the first goal seemingly would be the decider.
Utd did most of the pressing in the first half, Des Kenny and Mark Fortune working well in the middle, and James Mythen and James Sheridan having the better of the midfield. However, for all their possession, there were not many chances created. Killenagh's goalkeeper misjudging a routine ball was as close as we came to a goal in the first 20.
About half an hour in, Eddie Ryan was slipped in down the right side of the box, and he did well to swivel and shoot from a tight angle, the Killenagh keeper getting a very small, but important touch, to divert it onto the bar. Utd would have been the happier side at the break, having done most of the pressing, but 0-0 was probably about fair.
Killenagh started the second half with more purpose, and without creating any chances, had the better of the first ten of the second half. From a routine throw out, a defender was stripped of the ball, and Killenagh broke in on Brendan Kearney, and took the lead on 65. Within a minute, they were 2-0 up, and Utd were in a hole.
As they have done all season, Utd kept trying, and did again gain the better of possession, creating a couple of chances, the best of which,the keeper saved from Eddie Ryan from 12 yards out. Des Kenny and James Sheridan were very vocal in pushing their team on,working hard for a route back into the game. However, with Utd pushing, chances were coming for Killenagh, Brendan Kearney making some fine saves. Eventually, a third came, a long straight ball not being cleared and Killenagh were on it and 3 nil up. Brendan could do nothing with a 4th into the top corner in the final minute, and the game was blown up at 4 nil.
One competition down, but if the early goal had come, the shape of this game could have been different. As it was, Killenagh ran out worthy winners and Utd must put it aside and look forward to correcting things, and putting in a better performance, next week back in the league.
Man of the Match: Brendan Kearney. Handling was very solid, and made some fine saves, could do very little with the goals.
Sunday, October 23rd
Utd came through a tough, and at times bruising, game at Stoney Rovers this morning to claim 3 hard earned points. With Barry Byrne injured and Mick Rigley unavailable, Nigel Fortune and Billy Millar came into the side that had beaten Cushinstown last weekend.
As in that game Utd started very well, moving the ball neatly and gaining control of the game, putting the home team on the back foot. Their pressure was rewarded on 10 minutes when Billy Millar was fouled in the area and Tony Kenny calmly slotted home the penalty to put Utd 1 up. Utd continued to press, and after 20 minutes doubled their lead as Billy Millar slotted home a rebound after his initial effort had been saved. 2 nil up after twenty minutes and playing well, Utd began to surrender possession too cheaply and conceding some needless free kicks, giving Stoney a chance to gain a foothold in the game.
As half time approached, Stoney, despite having the lions share of possession in the last 20 minutes of the half, had still to force a save from Jim Troy in the Utd goal. However, from another free kick just on half time, Utd conceded a penalty as Jim Troy fouled a Stoney player attempting to re-claim the initial cross. Jim may have been fortunate not to have been carded. The penalty was duly converted to leave the half time score at 2-1.
As the weather and the pitch got worse, the first 15 minutes of the second half saw the home team try to physically force their way back into the game. At times the tackling, particularly on Billy Millar, was reckless and Stoney may consider themselves lucky to have kept 11 on the pitch. especially their goalkeeper who rugby tackled Billy Millar yards outside his box as the striker chased a through ball. The game was tight but Utd kept their discipline and, just before the hour mark, Billy Millar scored a fine individual goal to restore Utd's two goal cushion.
Immediately, Stoney sent their centre halves forward and began to pump long balls into Utd's area. Utd's back four stayed strong and with 25 to go were supplemented by the arrival of Joe Kenny and Stephen McCormack for Aidan Canavan and Barry Nolan. Utd changed their shape slightly and concentrated on seeing out Stoney's arial bombardment. Apart from a fine Jim Troy save from a free kick, the keeper was untroubled as Utd protected their lead well, John Whelan and Pa Kearney to the fore, and looked to be heading for a 3-1 win. Then, with 5 minutes to go, Stoney were given another lifeline. From a dubious corner, the ball broke in Utd's area and was fired into the top left hand corner to give the home side hope.
Less than a minute later, a Utd clearance was charged down and the ball was driven across the face of goal with no one to take advantage. That was the last alarm for Utd who played out the remaining few minutes in Stoney's half, drawing free kicks and forcing the home team back. A really tough game ending in a deserved win for the away side.
Man of the Match: Billy Millar. Drew the foul for the penalty and scored twice himself. Worked tirelessly for his team and got better and better as the game wore on. Took some heavy tackles but kept going and led the line brilliantly.
For large parts of this mornings encounter Utd were very good, touching on excellent. For three separate instances they were not, and for those three reasons, they left Shamrock Rovers with an infuriating 3-2 defeat, when even a draw would have been a disappointing return for their efforts.
Utd fielded a strong side, with Martin Farrell back in defence, Darren Walsh taking his place in midfield, and Martin O'Connor and Pa Carty leading the line up front. With the rain strengthening both sides started tentatively, feeling their way into the game. On 6 minutes, what appeared nothing but a hopeful ball forward, turned into real danger , as Rovers David Kearney bore down on goal. Brendan Kearney advanced on the ball, and both players missed it, but the Rovers man was first to react, and slotted into the empty net.
A bad start, and what was already a difficult fixture, was now a huge challenge, but Utd remained composed, and settled into the game. They were pressing Rovers high up, and with Mark Morrissey breaking up play, James Sheridan and Darren Walsh started to get on the ball, and dictate the game, and chances started to come. Darren Walsh put a great low ball across the box, that just eluded the forwards, and then Martin O'Connor was put through, but may have hurried his shot when he had some time, and lifted over. Utd did not panic, and maintained great pressure forcing a series of corners, and having some dangerous shots deflect just wide of goal. From one such corner on 20 minutes,the ball found it's way to Des Kenny on the right of the box. He skipped past his man and stood a great ball up toward the back post, where Martin O'Connor bravely dived in, took a bang, but brought his side level.
It was now all Utd, and on 32 minutes, they deservedly went ahead. Again, Martin O'Connor was strong from a throw in, and his header was nicely into the path of the onrushing Pa Carty, who touched for control, and drove home from the edge of the box, sparking our first candidate for celebration of the season, with Pa's shirt coming off, and Pa then receiving a booking. Utd got to the break with no scares, and 2-1 ahead, just reward for their dominance.
The first 20 of the second half was more of the same, with Utd having no trouble containing Rovers, but not as much of a threat ahead of the ball, with both forwards tiring. On 66 minutes, we were level again, Rovers breaking through the middle and despite Brendan Kearney saving the first effort well, the rebound bounced nicely for Rovers, and the ball was turned past Des Kenny on the line and in. Utd made two changes, with Mick Walsh and James Mythen coming on for Pa Carty and Martin O'Connor, and they lifted themselves and pushed for the winner, looking the much more likely side. With time running down, two great chances were created. A lovely touch from David O'Sullivan put Mick Walsh through, but he shot wide from 10 yards and then some brilliant work from Des Kenny down the right wing saw him send a great low ball across the six yard box, and this time, Mick Walsh's shot came unluckily back off the post.
Utd would rue those missed chances when, just at the beginning of stoppage time, Rovers again broke out, and again getting the bounce of the ball, stole the points. Deep frustration for Utd, who will feel that for all their good work, they let a real chance to make a big statement slip through their fingers. They'll have a great chance to put it right though, when Adamstown visit next week.
Man of the Match: Des Kenny. Led the team brilliantly, becoming more vocal, and encouraging his team well. A constant threat down the right, created the first goal, and very nearly what would have been the winner. Solid at the back, unlucky not to get a block on the second...
Sunday, October 30th
Utd will have mixed feelings about this mornings 2-2 draw with cross town rivals Enniscorthy Town. The downside was that the side never really got playing, no quality shining through, and despite leading twice, the result was probably a fair one. The upside is that on a day when they never hit their stride, they maintained their run of unbeaten games, and will travel to Taghmon next week expecting better.
In good conditions, but with a slippery top surface, neither side developed a pattern in the opening ten, Enniscorthy Town doing more pressing, and winning a succession of corners, but the home side dealt quite well with the aerial threat. With their first spell on top, Utd took the lead. Billy Millar was fouled from a throw in, by Joe Rigley, and from Glen Fortune's dangerous free kick, Barry Nolan challenged, and the ball deflected in off a town defender. 1 nil after 16 minutes.
Utd could not get a hold on the game, and without threatening unduly, Enniscorthy Town continued to push forward. From a free kick about 25 yards out, Jim Troy had to be at his best, diving full length to his left to turn away a well struck effort. Utd did not heed the warning, and on 26 minutes , Town were level, their man being given way too much time and space to cut in from the right wing, and drive past Jim Troy, the ball taking a weird bounce, before settling into the bottom corner. The first half played out in tense fashion, Utd slightly on top, lots of effort, and not a lot of real quality football on show. They had one great chance on 37 minutes Billy Millar and Glen Fortune combining well down the left, and from a really good ball across, neither Tony Kenny or Barry Nolan could get a foot on the ball to turn it in.
Utd started the second half unchanged, and 6 minutes after the break, were in front again. Barry Nolan getting on the ball out wide right, and his cross/shot deceived the Town keeper, to drift over his head into the net. Utd pushed, looking for the killer goal, and got around the back of the Town defence, Billy Millar's cross just too high for Barry Nolan. As with the first half, Utd could not hold their lead for long. Willie Sullivan did well to track back and give away a corner, but from the resulting set piece, Utd's marking was loose, and the ball was turned in, possibly another own goal in the game.
Still half an hour to play, and the game for the winning for either side, Utd finally started to push, having the only really dominant spell in the game for about 20 minutes.They started to move the ball better, and stretch out the Town defence, the final ball just lacking, or good defending just keeping Utd at bay. Billy Millar had a chance, just not getting enough control on the ball from Barry Nolans cross and it looped over the bar. Mick Rigley, who had come on for the tiring Billy Millar, was played in by Glen Fortune on the right, Towns keeper getting a leg out to save them. Utd came again, and had one final good chance, John Whelan rising well and getting a solid header, just steering it over from 8 yards.
The game played out to a draw, both sides will take the point, and regroup for next week.
Man of the Match: Willie O'Sullivan. Excellent at right back, covered well across the back four, and gave Enniscorthy Town no joy down his wing.
For 80 minutes this afternoon, it looked like being another frustrating day for Utd's B team. Again they were playing well, doing all the pushing, but were behind to another odd goal, and time was running short. but two goals, from Hasane Smyth and Dessie Kenny, turned the game, and possibly their luck, and they'll go to Ballagh in good spirits next week. Utd started with Barry Byrne in the back four, and Darren Walsh playing up front in place of the injured Martin O'Connor . From the off, Utd looked to move the ball about quickly , stringing some nice moves together, but just breaking down in the final third, some long range efforts not unduly troubling the Adamstown keeper.
On the half hour mark, Utd went behind. They had a couple of chances to clear the ball, and did not get it away. Adamstown got a man to the byline and he crossed deeply, where the ball was turned tamely back on goal, but it took a series of bobbles and ricochets, before finally going in off Mark Morrissey's shin. As has been the case all season, Utd rolled up their sleeves and went back at Adamstown, and finished the half the better side. Darren Walsh and Pa Carty were starting to pull defenders about, and create gaps, Carty being very harshly judged offside when clean through, and Utd went in at half-time 1 down.
From the start of the second half, Adamstown seemed content to sit on their lead, and offered very little, their infrequent attacks being comfortably dealt with by Utd's back four. Utd were seeing all the ball, and pushing hard for parity. Brian Nolan went close with a curling shot from 20 yards, and Utd earned a succession of corners, but delivery was continually poor, not getting by the first man, and frustration started to show, a lot of good play,and no end product, or luck being a familiar pattern over the last few weeks. Hasane Smyth and James Hutchison were introduced for Noel Dywer and David O'Sullivan, both injecting some fresh energy at the right time for the team.
In the 81st minute, Utd 's luck finally changed. They were awarded a direct free kick fairly central. Although Darren Walsh hit the target, it looked comfortable for the keeper but he spilled it. James Hutchison got on the ball, and backheeled for Pa Carty, who scuffed a shot to the feet of Hasane Smyth 3 yards out, and his shot went in off the keepers chest, and we were level. Possibly the ugliest goal this season, a thing of beauty for Utd 's players...
Shane "Radar" Murphy came on for the last 7 for Pa Carty, with Utd pushing for the winner. From a corner with about 4 to go, Barry Byrne rose highest, his header just going the wrong side of the post, and possibly the three points, but Utd came again, Darren Walsh was released down the left channel, and he held off a defender well, before sliding a pass inside to Radar, whose low shot was palmed out by the Adamstown keeper, right to Dessie Kenny who drove into the empty net to put Utd ahead.
Adamstown had little time to do anything meaningful, and Utd held on for a very deseved, and welcome three points.
Man of the Match: Barry Byrne. Commanding at the centre of a more organised back four, went close to a winner with a header from a corner.
Sunday, November 6th
It would seem unfair to be disappointed in a team, who today stretched their unbeaten run to 8 games in all competitions, but this mornings draw at Taghmon was a poor Utd performance.Never lacking for effort, there was however a distinct lack of energy in the side from the off. This, combined with too many players playing below their best, made it a tough day for Utd, who will feel they left 2 points behind here, but on another day, might have gotten none.
The conditions were perfect at kickoff, the only minor problem being a low winter sun, and the pitch was not nearly as bad as had been expected. Utd lined out with a couple of changes, Billy Millar out injured, and Aidan Canavan given a breather, as Barry Byrne and Stephen McCormack came into the side. Utd started ok, looking to move the ball sharply, and had the ball in the net after 6 minutes,Tony Kenny being ruled offside. The video suggests this was a very tight call.
After 10, Taghmon started to gain a foothold, having some success with their direct, long balls, the sun being very difficult for the two central defenders. From one such straight ball, Taghmon got away, but the finish was rushed, and Utd remained level. This warning was not well heeded however, and on 15 minutes, from a similar long ball down the left line of the box, Taghmon got behind our defence again. This time the wide man put a good ball across, and the Taghmon centre forward was alone at the back post to slot home. The goal awoke Utd, who took a grip on possession, and looked to quickly get back on terms. Pressure was applied, but Utd were breaking down easily, balls slipping astray, control just not at it's sharpest.
The equalizer came a bit out of nothing on 32 minutes, Tony Kenny cutting in from the left, and swinging a ball into the area for Glenn Fortune. Taghmon had a defender there, but the keeper also came, and the three challenged for the ball, with it squeezing off the defenders head and in, for Utd's leveller. The last 15 of the half would be Utd's best passage of the game, when they got the ball down, and were moving it quickly and accurately, immediately stretching Taghmon, but they could not get ahead, and at the break, the sides were level 1-1..
The expected push from Utd in the second half did not really come, their play again reverting to the slightly sloppy passing and control of the first half. Of the few chances created in the second half, the better fell to Taghmon, who got around the back down their right a couple of times, and with better composure, or better quality final ball, might have made Utd pay. One scramble, from an initial offside position, saw the ball squeeze away from Jim Troy, and Taghmon briefly had an open net, but John Whelan got back well, and cleared. Utd were mainly feeding on free kicks, not unduly stretching the defence. From one of these, Tony Kenny rose well, but his header was just too high, and slipped over the bar. Taghmon did have the ball in the net in the 88th minute, but the referee blew quickly to rule it out for offside.
A 1-1 finish then, not great, but certainly not the end of the world. It is a long season, and this is just one of many games. The A team get a welcome breather from league play next week, when Meath's Castle Villa visit for the Leinster Junior Cup Rd 3 tie. The A team can see it as an opportunity to rediscover confidence, and the really good form they've shown in the most part this season, without the pressure of chasing points. A small tweak is all that's needed, or even just a lucky bounce, and things will be very much back on track.
Man of the Match: Pa Kearney. Left back, right back, centre half? It doesn't matter much to Pa. He just plays, and generally plays very well. Solid as ever...
Utd's B team built on their recent good form with a solid victory at Ballagh this morning. Utd sent a strong squad and used it to the full to take another 3 points and continue to push themselves into the promotion frame.
First half goals from James Hutchison and captain Des Kenny put Utd in control against the divisions' bottom side. The second half saw Utd stretch away from their opponents and record a comfortable victory. A Martin Farrell penalty and a goal from Trevor Breen - making his return after a long injury lay-off - made the points safe, before sub Andre Oliviera added a further two goals to help Utd record their biggest win of the season and remain right in touch with the promotion chasers in the division.
Sunday, November 13th
Leinster Junior Cup Rd 3
Utd kicked off the afternoons fixture on a badly cut up surface, looking to re-establish belief in their own game, and find some fluidity that had eluded them in the last two starts. By games end, in large part, they had achieved their goals. The pitch did not allow for any free flowing football, but against a very able Castle Villa side, Utd rolled their sleeves up, competed well, and by the end of the game, battles won, they were clearly the stronger outfit. A little composure might have brought them a second, and game killing goal.
From the off, both teams had clear intention to keep the ball down and play, despite the surface, but both teams looked orderly at the back, and space was at a real premium. From about 15 minutes, Castle Villa started to gain slight ascendancy, looking to play through their central midfield and release the attackers behind Utd 's defence. But the back 4 were well marshalled by John Whelan, and held reasonably comfortably, Jim Troy in goal not having a save of note to make. Up front for Utd, the fit again Billy Millar led the line well, holding the ball through some robust challenges, and pulling wide at every opportunity.He linked well with Tony Kenny down the right, but the cross was just too high.
On 38 minutes the breakthrough came. From a long Jim Troy kick, the Castle Villa defender let the ball bounce, and Billy Millar got in ahead of him. The defenders challenge was clumsy, and a penalty was awarded.Tony Kenny stepped up, and slid the ball comfortably to the keepers left, for a one nil lead , which Utd easily protected to the half time break.
The second half saw the game open up for Utd, who were cutting the supply of ball to the Villa playmakers, but also exploiting room left as Villa looked for a way back in. Glenn Fortune and Billy Millar combined down the left on numerous occasions, and Utd looked dangerous,but some good defending, or the wrong ball killed several promising opportunities, and the Villa keeper was in good command of his area, dealing well with some dangerous balls in and around his goal.
On 70 minutes, Stephen McCormack was sent off for a second yellow card, a challenge just mistimed, but enough for the referee to show him red. Utd tucked into a 4-4-1, and looked to play out the game. This went reasonably well, Villa been restricted to long balls, hoping for a break, and from one lucky bounce, Jim Troy was brought into action, saving well low to his right, and up quickly to clear the danger. With 2 to go, the game ignited, Dean Ryan on for Aidan Canavan had the ball on a break, and the Villa keeper came a long way out to challenge, which seemed strong, but quite fair. Both players seemed to poke at each other on the ground,but when they got up, Villas' number 6 came from a good 15 yards to shove him to the ground. All players rushed in, Glenn Fortune and Barry Byrne very prominent in defence of Utd's players, and the Villa goalkeeper also in the thick of it. The referee took a while to get a handle on it, and sent off both prominent Villa players, and Glenn Fortune. 9 a side for the last 2.
Utd held firm, no real threat arising, to see off a dangerous side, in a very competitive, and overall far from dirty game. A good win, and Utd will have an interest in the Rd 4 draw, but all attentions turn back to a huge league fixture at home to Shamrock Rovers next week.
Man of the Match: Barry Byrne. In a collectively excellent defensive display, Barry Byrne just edges his defensive partner John Whelan. Superb all game in the air, looked strong and assured on the ground also, and back to his best after an ankle knock.
The B team kicked off this mornings fixture knowing a win would keep them very much in the hunt in their division, and whilst defeat is not nearly terminal, it is a step back for a side that had been going very much forward. The game kicked off in perfect conditions, dry and sunny, with Utd fielding a strong side. Jim Troy, in the first part of a long shift, was standing in for the injured Brendan Kearney in goal.
After a fairly innocuous opening, Utd were unfortunate to go behind in the 9th minute, a low shot just escaping Jim Troy's grasp, and crawling into the corner, and as has been the case too often this season, Utd would have to chase the game from a self inflicted defecit.
Utd did push on and in a short space of time were unlucky to see the ball come back off the bar twice. The first, a well struck free kick from Shane Murphy, beat the keeper all the way, but struck solidly and went behind. The second, again from a free kick, this time from Darren Walsh was well turned onto the bar by the Ballindaggin keeper, who unfortunately, damaged his collarbone in the incident, and had to be replaced shortly after. Utd huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half, but never looked like blowing the Ballindaggin house in, and with the whistle, they went in one down.
The second half , unfortunately brought more of the same, Utd were doing the bulk of the pressing, Ballindaggin, confident in their big defenders ability to keep their lead.Utd made three changes early in the second half, but chances were very limited , long shots and free kicks being the order of the day. In injury time, Utd finally had the ball in the net, Marin O'Connor nicely sliding home after receiving the ball eight yards out from yet another free kick, but the referee blew , very controversially, to disallow the goal for offside, and extinguish Utd hopes, and from the free kick, he blew time, and a 1-0 defeat.
The games don't get easier, and Utd will again be home next week to face Camolin Celtic, with a chance to redress the balance on an early season 4-0 defeat.
Man of the Match: Joe Kenny. Worked tirelessly throughout, and showed good bite when moved inside, breaking up Ballindaggin, and giving his team ample possession.
Sunday, November 20th
Utd saw their 9 game unbeaten run end this morning in a very tight, and competitive game in Neil O'Sullivan Park. That the defeat was inflicted by the same Shamrock Rovers side who were the last team to beat them, would indicate, that while the gap may be minute, there is still a gap, and Utd have a stride or two to make to bridge it, and look to the very top of the table. They are good enough, but at some point they need to believe it, and push on and win games of this nature.
In unseasonal sunshine, Utd made the much brighter start, and had three good chances in the first 7 minutes. Tony Kenny got up well, and alone to a Dean Ryan corner, but his header, whilst well directed just lacked enough power, and Richie Miller got down well to save. Just a minute later, Billy Millar stripped the Rovers full back and bore down on goal, but Miller got out sharply, and blocked the shot enough, that Rovers centre back Derek Whelan was able to get back and clear from just on the line.
Utd kept pressing, and soon Tony Kenny found himself through on goal, but again, found Miller in unfavourably good form, and his low shot was saved, Billy Millar turning the rebound goalward, but Rovers keeper was there again to save. Utd's early pace would not be maintained, and while still controlling the game, Rovers defence started to manage the runs better, and Utd's final ball was not always as they would wish. After about 25 minutes, Rovers finally started to settle, and get a foot in the game, and they finished the first half the better side, but probably pleased to be level, at 0-0.
The second half had began, with Utd losing the influential Stephen McCormack, having to withdraw with a knock, Mick Rigley replaced him, and the team reshuffled slightly. In the tenth minute of the second half, Utd went behind, a Derek Whelan free kick from Rovers own half being allowed to bounce in the Utd box, and straight into Jim Troy's net, for a shocking opener, and a mountain for Utd to climb. But climb it they did, Billy Millar, fighting hard for the ball after a Utd throw, was tripped on 58 minutes, and Tony Kenny, as he has done all season, calmly slotted the penalty home, Richie Miller going the wrong way and finally beaten.
The last 20 saw the game really spread, as both sides, to their credit refused to settle for a point, and there was danger at both ends. It would be Rovers however, who would pinch the game, when on 79 minutes, their centre forward swung on a bouncing ball, and lifted it over Jim Troy for what would be the winner. Utd pressed, and had one golden chance to equalise, Mick Rigley s header being brilliantly saved at point blank range by Miller in the Rovers goal.
Rovers missed a penalty on 85, Jim Troy, who had given it away with a slightly unnecessary trip, out waited the penalty taker, to save to his left. Utd's last chance was a free kick in stoppage time, which was spilled by Miller, but hacked clear on the final whistle.
A very tough loss for Utd, in a very even game. They'll feel they had the better chances, Rovers will feel they rode out Utd's best, and were worth their points, but will have to be grateful to their goalkeeper.
Man of the Match: Willie O'Sullivan. Generally excellent at the back, agressive and covered very well. Unlucky to be on the losing side.
Utd's B team lost for the second game in a row this afternoon, and with defeat, lost some ground in their push toward the top end of the Division 3A table. Eddie Ryan took his place in goal for the first time this season, Brendan Kearney still absent with a knee injury.
Utd started very brightly, looking sharp, and intent on redressing an early season defeat at Camolin. They were getting the ball wide to Des Kenny on the right, and Noel Dwyer on the left, and were creating chances for both Hasane Smyth, and Martin O'Connor. The best of these fell on 12 minutes, when a free kick from Darren Walsh was headed over by Martin O' Connor from about 10 yards. Utd continued to be on top, and were getting behind Camolin's defence regularly, but the final balls were not finding their men. On 19 minutes, Utd were punished for not making their possession count. From a Camolin free kick on the left, the ball was swung across the box, and the Camolin right winger was all alone on the right of the box , about 10 yards out, and drove past the helpless Eddie Ryan to give Camolin the lead.
Utd got started again, and looked to find an equaliser before half time. Darren Walsh was very unlucky on the half hour, his well struck free kick coming back of the inside of the post, and into play, Camolin s keeper beaten all ends up. With the half time whistle, Utd trailed 1-0. Camolin had not offered a lot, but for all their pressing, Utd would have been concerned at the chances being missed.
More of the same in the second half ,and between 50 and 65, Utd really made their push to get level, forcing corner after corner, and camping in the Camolin half. Still of concern, was that for all this pressure, the Camolin keeper was not having to work hard enough. Lots of efforts just off target. With no reward in their peak spell, Utd dipped a little, always pressing, but play breaking down, and not many chances coming. James Sheridan, James Hutchison and Andre Oliviera all made appearances from the bench in the search for a goal, but as the game wound out, it looked less and less likely to come. As with the first half, Utd finished strongly, earning corner after corner, but the Camolin defence stepped up well, and dealt quite well with the threat, and saw out the 1-0 win.
A disappointing defeat for the B team, they will be at home again next week versus Ballymurn, where they will need to start turning possession into goals. Aside from the goal, Eddie Ryan had very little to save, but he commanded his box well, and was very safe in everything he had to do in goal.
Man of the Match: Brian Nolan. Very solid at right back, error free performance. Was withdrawn on 80 purely to allow an extra attacker.
Sunday, November 27th
Last weeks home defeat to Rovers left Utd with some questions to answer, and the fixtures immediately made those questions stiffer, as Utd went across town, to another local rival, Enniscorthy Town, really needing a win to maintain pace in their division. That they did so, convincingly, despite being behind twice, should please all at the club no end. A perfect day for football, cool and bright, saw Utd make the worst possible start, and increase the pressure further on a team with plenty to prove. Utd gave starts to Joe Kenny, Mick Rigley and Barry Nolan. Dean Ryan, Glenn Fortune and Aidan Canavan making way.
Inside five minutes, Utd were behind. A long clearance from Damien Tobin broke off Willie Sullivan and Pa Kearney, and the Town forward swung on it immediately from 20 yards, the ball flying into the top corner past a rooted Jim Troy. One down before the game had even found a pattern. Utd restarted, and immediately got on the front foot, and even from behind, looked the physically fitter, stronger team. They went close when Billy Millar's header was cleared off the line, and 13 minutes in, were given the perfect opportunity for parity. Stephen McCormack picked Barry Nolan's excellent run with a low pass down the right side of the area, and he was crudely chopped down, as he got to the ball first, and looked to round the centre half, and the penalty was awarded. Tony Kenny, 100% reliable from the spot this season stepped up, but surprisingly altered his routine, and the penalty was saved well by Damien Tobin in the Town goal.
Utd's heads stayed up, and they continued to press for the equalising goal, Mick Rigley and Barry Nolan's movement up front creating problems for the home defence, who were stretching, but yet to break. The equaliser was coming, and from a corner on 15, the ball broke to John Whelan, and he made no mistake, driving in from about 8 yards. Utd were controlling the game, passing well, and Stephen McCormack and Joe Kenny were strong in the middle, covering a lot of ground, and breaking up Town play, so it was a real surprise that Utd went behind for the second time on 31 minutes, to a shocker. In a rare foray forward, a Town player received the ball on the edge of the Utd box, but with ample defenders between him and the goal, and initially he was boxed out. The attacker was allowed the time to go left, right, back and then make room to move the ball for a strike without a foot being put on him, and it was enough invitation for him to lift the ball into Utd's top corner, and send a delighted Town side to the break with the lead.
Utd made the best possible start to the second half, and erased their defecit on 47 minutes. Billy Millar had a shot turned wide, and from the resultant corner, John Whelan rose unmarked to head in for his second of the game, the captain leading by example. Utd pushed hard, not wanting to give the Town side anything further, and pinning them deeper and deeper. On 53, they were rewarded again. From yet another corner, Pa Kearney got ahead of his man, and glanced a super header by Tobin in the goal, and gave Utd a vital lead, that they would not relinquish.
Enniscorthy Town had all but disappeared as an attacking force, and Utd looked to kill the game off, breaking at pace, and using the ball quickly and accurately, creating chances. They should have had a second penalty, Billy Millar clearly fouled, but the referee badly missed it, and gave nothing. Millar brought the best out of Damian Tobin on 61, some good play set him free, and his shot was goalbound but the keeper got a great hand on it to turn it around the post, and keep his side in touch. From the corner, Stephen McCormack got due reward for his strong performance, rising to head in and turn out the lights on Enniscorthy Town.
On 80, Utd capped off the day, the tireless Billy Millar showing great awareness to pull back from the byline for Mick Rigley to slide into the empty net, and crown a really excellent team performance, full of hard work, and some real quality. It's been a long time since Utd put 5 by Enniscorthy Town on their own pitch, and should give Utd players real belief in their ability, and what can be achieved by the team. A great way to start a new run, and they'll take it into the Leinster Junior Rd 4 next week versus Derry Rovers.
Man of the Match: Stephen McCormack. Could have been one of three or four, but Stephen's strength in the tackle, and in the air, aggression, composure with the ball, were capped with a goal and gave him the edge.
Utd's B team put themselves right back in the shake up in Division 3A after a well deserved win this afternoon. Utd outplayed their opponents for long periods and with better finishing would have run out much more comfortable winners, but 3pts is 3pts however they are gained. A strong Utd team was captained by Des Kenny and included Barry Byrne at centre half alongside Martin Farrell.
The early stages of the game were scrappy as both sides cancelled each other out but Utd gradually began to get on top and make some progress down their left through Mark Morrissey and David Sullivan who combined well a number of times. From one move a ball played into the area landed at the feet of Martin O'Connor whose shot was clearly blocked by the raised hands of a defender, yet nothing was given except a corner. Darren Walsh and Brian Nolan had both gone close with headers already but this corner was cleared and from the break Utd were caught square as Ballymurn's forward got through on the right hand side of the area and placed his shot across Eddie Ryan into the far corner. Yet again Utd found themselves behind at home. However, as is usual, the response was strong and Utd continued to press. Des Kenny missed a great opportunity from a rebound, but a few minutes later Hasane Smyth's shot from the edge of the area found it's way under the keeper for a slightly fortunate but well deserved equaliser. 1-1 at half time and all to play for.
The second half saw Utd take complete control of the game and carve out chance after chance. Ballymurn could not make any impression and spent the half just hanging on hoping for a break. Given the amount of opportunities missed it's ironic that both second half goals were the result of poor defensive mistakes. On 51 minutes Darren Walsh lobbed a speculative ball goalward that was completely misjudged in the low sun by the goalkeeper and came off his hands onto the bar and back off him into the net for the lead goal. Further chances for Hasane Smyth, Darren Walsh, Martin O'Connor and Des Kenny wre all missed as Utd looked to kill the game off. Finally with two minutes to go, Martin Farrell's long free kick was missed by everyone and drifted into the corner to secure the three points.
Although the goals may have been fortunate, Utd were much the better team and thoroughly deserved the win. Any luck they got was a result of the great attitude they have consistently shown and was overdue after a couple of narrow and undeserved defeats recently.
Men of the Match: Both full backs, Mark Morrissey and Brian Nolan.Typified everything that has been good about the B team this season. Terrific attitudes and solid defensive work alongside a willingness to join in the play and use the ball intelligently when it's at their feet.
Sunday, December 4th
Leinster Junior Cup Rd 4
On a bitterly cold day, with a sodden pitch, that will benefit greatly from some rest, Utd played out a strange game this afternoon with Derry Rovers from Offaly, in Round 4 of The Leinster Junior Cup.
The first 20 were controlled by the Offaly side, but one header aside, they were restricted to long range efforts, although a few did ask some questions of Jim Troy. From the header, Utd's keeper was at his very best, getting down well, and with a strong left hand brilliantly turning away the Rovers header, that looked goalbound from contact. Utd's best chance of the first half had Barry Nolan get away down the left and cut toward goal, where he unselfishly played a low quick ball across the box, but neither Mick Rigley or Tony Kenny could apply the finish. 0-0 at the half.
The second half played out in competitive fashion, both midfield's biting, and the pitch refusing to allow any quality play, and real chances were non existent, and even from early in the second half, this game looked like going the distance. And, sure enough it did, extra time playing out with few scares, to the lottery of the penalty shootout.
Despite Jim Troy making the first save, Utd were edged 4-2 on penalties. A touch unlucky, but Utd are finished with the Leinster Junior for this season, knocked out without conceding a goal in their 3 games, but from purely this observers opinion, a not sorry exit from a competition that was getting in the way of the much more important league campaign. Onward to next week, and a big game with Cloughbawn.
Man of the Match: JimTroy. Kept his side in it after during their slow first 20, commanded his area well, but worth it alone for a really great save from a header in the first half.
A super win for Utd down in Courtown this afternoon against a Courtown side that benefitted from having first team players available. After an even first half, Courtown were on top for large parts of the second half but Utd's goalkeeper and back line held firm and their resistance paid off when a well worked break away saw Hasane Smyth get the winner with only a few minutes left to keep Utd right in the hunt in Division 3A. Utd travel again next week, another huge fixture v Adamstown at 11:30, when they'll hope to add a third successive win, and continue moving upward.
Man of the Match: Eddie Ryan. Made some key saves in the game, preserving the clean sheet, and helping the side to a valuable win.
Sunday, December 11th
It was all a bit back to front this morning, except the result. The pitch was unplayable, and yet the ref said we play. Utd were away, but playing at home! But from the first whistle, Utd got about Cloughbawn, hassled, harried, and totally outplayed their hosts/visitors, and came out fully deserving 3-0 winners.
Due to the intervention of the league, Cloughbawn are fulfilling their fixtures away, which meant a second visit of the season to Neil O'Sullivan Park , Utd having won their designate home fixture 2-1. But this time they arrived unbeaten in 5, and breathing heavily down Utd 's necks in the league table. The referee, unbelievably passed the pitch, and the game kicked off in light drizzle, Utd fielding 10 of the 11 that had won so well two weeks previous at Enniscorthy Town. Barry Byrne for the suspended John Whelan, the one change.
Unlike that game, Utd were immediately on the front foot, Stephen McCormack and Joe Kenny bullying the middle, and Utd seeing plenty of ball. Both Tony Kenny and Billy Millar were looking dangerous, and the movement of Barry Nolan and Mick Rigley upfront was causing real problems for the Cloughbawn defence, but chances were at a premium, as the final ball was not always what it could have been. Despite their dominance, the closest Utd went was from a Barry Byrne header from a corner, the defender rising well, but unable to keep the ball down from eight yards. The only action the Cloughbawn keeper saw was a comfortable save from a Tony Kenny free kick.
Cloughbawn were offering very little,but Utd were made aware the game was still in the balance on 35, when from a free kick, a Cloughbawn striker was left all alone on the back post, but he got himself in a bad position, and never controlled his effort. Fair warning for Utd that they needed to be sharp. The teams went off at half time level at 0-0, both somewhat happy, Utd controlling the game, and hoping patience would yield a breakthrough, Cloughbawn, I imagine just pleased to be in touch, not having been allowed to get moving at all.
Three minutes after the interval, Utd's patience was duly rewarded. From a throw in down the left, the ball was nicely worked to Mick Rigley about 20 yards out. He moved the ball beautifully to his right, creating a yard, and bending the ball into the top corner, leaving the Cloughbawn keeper rooted. The perfect start to the second half stalled Utd, and for 15 minutes they lost their rhythm and fell back to the edge of their box, surrendering possession. Cloughbawn did nothing with this possession however, largely due to the once again excellent back four, marshalled by captain Pa Kearney.
On 67 minutes Utd doubled their lead. They won a corner when Mick Rigley's powerful header was well saved, the Cloughbawn keeper just getting a fingertip to touch it over. From the corner a header was cleared off the line, and there was some debate that the ball was in, but this was made irrelevant, as Barry Byrne connected with the ball from 15 yards, and rifled low and by the covering defenders on the line. Utd introduced Dean Ryan in midfield, ostensibly to shut down the game, Barry Nolan, having run himself into the ground making way. And this they did well, the midfield maintaining a firm grip on the game, the defence mopping up the bits that got through, and Billy Millar and Mick Rigley dogging it out up front, running everything down, giving Cloughbawn nothing.
Nigel Fortune and Aidan Canavan were also introduced for Trevor Breen, and Stephen McCormack. In the 87th minute , Utd earned a penalty, when Billy Millar was crudely fouled in the box, the referee near enough to finally get one right. Tony Kenny duly stepped up, and slotted home, putting the lid on a very impressive 3-0 win. At times in the first half, Utd played their best stuff of the season, all the more impressive given the state of the pitch.They recorded their sixth clean sheet of the season, testament to the quality, week in, week out of whatever 4 are picked at the back. They will push into the last game of 2011, at home to St Josephs next week, knowing a similar performance will be very hard to live with.
Men of The Match: Joe Kenny/ Barry Byrne. Too tough to split. Joe, hard, dogged aggressive, and a real presence in the middle, but also showing some good stuff in possession. Barry, absolutely dominant in the air, quick and strong at the back, and took his chance brilliantly.
Utd's B team traveled to Adamstown this morning, knowing a win would jump their hosts, and push them as high as third in the table. It was always going to be tough, Adamstown having a formidable home record. In the first half, Utd were the better side, and but for a couple of missed chances, would have deservedly gone in ahead at the break.
Against the run of the game, Utd went behind on the hour mark. They set about trying to level the game, but their job was made all the more difficult by the fact that they felt they were not getting a fair shake from the referee.This was highlighted, when an Adamstown player clearly dived on the ball on the line, preventing an equalizer, and the referee inexplicably awarded a free out.
Undeterred, Utd kept plugging, and rather surprisingly, were awarded a penalty, when Shane Murphy was fouled in the box. Martin Farrell, calm as you like stepping forward to slot home in the last minute, and gain an important point. Utd will confidently carry their unbeaten run into next weeks big game away to Campile United. No meaningless games at this point, and Utd will feel that given a fair shake by the referee, they are in with a real shout.
Man of the Match: James Sheridan. Strong and influential in centre midfield, kept Utd on the front foot throughout.
Sunday, December 18th
Low winter sun, and a rock hard pitch were the easier things Utd had to contend with yesterday morning as St Joseph's visited for the last league game of 2011, with both sides knowing that a win would set them up as real challengers in the division after Christmas. In what turned out to be a tough, tough game in more ways than one, 5 players leaving the field through injury, Utd held their own and edged out a vitally important one nil win, and 3 more points.
The game kicked off after a minutes silence was nicely observed by both teams in memory of Barry Byrne's Grandfather, recently passed. St Joseph's were much quicker to settle, and dominated possession in the first fifteen, Utd having no rhythm, and giving away too many free kicks. Scares were rare though, as the defence held up quite well, Jim Troy not having much work. Joseph's had a penalty shout very early, when Utd's keeper came off his line and went at the feet of the attacker, but there was clearly no contact, and the referee made the correct decision.
As the half wore on, Utd's game started to improve , and they had two good chances in a minute. Billy Millar was released by Mick Rigley, and he cut inside well , and struck a right footed shot, that the Joseph's keeper did very well to keep out. The ball would not fall to a Utd player, and was hacked out for a corner. From the corner kick, Barry Nolan got up well, but just didn't get enough on his header.
Utd lost the very influential Stephen McCormack after 35 minutes with a hamstring injury, Dean Ryan slotting in to replace him. The game played out evenly, and both sides went off at the half even.
Utd started the second half much sharper, and went ahead on 51 minutes. Trevor Breen advanced deep into Joseph's half, moving the ball to Tony Kenny, who played a first time ball to Mick Rigley in the box, and he was clumsily brought down after a nice little turn. The referee awarded a clear penalty, bringing much delight to the club chairman. Tony Kenny stepped up, and did his usual job, sliding home for the 1 nil lead.
As the game wore on, it's importance was not lost on either side, and Utd sank deeper and deeper, naturally looking to close out a win, and yet, inviting a team desperate for something, to keep coming.Utd lost both Joe and Tony Kenny to injury, Aidan Canavan and Nigel Fortune ably filling in, some tactical adjustment required.
Both sides had late scares. Nigel Fortune advanced well on the left, and twice found himself with the ball at his feet in the box, the first was not cleanly struck, the second just inches wide, Joseph's keeper struggling. With about 4 left, Joseph's had the ball in the net, but last touch was from an offside forward, spotted by the referee, and Utd escaped.
A last spell of pressure saw Utd hold firm, and the final whistle delivered a very nice three points at the start of Christmas week. Utd earned their seventh clean sheet of the season, and have now gone nearly three hundred and fifty minutes without conceding in all competitions.
Man of the Match: Barry Nolan. Excellent in a tireless effort upfront. A thankless role on a heavy pitch, harrying the defence, and holding up play, combined with intelligent use of the ball. Finding his feet more and more...goals are imminent!
Utd travelled to Campile Utd on the back of some very fine performances, and right in touch in the promotion stakes, knowing a win against second placed Campile would give them huge hope for the second half of the league campaign. The performance was again very strong, but Utd were let down a little by their dicipline, and were edged out by the only goal in the game.
Despite losing Darren Walsh after less than five minutes, Utd were the much better side in the first half, both Keith Casey and Mark Morrissey especially prominent. Chances came, but a combination of great goalkeeping, and some inexplicable refereeing prevented Utd from going ahead. Des Kenny got a strong header on a James Mythen corner, but the ball was brilliantly clawed out by the Campile keeper. The ball went back to James Mythen, whose well struck half volley seemed destined for the top corner, but again the Campile keeper's hand got there to turn it away.
The first big moment of controversy came from another Utd corner, Brian Nolan's effort was goalbound, and cleared by a Campile defender who was clearly behind the line, the referee inexplicably waving play on. Utd could well start to think it was not their day, but went to the break, well placed at 0-0.
The second half started evenly, but about 8 minutes in, the second big moment of controversy cost Utd the game. With the ball running down the Campile line, it clearly hit the linesman standing on the field of play. Players stopped, but again, with what seemed an odd decision, the referee awarded a Campile throw. In arguing the call, Utd had James Mythen sent off, and would have to play out the game with 10.
Directly from this throw, the ball went out for a Campile corner, and from the corner, the ball was headed powerfully past Eddie Ryan in the Utd goal, for what would prove the game winner.
Utd introduced Shane Murphy, and Tomas Sullivan late, as they pushed hard to salvage the game. A performance that for long stretches looked like it would bring three points, was now all about saving one, but despite huge effort a man short, Utd came up empty handed, Campile holding on for the win. A blow for Utd, but the performances have been so strong, there is still great belief that this team can bridge the gap, and still be involved in their league.
Man of the Match: Mark Morrissey. Solid at the back, used the ball well through midfield, and even got forward dangerously, having a couple of efforts on goal. All around excellence...
Sunday, January 8th
Carlton Millrace Wexford Cup
Utd’s A team had a comfortable win this morning in the first round of the Wexford Cup against Division 5 outfit Kilmore Utd. Utd created plenty of chances, took some, and got a good run out after the Christmas break on a perfect morning for football. The only minor irritation was the concession of a goal that brought an end to 417 minutes of play stretching back to November 27 where the opposition had been kept scoreless.
Utd started strongly and were in front after only two minutes when Mick Rigley provided a neat near post finish to round off a nice move stemming from Utd’s right hand side. Further chances followed and Mick Rigley, Barry Nolan, Billy Millar and William O’Sullivan could all have added a second before Rigley again was on hand to tap in from a goalkeeper’s fumble after 31 minutes. Millar was then denied by the keeper before Dean Ryan added the third from the edge of the box after 38 minutes and 5 minutes later John Whelan’s cross picked out Barry Nolan who headed home at the back post. 4-0 at half time.
The second half saw Nigel Fortune replace Trevor Breen and within 7 minutes Utd were 5 up when Tony Kenny fired home after the ball was nicely worked to him in the Kilmore penalty area. After an hour, Mick Rigley and Joe Kenny were replaced by Glenn Fortune and Aidan Canavan and Glenn immediately had two shots saved before he scored having been set up in the area. Utd continued to dominate completely and after Kilmore’s consolation, Glenn added a seventh when the keeper failed to hold Aidan Canavan’s long range effort. Barry Nolan got his second and Utd’s eighth after 75 minutes when he shot across the keeper following a neat one-two with Glenn Fortune.
Sterner tests lie ahead - starting with a trip to Corach next week - but you can only play what’s in front of you and Utd can be satisfied with their morning’s work.
Men of the Match: Utd weren’t really stretched, but the midfield kept a good grip of the game throughout, and set a good tone and tempo for the team as well as making good use of their possession.
Utd's B team travelled to Gorey this morning knowing nothing less than a win would keep them interested in their league 3A campaign. With the prospect of facing the same opponent at home next week, this was the first half of a real 6 pointer, and Utd did not disappoint.
On a lovely calm morning for a game, Utd took the game to their host from the start, looking to make good use of Gorey Celtic's large, flat pitch. There passing was the much cleaner of the two teams, and with the experience of Darren Walsh and James Sheridan in the midfield, Utd's superiority was evident, if not being turned into goal threat.
Utd were having particular joy down the left, where Mark Morrissey and James Hutchinson were combining well, and looking dangerous. On 13 minutes, Utd made the breakthrough. The ball was moved quickly forward from Brian Nolan, Pa Carty was strong in the air, and touched on. He got on his own flick and speculatively shot from 20 yards, but Gorey's keeper did not deal with it well, and it rebounded invitingly to the penalty spot. Both Keith Casey, who was fouled, and James Hutchinson looked to get on the ball, James getting ther, and calmly lifting the ball past the advancing keeper with the outside of his left foot for a nice finish.
The half played out with Utd still looking the more capable side, but unable to pad their lead furher. Pa Carty went closest, his long range effort off a quick throw skimming the bar, with the keeper beaten. Utd had a couple of scares of their own making, some slack ball movement across the back line highlighting how slim their lead was. Gorey's lack of composure , and one excellent tip over the bar by Eddie Ryan, saw the blues get to half time in front.
The second half began with a strong push from Utd, looking to grab a second and kill off any thoughts Gorey had of a home win. Again, the play was good, ball movement was excellent, but despite some good work up top, Utd were being a bit shot shy, and the lead remained at it's slimmest. With this in mind, Shane Murphy and Andre D'Oliveira were introduced up front for the tiring Keith Casey and Pa Carty.
Within 6 minutes of the change, Utd got their second goal, and sealed out the win. After some good work by Mark Morrissey and Darren Walsh, Shane Murphy picked up the ball 25 yards from goal. He played a beautifully weighted pass, splitting the defence and getting James Huchinson round the back. The keeper did well to block the shot, but the well was turned back at/across goal by David Sullivan, and calmly tucked in the corner by Andre D'Oliveira.Hasane Smyth came on for James Hutchinson, and Utd comfortably played out the game, having some chances to further extend their lead, but giving Gorey little, Eddie Ryan having nothing major to do.
The same opposition next week, will undoubtedly provide a tougher exam, as they seek a measure of revenge, but if this Utd team can just be a little more clinical in front of goal, they'll take some stopping.An excellent team performance from Utd, everyone playing well, and doing their part.
Men of the Match: James Hutchinson / James Sheridan. Could have been more. Two different performances, Hutchie looked dangerous out wide, kept looking for the ball, and grabbed the all important first goal. James Sheridan, was strong in midfield, tackled well and good in the air, and vocal in encouraging his team on.
Sunday, January 15th
Utd's A team continued their good recent form with a fourth consecutive league win at Corach this morning. On a bitterly cold morning with a gusting wind, Utd produced another excellent defensive display to take the points in a tough encounter.
Playing with the wind in the first half Utd struggled at times to find their rhythm, but for large parts controlled the game. Corach struggled to make any impression, and one header into the arms of Jim Troy was their only effort. Despite not being at their best, Utd had the clearest openings. First, when Billy Millar got away in the inside left channel but just delayed his shot allowing the defender and goalkeeper to block him out, and shortly after when Barry Nolan shot over having created room for himself after collecting Tony Kenny's cross.
After 34 minutes the breakthrough arrived when Millar was tripped in the box and Tony Kenny scored from the spot to give Utd the lead. It was nearly doubled 5 minutes later after more good work from Millar, when his dangerous cross was bravely gathered by Corach's keeper at Mick Rigley's feet. 1-0 to Utd at the half.
Despite playing into the wind, the first 15 minutes of the second half saw Utd find more fluency in their play. Millar was again prominent, setting up a decent chance for Barry Nolan who didn't connect cleanly, and then firing a great ball across the goalmouth just inches ahead of onrushing Utd players. Mick Rigley also created an opportunity for himself after a great piece of control, but shot high and wide. Corach were not creating anything from general play and the closest they came to equalising was a free-kick that went over the top.
As the half wore on Glenn Fortune, Aidan Canavan and Nigel Fortune replaced Tony Kenny, Mick Rigley and Billy Millar as Utd looked to see out the game. Jim Troy was untroubled in Utd's goal as the players in front of him kept a good shape and tight discipline to keep Corach at arms length. Another couple of free kicks and a handful of corners were defended in the last 10 minutes as Utd closed out the game and picked up another vital 3 points to stay right in touch at the top of the table.
Man of the Match: John Whelan. Played a captain's part. Led by example, organised and vocally encouraged those around him. Was a towering presence as Utd defended their lead in the second half.
Another good performance and a thoroughly deserved 3 points keeps Utd's B team right in the Division 3A promotion hunt. For the second week in a row Utd saw off Gorey Celtic and may have finished their promotion challenge. Barry Byrne came into the team in the only change from last weeks eleven.
Utd got off to the best possible start and were two up inside 20 minutes. Firstly, Darren Walsh started and finished a move with a flying header from David Sullivan's cross to give Utd an early lead and then James Hutchison provided a nice finish off the inside of the post, having been played in on Utd's left. Gorey had a changed team from last week but were struggling to make any headway as Utd's back four and midfield worked hard in front of Eddie Ryan. Utd themselves were playing their football and continually pressing, Des Kenny went close from 25 yards and Pa Carty was also just off target, Utd finishing the half as strongly as they had started it.
The second half followed the same pattern. Darren Walsh was denied by the keeper and may well have been fouled chasing the rebound, but after 65 minutes Utd made the game safe. Des Kenny made progress down the right and played a great ball through for Pa Carty to run on and poke the ball by the advancing keeper. Shortly after, Barry Byrne and Brian Nolan were replaced by Stephen McCormack and Hasane Smyth.
Pa Carty again went close with a lob before he was replaced by Andres D'Oliviera. The fourth goal arrived courtesy of another calm finish from James Hutchison and even the concession of a late consolation didn't take the gloss off another fine Utd performance.
Man of the Match: James Hutchison. Picked up where he left off last week. Worked really hard, scored two goals, always looking for the ball and was very calm and tidy in possession.
Sunday, January 22nd
Neil O'Sullivan Cup Preliminary Rd
With an uncharacteristically loose display, Utd crashed out of the Neil O'Sullivan Cup to Wexford Celtic this morning. For a group that have taken great pride in being mean, giving up 4 goals at home will sting, but hopefully, harden resolve ahead of bigger games to come.
A perfect morning for football, saw the game preceeded by a minutes silence in memory of Ajax Athletic stalwart John O'Sullivan, who sadly passed last Tuesday.
The first ten minutes saw both sides struggle to maintain possession, or pose any noteworthy threat. Utd were maybe starting to gain an edge, pushing Wexford deeper, and just hinting at some joy down both wings. On 13 minutes, out of nothing, Wexford Celtic took the lead.
From their own throw near the corner of the Wexford Celtic box, poor communication saw Utd lose possession. Wexford moved the ball quickly through two men, and had released their centre forward, who beautifully chipped Jim Troy on the run. Wexford Celtic had a chance to double the lead soon after, when a routine ball from the right wing, found their man alone at the back post, 12 yards out, but he hurried, and volleyed over.
Utd had to respond, and duly did. Aidan Canavan and Joe Kenny started to get on top in the middle, and chances started to come. Glenn Fortune was released down the right, and he stood a good ball up at the back post. Billy Millar climbed well to head , but he was unlucky to see the ball hit the foot of the post, with the keeper beaten. Tony Kenny worked the keeper from a free kick, and Utd now where clearly in rhythm, and looking the better side. On seventeen minutes, an isolated Billy Millar worked hard to earn a corner. The ball was delivered with pace by Tony Kenny, and Millar again rose highest at the front post, powering a header over the keeper and defenders on the line for a deserved equaliser.
Utd now looked to push ahead, and were unlucky on two occasions not to take the lead. the first of these, again involved Billy Millar, whose goal bound shot after a box scramble , was well turned onto the bar by the Celtic keeper. From a corner on 35 minutes, Barry Nolan got free at the back post. His header beat the keeper, but came down off the underside of the bar, and was hacked clear.
Against the run of play, Celtic stole the lead on the stroke of half time. They got behind the United defence with a straight ball, and the Celtic forward just reached ahead of Pa Kearney, to poke the ball home. Clearly the better side, Utd went in at half time, 2-1 down.
It was imperative that Utd start the second half well, but on 48 minutes, Celtic scored what looked like the killer goal, a shot from 20 yards finding the right corner of the net. To their credit, Utd rolled up their sleeves, and again took a grip of the game. For fifteen minutes they controlled possession and territory without reward and just as it looked as if Wexford had weathered the storm, Utd were given a lifeline. Billy Millar took on the right full, who made a firm challenge, and looked to clearly get a piece of the ball, but the referee deemed it a foul, and pointed to the spot. Tony Kenny stepped up to calmly convert, and with 25 minutes left, Utd were back in the tie.
Wexford were offering nothing, and while Utd remained in ascendency, they did not create a lot of clear cut chances. On 89 minutes , Jim Troy launched a free kick into the Wexford box, wher Tony Kenny jumped and challenged. The ball broke to Mick Rigley, about 15 yards out, who connected beautifully with a volley, driving into the keepers top right corner, and taking the game to extra time.
Extra time was truly a game of two halves. Utd had all the play in the first, and had a couple of opportunities through Glenn Fortune and Mick Rigley , but defenders managed to get key blocks in. Jim Troy did have one sharp save to make from a header, right on half time, and in the second extra period, Wexford picked up the pace, and pushed for the win.
Joe Kenny was harshly penalised , when he looked to have cleanly won the ball, but the referee deemed it a tackle from behind, and awarded a penalty to Celtic. Jim Troy in goal guessed right, and made a good save to his left to keep the game in the balance. Utd were being stretched now, and Celtic had a great chance to win it, their forward seeing his shot come back of the post, but perhaps he should have scored.
It seemed certain we would go to penalties. Time was done, and Celtic had a free kick level with their own box. The ball was launched long, and flicked on to an unmarked runner, whose first time strike was past Troy in Utd's goal before he could really react... Game over... Utd kicked off, and the whistle went...
It was a strange result, the bottom line is, if you give up 4 at home, you probably deserve nothing but defeat. There was a lot of good play in Utd's performance, and the character shown when behind was very admirable. The defence have been so consistent, it's probably unfair to be critical of them, as they were only a shade off, and they have been the backbone of the side this season.. Just a bad day, and hopefully they'll bounce back with a win in two weeks time.
Man of the Match: Aidan Canavan. Timely return to his best. Very prominent in midfield, won a lot of ball in the tackle and the air. Strong game..
Utd's B team suffered a setback with a 1-0 defeat at Curracloe this morning. Playing teams near the bottom is always dangerous and the game was settled by a single second half goal as Utd failed to produce the good form that had brought back to back wins over Gorey Celtic in recent weeks and pushed them right into the promotion hunt.
However, the disappointment can be tempered by the fact that other results went their way and the race for promotion is still very tight. If maximum points can be taken from the remaining four games - 3 of which are at home - the Utd could well have something to celebrate come the end of the league season.
Sunday, February 5th
Carlton Millrace Wexford Cup Rd2
United’s A team came through a tricky first half to run out comfortable winners in this morning’s Cup game at Gorey Celtic. Another clean sheet and no injuries were the main plus points ahead of next week’s league trip to Cushinstown.
Gorey’s large flat pitch gave Utd the opportunity to get the ball down and play and although the first half was patchy at times, Utd really stretched Gorey in the second half and made their superiority count. Pa Kearney gave the visitors the perfect start after 5 minutes. Tony Kenny’s corner was headed goalwards by Mick Rigley, and after his initial flick had come back off the crossbar, Pa put his second attempt home.
Soon after, Billy Millar’s drive was parried out by the keeper but follow up efforts from Mick Rigley and Glenn Fortune were blocked and Gorey escaped. Utd were finding a lot of space down their right but the final ball was not always accurate and Gorey started to come into the game a little through their competitiveness alone. Jim Troy knocked one effort wide and a free kick was headed into the side netting from a tight angle before Utd started to regain control of the game. A couple of good moves ended in the concession of corners before Tony Kenny capitalised on a misjudgement to break through and slip the ball past the advancing keeper for 2-0. Glenn Fortune might have added another as Utd got on top to lead 2-0 at the break.
Right from the beginning of the second half Utd looked sharper on the ball and more aggressive in the tackle. Almost immediately Tony Kenny’s pass split Gorey’s defence and Glenn Fortune was denied by the keeper. Billy Millar then fired wide having worked a shooting position before the third was added on 53 minutes. Willie O'Sullivan did well to regain possession high up the pitch before putting in a great cross that Billy Millar met with a thumping header that went in off the underside of the bar. Utd were now in total control, and further chances for Glenn Fortune and Tony Kenny followed.
Millar was replaced by Barry Nolan and Aidan Canavan and Nigel Fortune replaced Joe and Tony Kenny. It was Barry who added a fourth after Mick Rigley had poked the ball goalwards, before Mick Rigley himself provided a lovely chipped finish having been put through on goal to complete the scoring. A shot wide from 16 yards was Gorey’s only effort of the second half as Utd recorded their 9th shutout of the season.
A good run out before next week’s league game and the performance got better as the game wore on.
Man of the Match: Dean Ryan. Competed well throughout and got on the ball at every opportunity to help Utd find a rhythm and pattern to their game.
Utd’s B team collected a massive 3 points this morning and put themselves right in the promotion mix. Securing this result at promotion rivals should give the team a great boost ahead of the last 3 league fixtures – all of which are at home.
A strong Utd side including Barry Byrne and Stephen McCormack got off to a great start when McCormack’s knock down from Darren Walsh’s cross was finished by Hasane Smyth to put Utd one up after 10 minutes. However, Utd found themselves pegged back a few minutes later before Hasane headed in his second to put Utd back in front after 21. Back came the hosts again to level, and the game was finely balanced at 2-2 at the break.
The second half saw Utd produce a really strong display to push on and win the game. Mark Morrissey, Barry Byrne, Stephen McCormack and James Sheridan were all to the fore as Utd got hold of the game. Hasane completed his first hat-trick for the club on 60 minutes, again heading home a Darren Walsh corner, before Shane Murphy – on for Pa Carty – added the fourth 12 minutes from time. Keith Casey and Joe Murphy were introduced and Keith was denied a fifth by a great save before Joe produced a great block to deny Ballindaggin any hope of a late rally.
A great effort and a great result that gives the team real momentum and confidence heading toward the finish line.
Men of the Match: Hasane Smyth’s hat-trick saw the team home and James Sheridan produced a really strong display in midfield to drive the team forward.
Utd won their 5th league game in a row this morning, with a performance that was neither pretty, or as sharp as we have seen at times this season, but rather with a dogged refusal to accept anything but a win, and a toughness that has grown in the squad throughout the season. Make no mistake, on a ground where league rivals Ajax and Shamrock Rovers have fallen already this campaign, this was not a game for the faint of heart, but for men to dig in, tough it out, and overcome a physical, and very efficient Cushinstown unit.
On a horribly boggy and uneven surface, Utd visited Cushinstown aware that their best would be required to take any points home, Cushinstown's home record being comparable with the best in the league. From the kickoff, the home side were the quicker to settle, and after some early back and forth, it was they who created the first chance. On 4 minutes, Utd had a couple of opportunities to clear the ball, but it was worked wide down the home sides left. Their winger, cut in dangerously toward the penalty spot, and shot well and on target, forcing Jim Troy in Utd's goal to save smartly low to his left. Utd got a further break, when a rash challenge in the area, chasing the rebound, went unpunished by the referee.
For a further 20 minutes or so, Utd laboured, struggling with the pitch, final ball execution, and a home side playing a high line, giving Utd little room to move the ball. On 25 minutes, a ball over the top from Pa Kearney released Billy Millar, who clearly got to the ball ahead of the Cushinstown keeper, and was unceremoniously scythed down, but, the referee waved away Utd's penalty claims, perhaps evening up the count.
From this point Utd improved, and started to gain the upper hand in the game. Tony Kenny went close when his free kick was deflected just wide and from the resulting corner Joe Kenny won a clean header but was unlucky to see it cleared off the line. Just on half time, Utd were given another scare. Again, Cushinstown workedthe ball down their left, and a really dangerous ball was whipped in between the penalty spot and six yard box. The ball squeezed between Trevor Breen and Jim Troy, and fell invitingly to the home number 9, but he lacked composure, and miskicked wide of the gaping goal from 6 yards, and the sides went in at halftime level.
Utd kicked off the second half, and immediately looked more composed and patient, looking to get on the ball, move it left to right, and create something. Billy Millar was looking dangerous for the visitors, and the home side were resorting more and more to chopping him down, stopping his elusive running. On 55 minutes, after one such foul, Utd would take the lead. Tony Kenny again struck the free kick from about 20 yards, but this time the deflection was favourable, taking the ball away from the dive of the home keeper, and into the net. United lost their composure after the goal, and within 5 minutes, their lead also. Cushinstown had pushed again from the restart, and Utd, despite having multiple good chances to clear their area, were looking excitable and less than their usually composed selves. That said, there was a touch of ill luck for the visitor's in the Cushinstown equaliser. A breaking ball ricocheting several times, finally landing at the feet of a forward in the centre of the goal, and he made no mistake. One each, and all to do over again.
Utd's response was good, and as with the latter part of the first half, they took a grip on the game. Dean Ryan and Joe Kenny were smothering the midfield, and the home side were becoming less of an attacking factor. Utd introduced Glenn Fortune for Mick Rigley on 63 minutes, fresh legs the order of the day on this pitch. On 73 minutes, Utd deservedly went ahead. The ball was worked to Billy Millar on the left edge of the box. Despite being outnumbered, he did well to move it inside to Glenn Fortune, who worked left to right, before rolling the ball to the oncoming Tony Kenny, who swung first time from 22 yards, the ball never going anywhere but top corner, the Cushinstown keeper having no chance.
Lessons learnt from earlier in the game, Utd introduced Aidan Cannavan for Barry Nolan, and looked to kill off the game. Aside from one goalmouth scramble, this they did very well. The defence as it ever does, came to the fore when really needed, John Whelan especially, getting taller and stronger later in the game. With a touch more composure, there was another goal there for Utd, but perhaps understandably, the real objective was to protect rather than pad their lead.
The home side launched a lot of arial balls late, but they were ably dealt with, and the final whistle was delightfully received by all involved with the away side. A superb gritty win for Utd. Maybe not for the tippy tappy football purist, but a joy for the winner in all of us. Utd will confidently roll on to another tough one next week against Rosslare Strand, but with this sides current mentality, and with all players standing up and being counted, they have every right to believe they can continue their run.
Man of the match: Lots of big performances, Dean Ryan, Joe Kenny, Jim Troy and the back four, but Trevor Breen was the pick of the bunch today. Excellent defensively, strong, and always involved, linked well with Billy Millar, and he's an Arsenal fan to boot..Enough said!!
Carlton Millrace Wexford Cup Rd 2.
Utd's B team produced another excellent display this morning but were just edged out by Div 1 outfit St Leonards, Utd had much the better of the first half with Darren Walsh and Mark Morrissey outstanding, and gave a terrific account of themselves. Captain - Des Kenny - headed Utd into the lead just before half time and Utd spurned a great opportunity to go 2-0 ahead early in the second half.
As would be expected, the Div 1 side came into the game and courtesy of two preventable goals - certainly from Utd's viewpoint - went in front as time ran out. But, as has been the case all season, Utd rallied again and only a couple of debatable handball decisions and a goal-line clearance denied Utd the extra time they deserved. A disappointment for sure, but Utd can take great heart from the performance and will look to carry their form into the Billy Browne Cup next week and the remaining league fixtures.
Man of The Match: Mark Morrissey. Outstanding display both with and without the ball. Has been a consistently strong performer and a huge asset to the team all season.
Sunday, February 19th
With 5 league wins in a row before this afternoons game, it would have been easy for Utd to take the visit of the divisions bottom side lightly, and potentially trip up. That they won so convincingly, is testament to the attitude and will to win of a group that grow stronger as the season go on.
After Utd's B team had won in the morning, the pressure was back on Utd's A side to get the job done. They started impressively, getting amongst the Rosslare players, and finding room wide, both right and left. Within 3 minutes, Utd had already squandered a couple of good chances. In the 4th, they finally got the scoreboard moving. Some good work from Mick Rigley fed Barry Nolan on the edge of the visitor's box. He was given way too much time, twisting and turning to create an oppurtunity, and duly slid his shot across the keeper and in.
Utd kept their edge, and it was somewhat surprising that it took a further 13 minutes to score again. Both Barry Nolan and Mick Rigley had sights at goal before, from a Jim Troy goal kick, Rosslare's defenders let the ball bounce twice, and Mick Rigley found himself clean through. He took his time, and delightfully lifted the ball over the advancing keeper, and in, just kissing the left post on the way by. The third came on 24 minutes, Tony Kenny, having an especially good half, swinging in a free kick, that arrived at Barry Nolan unmarked 10 yards out and he duly slotted into the corner.
Utd went 4 up on the half hour, Tony Kenny supplying the customary calm penalty, after Billy Millar was chopped down in the box. Utd played out the half well, keeping the ball, moving about, and looking very tidy, but not really being challenged by a subdued Rosslare side.One tip over aside, Jim Troy was a virtual spectator.
The first twenty minutes of the second half, in comparison to the first were pretty dreadful. Utd were under little or no pressure, but understandably, were not playing with the same edge. The defensive unit were called upon to do some minor tidying, but still Jim Troy remained relatively under used. With a bit of a rattle from their captain John Whelan, and the introduction of three subs, Glenn Fortune, Nigel Fortune and Aidan Canavan for Joe Kenny, Billy Millar and Willie Sullivan, Utd awoke from their slump.
On 70 minutes, Glenn Fortune was beautifully played through by Dean Ryan, and he delivered a carbon copy of Mick Rigley's first half finish, lifting the ball over the keeper, the ball just beating the chasing defender. Glenn got his second on 75, when Barry Nolan put him away down the left, and his angled shot had enough on it to beat the Rosslare keeper.
Utd rounded out the scoring on 80 minutes, when Barry Nolan was clumsily bundled over in the box. Tony Kenny was decent enough to step aside, and Barry converted with a dink, to seal his first hat trick in a Utd shirt. Utd saw the game out untroubled, and move on knowing they did a fine job today, but there will be tougher tasks ahead.
Man of the match: Barry Nolan. Got the ball rolling, then took it home after 3 well taken goals.
Billy Browne Cup Rd 2
On a beautiful morning for football, Utd's B team progressed in the Billy Browne Cup, with a hard fought win over Coolgreany Celtic. Utd's pitch was in great shape for the time of year, a testament to the amount of work put in to it. Utd were approaching the Billy Browne Cup as a very real chance to win some silverware, in tandem with their very live promotion hopes.
Coolgreany kicked off, with Utd opting to play toward ther dressing rooms in the first half. There was very little incisive play in the first twenty minutes, both sides cancelling each other out well, midfield was being slightly bypassed, and defences were very much having things their own way. Utd were being well marshalled by Dessy Kenny, and even this early, it looked like it could well be a one goal affair.
In the the 25th minute, from a Utd throw in deep in the visitor's half, the ball was moved to Darren Walsh, who did well to spin his man, and drive low across goal. The ball was fumbled by the Coolgreany keeper, and when David Sullivan challenged for the loose ball, it spun out to the penalty spot, right at the feet of Brian Nolan, who drove home, for a crucial lead.
Utd saw out the next 15 with very little problem, Martin Farrell tidying up well at the back, but in the last 5 minutes of the half, the visitor's had two very decent chances to level. The first saw the Coolgreany centre forward get the break of the ball, and work a clear sight of goal from about 15 yards, but his shot was comfortably dealt with by Eddie Ryan. Less than a minute later, from a corner, Coolgreany saw a good goalbound header brilliantly cleared off the line by Brian Nolan, Coolgreany appealing that the ball had crossed, but it was very hard to see.The whistle went almost immediately, and Utd took a valuable lead in at half time, knowing their was still work ahead.
The pattern of the game remained the same for the second half. Neither side was at their creative best, a testament to the defensive quality on show. Coolgreany were maybe slightly on top, but were being well handled in the middle, and getting no time to create. Utd were always looking to pick off another on the counter attack, wary of over committing when there was no need.
Fresh legs were introduced in Keith Casey, for the hard working James Hutchinson, and he did give some much needed energy in the final third, Utd just requiring a slightly better run of the ball for the chance to seal the game. Coolgreany huffed and puffed, but Eddie Ryan had very little actual work in the second half, as Utd 's outstanding defensive quartet of Brian Nolan, Mark Morrissey, Martin Farrell and the aforementioned Dessy Kenny were dominant.
Coolgreany resorted to long balls, and overall Utd saw out the win well. The only second half scare was a vociferous penalty appeal, that to these biased eyes, would have been harsh indeed.A different performance from Utd this morning, not as fluid as they have been at times this season, but as solid as I have seen all season, against opposition as tough as any they'll face in the coming weeks. Utd would have liked a second, but it was a nice feeling to get ahead early, and see out the game so well.
In a game they had targeted, Utd will be pleased they performed when required, and will hope to take this sort of performance into next weeks league encounter with the leaders, Shamrock Rovers.
Man of the Match: Brian Nolan. Game winner, goal saver, and solid all round defensively. The pick of an excellent back four today.
Sunday, February 26th
Carlton Millrace Wexford Cup Rd 3
Utd's last cup interest for 2012 ended this morning, as they were edged out in extra time away to Shamrock Rovers in the 3rd round of the Wexford Cup. Utd were eliminated from all cups this year without losing in regular time, but exited nonetheless, and will now regroup for a final push in the league.
The game kicked off in overcast conditions, both sides with a couple of players missing, but still strong. Rovers, without grabbing the game by the throat, were certainly the better side in the first twenty, and indeed, looked the more composed bunch, Utd looking a little ratty, and ill at ease.
Neither keeper had been unduly troubled, when in the 26th minute, Jim Troy was beaten, giving Rovers the all important first blood. From a long John Tarp goal kick, the ball was allowed bounce, and then nudged on to the advancing Rovers forward, who drove the bouncing ball beyond Troy, giving him no chance.
Utd did lift themselves, and for the latter part of the half, started to establish a passing game, and gain a foothold in the tie. Utd were pressing, and pressured Rovers into giving away a succession of corners before halftime, but one Aidan Canavan header aside, these were ably dealt with by Rovers defence, well marshalled by Daíthí O'Brien. Rovers went in at half time 1 nil up, and on balance, deservedly so.
Utd's second half plan was surely to remain calm, patient, and continue to build and grow into the game, they had plenty of time. So it was a real body blow when on 52 minutes, Chris McKeown was allowed rise and head home unimpeded from a Rovers free kick, giving the hosts a very daunting 2 nil lead. 52 minutes gone 0-2.
Straight from the kick off, Utd worked the ball left, through Billy Millar, and out to Dean Ryan. Dean held off two defenders and worked a throw in, and from this, fed back to Trevor Breen. Trevor lifted the ball goalwards, only he will know if it was a cross or a shot, and the ball looped towards the top corner, being slightly misjudged by John Tarp in the Rovers goal, and while he got a hand on it, it had enough to cross the line. 53 minutes gone, 1-2.
From Rovers restart, Utd immediately won possession, and again down the left, drove at the Rovers defence, Billy Millar winning a free kick. Tony Kenny delivered a great ball to the back post, that Glenn Fortune did well to head back inside, where Aidan Canavan was waiting to calmly knock the ball home. 54 minutes gone, 2-2.
Utd now had their tails up, and were in the ascendency, and were looking now to get Billy Millar and Tony Kenny on the ball wide. To their credit, Rovers regrouped after the surrender of their lead, and after the blitz at the start of the half, the game went quiet, both sides again getting somewhat tentative.
Utd raised again, and finished the game strongly. In the last 10, Tony Kenny delivered a great ball low and hard across the 6 yard box, that was begging for a touch, but neither Barry Nolan or Mick Rigley, on for Glenn Fortune and Aidan Canavan, could reach it. With 3 minutes to go, Utd had the chance they wanted. Billy Millar's ball across was good, and Mick Rigley stretching, got there, but he turned the ball over, and extra time loomed.
Utd gave up the winner 53 seconds into extra time. Rovers worked the ball down their right, and got it across to Colin Sheehan about 15 yards out. He had just enough room to drive low past Jim Troy for the crucial lead. Utd pressed hard, and left it all on the field, but the odd scramble aside, Rovers held out quite well, and advanced to Round 4. Utd have no need to hang heads. They'll feel they could have won, and certainly had the better of the second half, but they were just edged out by a very decent Rovers team. The league will now be Utd's sole focus...
Man of the match: Joe Kenny. Physically strong and aggressive in the middle, and excellent in the air all day. A very good performance in a losing cause.
Immediately looked at, Utd's nil all home draw with champions elect Shamrock Rovers this afternoon will seem like two points dropped, but step back a little, and it still looks a very valuable point in Utd's promotion quest.
Utd kicked off with just one change from last week's cup win, Barry Byrne coming in for the unavailable Pa Carty, and the team reshuffling slightly. Rovers, as they always will, had a strong side out, their incentive being that with Campile losing in the morning, a win would secure them the Division 3A title.
The game began at great pace, no quarter being asked or given in the challenge, but not helped by a fussy, and not overly home friendly referee. Utd were having some limited joy with Hasane Smyth, and Dessy Kenny linking on the right, but chances were few. Eddie Ryan had to be at his very best twice in 3 minutes, as Rovers ball movement, and pace, got them in. Utd's best hope of a breakthrough in the first half seemed to be from set pieces.
From a long Martin Farrell free kick, the ball broke of the heel of a Rovers defender, but John Tarp, putting in a long day for his club, got down well to save, and Hasane Smyth just couldn't get on the rebound. Utd now had a better hold on Rovers movement. From two more Martin Farrell free kicks, Utd again went close to taking the lead. The first was slightly over hit, but completely misjudged by Rovers keeper, and just went a foot wide of the empty net. The second, a similar delivery was chased down by Barry Bryne, but he just could not get enough on his header to direct goalwards.
No goals at half time, Utd would be the slightly happier, thanks to Eddie Ryans saves, but a very even and tense game. The second half could not have started worse for Utd. 3 minutes after the restart, Mark Morrissey was ludicrously blown for hand ball after getting ahead of his man, and a gift penalty awarded to Rovers. Their number 10 stepped forward to take, and had placed the ball, and set, but perhaps tellingly, Utd's protests held him up for a while, James Hutchinson being booked, and when he was allowed to take, he drove off the outside of Eddie Ryans right hand post. Opportunity blown for Rovers, justice seemingly done for Utd.
Back came Utd, and they forced a couple of corners . From the second Darren Walsh delivery, James Sheridan made a great run to the near post, and his glanced header had the keeper beaten and was goalbound, but was well defended on the line by the Rovers defender, and cleared. 10 minutes later, Dessy Kenny picked the ball up in midfield and pushed on. It opened enough for him to try his luck from 25 yards, and his finely struck effort clipped the bar, with Tarp beaten.
The half played out edgily. Utd were looking for the win, as were Rovers, but both sides were doing so cagily, not wanting to give away what they had. A draw was a fair result, and keeps both sides goals in view. Rovers will win the title, sooner rather than later, and deservedly so, as they have been the best side all season. Utd, will possibly cherish this hard won point at the end of the campaign, and still have great interest on two fronts.
Man of the Match: Eddie Ryan. Kept his side in it during a dodgy five minute spell with a couple of great and important stops. Talkative, and helpful to his defence. Seeing real benefits to the work he is putting in.
Sunday, March 4th
Utd gave away two points this morning, in what was possibly their worst collective display of the season. Even so, Utd had put themselves in a position, from where, 50 other weeks of the year they would have shut the game down, and secured the points. Minutes after half time, Utd led 3-1, but allowed Stoney Rovers a route back, and paid the price, the game finishing 3 all.
It could have all been very different, when within 30 seconds of kick off, Barry Nolan was given a clear sight of the Stoney goal from about 12 yards, but his shot was not crisp, and was dealt with comfortably by the Rovers keeper. This was the best we'd see of United for a good 25 minutes.
Utd's first scare came in the 3rd minute, when a ball over the top split the central pair, and the Stoney forward looked to bear in on goal. Jim Troy, advancing of his line to head off the danger collided with the forward, but the referee deemed it to be nothing, and despite away protestations, waved play on.
On 8 minutes Utd went behind. A really good quick ball was whipped in from the Stoney right wing, and found their number 9, who had stolen a yard between Utd's centre backs, and he made no mistake, heading beyond Jim Troy, to give the visitors a deserved lead. For a further 15 minutes or so, Stoney remained the better side without ever really threatening further, Utd looking out of sorts, and lacking composure and quality in all areas.
From shortly after the twenty minute mark, Utd did finally start to play, and began to push Stoney back. They were looking to get the ball down, and use the movement upfront of Barry Nolan and Mick Rigley to pull the Stoney defence around, and get both Billy Millar and Tony Kenny involved on the flanks.
Utd's renewed push paid dividends in the 28th minute. Billy Millar and Mick Rigley harried the defenders, and won possession. Mick Rigley's movement of the ball between his feet was too much for the centre half, whose hanging leg clearly tripped Utd's number 9, and the penalty was awarded. Step forward, Tony Kenny, who slotted home assuredly, for his 16th of the season.
Within 4 minutes, Utd were in front. A ball was delivered at chest height to Barry Nolan 20 yards out, and he controlled well with back to goal. The Rovers centre back made a terrible decision, and barrelled through the Utd 10. Tony Kenny again stepped up, this time sweetly driving the ball into the Stoney top right hand corner, the keeper never moving.
Utd got to half time without any scares, possibly slightly flattered to lead, but definitely the ascendant team. 4 minutes after half time, Utd doubled their lead. John Whelan took posession on the edge of his box. He drove forward through the centre of the field, and released Barry Nolan down the left channel with a nicely weighted ball. Utd's captain continued his run, and stretched to get something on Barry Nolans low cross. The ball squeezed between him and the Stoney keper, and sat for a second before being gratefully banged home by Mick Rigley. 3-1 up, game over?
Not by a long way.The next 15 saw Stoney regain a foothold in the game, getting on the ball, and start to play better than at any time in the game. They have some intelligent players, who were moving well, and stretching Utd, but in large part, Utd were keeping them at arms length. On 65 minutes, Stoney gained a lifeline when a free kick was not well dealt with. The ball found it's way to an unmarked Rovers number 9, who made no mistake from 8 yards.
Less than 2 minutes later, we were level. Another free kick, this time from the Stoney right wing was well delivered, and the Stoney forward was able to head into the corner, without jumping, and unchallenged.
The last 20 made for very uncomfortable viewing. Utd redoubled their effort, and did get back on top. They had a lot of pressure, some chances, and a lot of huff and puff, but in going for the win they seemed to lose perspective and be panicking. The team lost all shape and solidity, and Rovers were quite content to try pick them off on the break, which they did with both too much regularity, and ease. Back and forth we went, Utd camping in the final third, to be undone by long punts forward, and Rovers forwards with clear paths to goal. In this period, Jim Troy earned his stripes, making at least two key saves to preserve a point, and it is still a precious point.
Utd were not undeserving of the point, as they had the game won, despite having an off day, but as the game unfolded late, it could have, and probably should have been much worse. Utd did not lose. Every team have bad days, and despite this being one of their worst, they got something out of it. No panic, they'll reset, and be determined to put the performance right next week. Calmness needs to prevail though, both when behind, and more importantly when in front. This is a long race, and no sense getting too excited before the straight...
Man of the Match: Jim Troy. Despite giving up three, which he could do little to prevent, Jim was largely responsible for denying a morale sapping defeat, coming up big twice in the late stages.
Sunday, March 11th
Utd's A team used last weeks frustration to good effect this morning, overcoming the concession of an unfortunate O.G to fall behind, and a half hour break due to a Rosslare injury that required an ambulance, to run out comfortable winners and join Shamrock Rovers at the top of Division 2.
Nigel Fortune replaced the absent Willie O'Sullivan and Glenn Fortune came in for Barry Nolan in two changes to the starting 11 from last week. Utd started the game reasonably well and there was room behind the Rosslare back four from an early stage. Nigel Fortune, Tony Kenny and Glenn Fortune combined well down Utd's right on a number of occasions to cause problems but the breakthrough proved elusive. Rosslare were competing aggressively but had offered no real threat when out of the blue they took the lead. A corner was whipped in under the crossbar and under great pressure, Jim Troy's attempted punch skewed off his glove and into the corner of the net. 1-0 down and off the back of a disappointment Utd needed to respond quickly - and they did.
Within 3 minutes Tony Kenny's lovely through ball released Glenn Fortune and he duly supplied a calm finish. 1-1. Utd continued to press - Mick Rigley had a chance and Glenn forced a good save from Rosslare's keeper before Utd went in front. Tony Kenny's corner was flicked on by John Whelan and Glenn reacted really well to nod home. 2-1 to Utd at the break.
Half-time saw the injured Mick Rigley replaced by Barry Nolan, and Utd looked to start the second half strongly and kill the game. Some good build up play forced a corner and yet another good delivery from Tony Kenny saw John Whelan nod home for his 3rd of the season and a two goal cushion. Utd were completely dominant now and Barry Nolan saw a chance saved before Glenn Fortune was released again and duly completed his hat-trick.
The game was then held up for 30 minutes after a collision between Jim Troy and a Rosslare striker as an ambulance was called to the pitch. Jim had come to punch a long ball clear and had done so, but landed on the Rosslare striker and he was in a lot of discomfort with his back and ribs so no chances were taken and he was not moved until the ambulance arrived.
When the game resumed, Mark Morrissey replaced Stephen McCormack and Utd quickly settled back into their rhythm. Barry Nolan added a fifth - catching the keeper off his line - before Glenn Fortune volleyed home his fourth and Utd's sixth after great work from the excellent Joe Kenny. Thomas McCann replaced Tony Kenny with 10 to go and Billy Millar added a fine solo goal to complete the scoring.
A job well done and Utd looked much more like themselves today. Four to go and all to play for.
Man of the Match: Glenn Fortune. Looked sharp and bright right from the off. Good movement, link up play and took his four goals well. Caused all sorts of problems for Rosslare's defence and worked really hard for his team.
Billy Browne Cup Quarter Final
On a perfect Sunday morning for football, Utd's B team visited Curracloe with a place in the Billy Browne Cup semi finals at stake.The hosts laid on a perfect pitch, and Utd duly did their part, delivering a perfect result, winning out 1 nil, and advancing in the cup.
Utd lined out with some forced changes from their previous game against Shamrock Rovers, Keith Casey playing up front, and Joe Murphy and James Mythen filling in at fullback. James Hutchinson, Brian Nolan and Mark Morrissey notable absentees.
Utd started brightly, and immediately looked the better side, pressing the home side high up the pitch, and not allowing them any time on the ball. In possession, Utd were always looking to get the ball down, and pass through their opponents, Darren Walsh, David Sullivan and Hasane Smyth were all prominent early. With Barry Byrne and Martin Farrell dominating at their end, Utd's midfield were seeing a lot of ball, and once they settled chances started to be created.
On 9 minutes, after some good pressure from Utd, Pa Carty was released into the box, but his drive from 12 yards was well deflected over by the Curracloe keeper. Utd came again a minute later. Barry Byrne picked up the ball from a corner, 20 yards from goal, and his curling shot had the home keeper scrambling, but he again tipped over the bar.
It was very much one way traffic through the half. Utd were creating chances at will. Barry Byrne again went close with a header,, with Dessy Kenny and Pa Carty also having sight of goal. David O' Sullivan brought the best out of the Curracloe keeper from a free kick after Darren Wash was fouled, and then on 36 minutes, Utd should have been ahead.Dessy Kenny got free on the left wing, and hit a good ball in, Pa Carty turned it home, but was rightly blown up for calling Leave it, and not a name as per the rules. Would Utd rue the miss, as they went to half time all square, despite dominating the game.
The second half was more even, Curracloe seeing more of the ball, but with Utd's defence commanding, Eddie Ryan in goal was having a quiet day. Mick Walsh was introduced for the injured Keith Casey, and almost immediately, was put through on goal. He beat the last defender, but over ran, and the keeper was able to clear. Utd were getting a little edgy, so dominant, with nothing to show. On 65 minutes, they took the lead. A long Barry Byrne throw was cleared out, and Hasane Smyth picked the ball up 30 yards out, He looked up, and struck a beautiful effort goalwards, which cleared the Curracloe keeper, and hit the net.
Utd kept the pressure on, and when substitute Andres Lopes got away down the right, he whipped a great ball across, and it seemed certain Mick Walsh would double the lead, but he miscued, and Curracloe were let off. Utd's last substitution saw Gary O'Rourke come on for the excellent, but tiring Joe Murphy, as they looked to see out the game. Another good run by Mick Walsh just lacked the final ball, but Utd held out fairly comfortably, and earned a huge win.
An excellent team performance in which the defence kept their 3rd clean sheet in a row, saw Utd home, and they'll approach the end of season games fearing no team.
Man of the Match: David Sullivan. Could have been one of many, but a great performance from David in the middle, laid the foundations for his teams win.
Sunday , March 18th
Utd's A team secured their place in Division 1 next season with a 2-0 win at St.Cormac's this morning, courtesy of a rock solid performance. Utd went into the game knowing a win would enable the team to hit their first target of the season - promotion. Two changes were made from the 11 that started last week's win at Rosslare, William O'Sullivan for the ill Nigel Fortune and Barry Nolan for Mick Rigley, who had taken a heavy knock on his ankle last week.
On a beautiful morning, but a very bumpy pitch, the first ten minutes of the game were uneventful as both sides looked to gain the upper hand but from then on, Utd took control of the half. Stephen McCormack and Joe Kenny got on top in the midfield area and Utd's right hand side was providing most of the threat. On 14 minutes Barry Nolan was released behind Cormac's defence by Glenn Fortune, but his near post effort was gathered at the second attempt by Cormac's keeper. A minute later Glenn himself pulled a shot wide and for the next 10 minutes Utd continued to press forward and put pressure on Cormac's defence.
The breakthrough arrived after 25 minutes. Joe Kenny was fouled about 25 yards out and Tony Kenny stepped up to strike at goal. The free kick was aimed at the right hand corner but struck the wall and deflected into the opposite side, although despite the deflection, the keeper may feel he might have pushed it away. In the next 10 minutes Utd created a number of opportunities. 3 minutes after the goal Utd thought they had doubled their lead. Joe Kenny's through ball to Glenn Fortune was blocked and landed at the feet of Barry Nolan who burst clear of the defence. As the keeper came to meet him he slipped the ball sideways to Glenn Fortune who tapped into the empty net. However, the referee blew for Glenn being offside. It looked like he was behind Barry when the pass was made, but the goal was ruled out. A minute later, from a flicked on Trevor Breen free kick, John Whelan nearly connected before Glenn Fortune headed onto the roof of the net. On 31 minutes, Billy Millar cut in from the left and saw his deflected shot go just wide.
Utd were well on top and got the second goal they deserved on 41 minutes. Having had a corner cleared, Utd started again right from the back as Jim Troy played the ball into Stephen McCormack in midfield. Stephen got his head up and played a beautiful ball over the top to pick out Tony Kenny's run. Tony's first touch was good and his second better, as he slipped the ball between the advancing keeper's legs for 2-0. Utd saw the half out comfortably and in control.
The goal settled Utd and they continued to dominate in the second half - without creating too many chances. Barry Nolan brought a really good save from the keeper and Billy Millar's cut back was missed by everyone before Billy himself had the chance to get a third late on, but pulled his effort wide having broken through. For the most part, the half was uneventful as Utd kept Cormac's at arms length and looked to maintain their lead. Mick Rigley and Aidan Canavan were introduced for Barry Nolan and Glenn Fortune and Utd looked really solid across the pitch.
Unfotunately, Mick himself had to be replaced - by Mark Morrissey - with 10 to go but throughout the second half Cormac's only registered a couple of long range efforts and a header from a corner that was cleared off the line with about 2 minutes to go. Cormacs appealed that the ball had crossed the line, but the ref said no and the last meaningful action saw a similar incident at Cormac's end, but this time there was no question that Billy Millar's header had been cleared just in front of the goal-line.
The final whistle confirmed Utd's win and their promotion. It's been a great effort from all the players in the squad and the aim now is to try and push on. Three tough games remain - but - Utd's attitude will be the same right to the end of the season and every effort will be made to try and turn a good season into a great one.
Man of the Match: Stephen McCormack. Superb in the middle, strong and dominant, gave his team a great platform on which to build.
Sunday, March 25th
With promotion secured last week,
if Utd thought they could relax and cruise to the end of the season, an away
fixture at fellow title challengers, and cross town rivals Ajax was just the
reminder that Utd needed that there can be no let up to the end of this
Division 2 season.
A beautiful March morning saw the
two sides lock horns, each knowing that a win, could potentially damage the
others title aspirations. This led to a cagey opening period, neither side
having much rhythm or flow to their game. Utd's midfield did look the stronger,
with Joe Kenny and Stephen McCormack both continuing their recent excellent
Overall, the first half lacked
any real incident. Ajax had a weak penalty shout waved off on 13 minutes, but
were failing to trouble Jim Troy in Utd's goal. Utd for their part, enjoyed
more possession, but were not creating a lot either, a couple of box scrambles
and corners apart. 6 minutes before half time, they had the first real opening
of the game, Barry Nolan getting a good sight of goal , after the Ajax keeper
had spilled a low cross ball. Barry's shot was pulled, but poorly cleared, and
Tony Kenny fired just over from the breakdown, taking a knock for his trouble.
The sides went in at halftime level, 0-0, which was just about right.
Ajax began the second half
brightly, and were quick to put Jim Troy to some work, the Utd keeper getting
down well to his left to keep out a shot from the edge of the area, and then,
3 minutes later, being quick off his line to deny Ajax again.
After this 5 minute flurry, the
game again settled into a stalemate, and it began to look like one goal would be
enough for either side.
went close, Glenn Fortunes header landing on the bar and going over,
Ajax slightly fortunate, as their defender had a hand up and in position
, but there was no contact with the ball. On 76 minutes, the first
goal did indeed come, and it
was scored by the home side.
From a throw in, the ball glanced
off Pa Kearney, before bouncing around dangerously in the Utd six yard box. In
the ensuing melee, it was an Ajax boot that made connection, and poked home to
give them a valuable lead, and a potentially huge 3 points.
As they have all season, Utd
responded brilliantly to adversity, Aidan Canavan was introduced for Glenn Fortune, and with a small change
in system, Utd started to really pin Ajax back, searching for parity.
The Ajax defence were creaking,
but holding on. On 85 minutes, a Willie Sullivan throw was turned goalwards by
John Whelan, and the Ajax keeper was forced to push it out for a corner. Tony
Kenny swung a great ball over, and John Whelan soared highest, to power home a
Utd pushed hard for a winner,
forcing a succession of corners, but it wouldn't come. In the final minute,
Billy Millar was released by Barry Nolan's long ball, but he rushed his shot,
and failed to hit the target, not realising he had more time. The whistle came
almost immediately after, ending an absorbing and committed derby, a little
short on quality, but hugely competitive. A draw was a fair result, and both
sides can take positives from the game, and push forward with realistic title
Man of the Match: John Whelan.
Hugely strong and influential, a giant in defence, and popped up with a great
Billy Browne Cup Semi Final
Utd's B team suffered a narrow defeat
in a very tight cup semi in Bunclody this afternoon. On a day when both
the weather and pitch were perfect, unfortunately the outcome wasn't,
and the team now need to re-group and finish their league campaign
into the game on the back of 3 clean sheets, Utd looked surprisingly
nervous and ill at ease to begin with and if not for one good Eddie Ryan
save and two poor finishes, could have been well behind after 10
minutes. They also lost Brian Nolan to injury after 8 minutes, Joe
Murphy being the early replacement. Utd could not get on the ball at all
and were being pinned back by the Division 3 side and only after 15
minutes or so did they begin to get into the game. Pa Carty saw his shot
squirm through the keeper and hit the post before Rathnure scrambled
away a dangerous David Sullivan free kick. However, Rathnure continued
to threaten and 2 good headed opportunities were missed before they took
the lead on 31 minutes.
ball was worked behind Utd's defence and although Eddie Ryan blocked
out the initial threat, the loose ball was put home to give Rathnure a
lead that on balance, they deserved. Utd responded well though, finally
putting some passes together and Pa Carty lifted one opportunity over
the bar before Hasane Smyth pulled a shot across the keeper but outside
the post. 1-0 at the half.
began the second half brightly and Pa Carty lifted Barry Byrne's
excellent cross just over before the equaliser came on 49 minutes. David
Sullivan and Hasane Smyth worked the ball to Pa Carty about 20 yards
out, back to goal. Pa spun his marker and hit a beauty into the top left
hand corner, the keeper not moving. 1-1 and Utd looked set to push on
and take control of the game.
as is often the way in semi-finals, the game tightened up again and
became a very tense, even battle. Both sides struggled to create
openings as defences stayed solid and the game looked like it would be
settled by one more goal. Utd brought on Shane Murphy and Andres Lopes
for Pa Carty and James Mythen as they looked to try and force the
opening, but on 80 minutes the pivotal goal arrived for Rathnure. And
what a horribly unlucky goal it was.
right winger reached the byline and attempted to pull the ball back
into the centre of the goalmouth. It was half cleared and an incoming
player scuffed his shot goalwards. Eddie Ryan dived to his right to make
what looked a comfortable save, but the ball took a deflection off a
Utd shin and bounced past Eddies trailing leg for 2-1. 10 minutes left
to save the game.
ever, Utd rallied and Hasane Smyth forced two smart saves form the
Rathnure goalkeeper. One down low to his right and one near post tip
over. However it was not to be Utd's day and Rathnure missed one chance
on the break before playing out the final moments in Utd's half, forcing
a corner. Although it was cleared, the referee blew for time.
really tough one to take for Utd, particularly given the manner of the
winning goal. Huge frustration for the players, but absolutely none with
them. They gave everything, as they always do and once again did the
club proud. Two wins in the league could mean promotion and that would
certainly help to get over today's disappointment.
Man of the Match: Pa Carty. Worked tirelessly for the team and scored a great goal to tie the game up.
Sunday, April 1st
Utd will rue two dropped points at home this morning against
St Cormacs. The performance, whilst not vintage, should have been enough to win
the game, but as with last week, Utd found themselves behind in the last
quarter of the game, but again proved tough to keep down, and rallied for a
Aidan Canavan and Nigel Fortune slotted seamlessly into a
very settled side for Willie Sullivan and Joe Kenny, and after a cagey start,
it was the away side had the first sight of goal. This was a more doughty and aggressive
Cormacs side than the one Utd bested two weeks ago, and if Utd felt they would
have it all their own way, they were given sharp reminder to the contrary on
seven minutes. From the breakdown off a
long ball, a Cormacs forward swivelled and shot, making great contact, but just
clearing Jim Troy's crossbar.
Utd started to find their feet. On thirteen minutes, Billy
Millar, getting plenty of room down the left, took the ball by the full back
and toward the bye line, and his low cross found Tony Kenny, who will be
disappointed he didn't make better connection, as he shot straight at the
Cormacs keeper. Jim Troy was called into action two minutes later, when he
turned away a bouncing free kick, and also the follow up, not knowing it had
been blown offside.
Utd now started to
get on top, and on 20 minutes, made it count. Stephen McCormack played the ball
to Glenn Fortune, central and advanced, and pushed on hard, looking for a
return. Glenn held up play well, and
spun off his man, before switching the ball between his feet and sliding
Stephen through on goal, where he pulled his right footed shot across the
advancing keeper and into the corner.
Utd would now look to
take a firm grip on the game, and they had a very good penalty shout on the
left hand side of the box, when Barry Nolan was clumsily fouled as he went by
the fullback. It was a tight call, but maybe the ref was just right. On the
half our mark, John Whelan glanced a header just wide, and two minutes later,
Glenn Fortune was released by Billy Millar, but his attempted lob of the keeper
was off target.
thirty five minutes, Utd were made pay. When Pa Kearney, tidying up a
long ball passed back to Jim
Troy there seemed to be no real danger, but somehow, the ball skipped
unfortunate keepers foot, and rolled into the goal, levelling the scores
apiece. Barely five minutes later, Cormacs were in front, when a long
free kick was not sufficiently cleared, and a Cormacs attacker chested
down and volleyed
home from twenty plus yards.
In the last five of the half, Utd rallied, Nigel Fortune's
cross/shot just evading the lunging forwards on 41, and on 43 minutes, Utd went
close again, Billy Millar again getting free down the left, and his looping
effort caught the top of the bar, and went wide. At the whistle, Utd were
rather unfortunately, 2-1 down..
No doubt this team
can improve, people will have differing opinions, but nobody could question
their heart or character, and two league defeats all season is due evidence. And so, as we always expect,
Utd came out for the second half, rolled up their sleeves, and utterly
dominated both possession and territory.
It is to their credit that Cormacs kept chances to a
minimum. Utd's corner count was large, and pressure was fairly relentless, but clear sights
of goal were rare. John Whelan had a chance with a header, but the ball was a
little behind him, and he could get little power.
On 56 minutes, Utd had another great shout for a penalty,
when Tony Kenny was brought down. As before, the referee awarded a free kick on the edge, but this
time, to these eyes, it was the wrong call. More corners and pressure,
and one more penalty shout for handball,
all were repelled by the visitor's or
From 67 minutes, in quick succession, Mick Rigley and Mark
Morrissey were introduced for Aidan Canavan and Billy Millar, as Utd changed
shape and pushed for parity. In the 76th
minute, from a Trevor Breen throw, Stephen McCormack got a key touch, and Mick
Rigley was at the back post to volley sweetly home from 12 yards, and even up
the game. It was Stephen's last meaningful contribution, as he was injured a
minute after the restart, and had to be withdrawn with a bad ankle problem, Joe
Kenny filling the gap in the middle.
Utd pushed and pushed for the winner, Jim Troy now a
spectator, but it would not come. Barry Nolan had a header saved, but the ball
was flagged out of play, and then with 10 to go, Mick Rigley delivered a great
cross from the right wing, that was beautifully, cleanly met by Glenn Fortune in the air, but
his header was straight down the keepers throat, and he saved. Either side, and
Utd would be celebrating a win.
The game played out with Utd pushing, but that one great
chance would not come. At the final whistle, Trevor Breen saw red after taking
exception to something said to him, and a ban will be forthcoming. For Utd,
this is not the end at all, but they now surely must win what will be yet
another tough encounter next week at home to Taghmon, to maintain any hope of
Man of the match:
Glenn Fortune. Excellent work rate and movement upfront, linked the play
well, and made the first goal. Only thing lacking today was a goal.
Utd's B team saw their outside chances
of promotion finally end this afternoon courtesy of a heavy home
defeat. It's been a tough two weeks for the team, with last weeks Cup
semi -final defeat followed by today's reverse, and it's a real shame
that a season that has seen so much effort and good football from the
team, has petered out.
were counting the cost of last weeks game with injury forcing a number
of changes. Keith Casey, Andres Lopes James Sheridan and Joe Murphy all
started, as did William O'Sullivan at right back. Ballagh arrived
already relegated, but keen to make a better showing than at home, where
Utd had won 6-0.
early stages of the game saw no real pattern, but Utd gradually got on
top and opened the scoring after 16 minutes. Keith Casey latched onto a
ball over the top, and under pressure from defenders and an onrushing
keeper, showed great composure to beautifully lift the ball over the
keeper and into the net. A great start and Utd would have hoped to push
on, but less than 3 minutes later we were level. Ballagh built an attack
down their left, the ball was moved inside, Utd failed to get a tackle
in and from about 18 yards, Eddie Ryan was beaten low to his left.
needed to pick the game up again and over the next twenty minutes or
so, they regained control. David Sullivan saw a great strike from 25
yards come back off the bar before Utd went back in front 5 minutes
before half time. Darren Walsh made room for himself wide left and put a
great ball low across the six yard box. Captain Dessy Kenny had timed
his run well and met the cross unmarked at the back post to sidefoot
home. Utd deservedly ahead 2-1 at half time.
good start to the second half was vital, but, Utd conceded 3 times in
the first 8 minutes of the half, and never recovered.
Uncharacteristically hesitant defending left Eddie Ryan exposed time and
again and Utd were made to pay. Perhaps if Keith Casey's goal bound
effort had not been cleared from just in front of the line at 2-2,
things would have worked out differently, but the game got away from Utd
in this period and no amount of effort could turn it around. Utd did
spend much of the half on the front foot, a couple of decent chances
were missed and scrambles survived, but overall Utd didn't test Ballgh's
keeper often enough and broke down too often in the final third.
scored a break away goal midway through the half to kill the game and
although sub Glenn Fortune made it 3-5 with 8 to go, another breakout
from a corner saw Ballagh make it 3-6 and finish the game comfortable
winners. A really disappointing day for Utd, and not in any way an
accurate reflection of their season. Coolgreaney visit next Sunday in
the final fixture of the season and the aim has to be to finish with a
performance that does justice to the tremendous improvement made by the players this season.
Man of the Match: Keith Casey.
Worked really hard and held his own against much bigger, stronger and
more experienced players. Generally used the ball well and showed great
skill in scoring his first goal for the club. Only a goal-line clearance
denied him a second.
Sunday, April 8th
Utd's A team's excellent season came
to a tame end yesterday, with defeat against Taghmon ending their
outside hopes of a title win. A win was imperative for the blues, and
they were undone going all out for the winner, a late break and goal
with virtually the last kick sealing their fate.
showed three changes from last weeks Cormacs game, Joe Kenny, William
O'Sullivan and Mick Rigley coming back into the side for Stephen
McCormack, Trevor Breen and Barry Nolan. The pattern for the game was
set very early. Taghmon, big and well organized, with men behind the
ball, and no great attacking intent were happy to let Utd have the lions
share of possession, the onus being on the home side to break them
down. And this is where Utd faltered, because for all their effort,
chances were few and far between. Utd's golden opportunity did arrive in
the 27th minute. Billy Millar was released by Glenn Fortune, and he was
clearly tripped in the box, giving Tony Kenny the chance to give Utd
the lead, from the spot.
usually so reliable just pushed his effort a fraction, and it went the
wrong side of the post, to keep the game level. Glenn Fortune went close
from the edge of the box, his shot just rising over the bar. At the
halftime whistle, Taghmon will have been the happier side, there defence
looking quite strong, with not too many scares, Utd would be hopeful
that they keep playing their game, and that the one good chance would
it never really did...Utd made all the running in the second half,
forced multiple corners, and had all the play. John Whelan, ending a
massive season for himself, with yet another big performance willed his
team on, appearing all over the pitch. He had a huge claim for a penalty
when he was absolutely cleaned out from behind in the air, but it was
not given, and in truth this summed up Utd's day. Barry Byrne and Darren
Walsh were introduced, Utd doing all they could to win. Darren took a
horrible blow in the face, challenging for a 50/50 ball in the area with
the Taghmon keeper, and broke his nose, but up he got, and carried on.
injury time, Utd still pushed, all men bar Jim Troy up for a succession
of corners. And then the roof fell in, Taghmon broke out, and their
striker beautifully lifted the ball over Jim Troy for a certain winner,
there being no time left. A sickener for Utd, who have not had a habit
of losing, but in truth it mattered little, as the draw was not enough,
and they had to push all out.
has been an exceptional season for Utd, some performances in and out,
but the effort from day one to twenty nine has been superb, and
promotion was the least they deserved. It's an overdue return for the
club to Division 1, and if they bring the same attitude, commitment and
the experience gained from this season, can hope to do some great
things again next year.
Man of the Match: Aidan Canavan. Big game in the middle for Aidan, broke up play well, strong in the tackle and the air, and used the ball well.
Utd's B team finished their season in
defeat yesterday afternoon, capping a disappointing few weeks for the
squad, but should in now way tarnish, what has been a great campaign,
and a real building block for next season. Players have emerged, the
squad has never had such strength in depth, and just adding a touch more
consistency could see this team do great things next year.
took the field with a very shuffled side, the emphasis being to try
enjoy the season finale, play some good football, and finish on a high
with a win. Keith Casey took the role of captain for the day. In large
part it worked, the win aside. Utd were the better side for the first
half, and would have been slightly disappointed to go in at half time
1-1. Martin Farrell and James Sheridan were combining well along the
right side, and Utd continually looked dangerous. They took the lead on
29, when Keith Caseys corner hit Barry Byrne, and crossed the line
through the keepers legs. Barry had a great chance to double the lead
minutes later, arriving late on a free kick, his header just drifted
left of the Coolgreany goal. Utd conceded 5 minutes before half time,
the ball somehow finding its way to a Coolgreany player 6 yards out, and
he duly tapped in, undoing all Utd's good early work.
Andre Lopes and James Mythen were introduced for the second half, and
on 55 minutes, Utd took the lead again. David Sullivan fought hard to
win Eddie Ryans goal kick in the middle, and bore down on the Coolgreany
box. His early shot was nicely in the corner, Coolgreanys keeper
possibly unsighted, never moving.
Utd's lead did not last long, Coolgreany equalizing on the hour when their wingers cross drifted over the head of Eddie Ryan, and into the top corner, and 5 minutes later, they were ahead, a corner being met with a back post header.
On 72, James Mythen struck the post from 25 yards, his shot having
beaten the keeper, and it was the closest Utd came to parity. Lots of
endeavour, but little chances, Coolgreany seeing the game out in
tough semi final defeat a few weeks back took the wind out of the
season, and it's been a quiet finish, but Utd's B team have been a
revelation this season, and they have been a huge factor in pushing the A
team along, and in the re-emergence of this club. They found great form
through the middle of the season, and their commitment and effort have
been excellent in every game. The same again next season, will surely
lead to deserved reward, and promotion next season should be their
Man of the Match: Martin Farrell..
Capped an excellent season at centre back with a great performance.. up
front! Good movement, and usage of the ball, and was a huge factor in
Utd's good first half. Only lacked a goal.