Albion aces land third spot
Hot pace catches up on depleted Cloughbawn squad
An Evan Donohoe hat-trick lit up the Jack's Mini World Cup third and fourth place play-off as hosts Wexford Albion 'A' took the spoils following a devastating squad performance against an undermanned Cloughbawn outfit in Kennedy Park on Sunday.
Wexford Albion Mini World Cup, sponsored by Roche Logistics Group Wexford Albion 5 Cloughbawn 1
Incredibly, the game was still goal-less with ten minutes to go but, as both sides tired on an energy-sapping afternoon, Albion had the fresh legs available to use and that paid huge dividends in the end.
Cloughbawn came into the game on the back of a fine run that eventually saw them fall to talented eventual champions New Ross Town. They set up their stall to defend and hit on the break and they did it superbly as a team for 30 minutes.
Shayne McDonald was excellent, marauding all over the pitch, Luke Fitzpatrick played the inspirational captain's role perfectly, and Oisín McManus was a colossus in defence. If there was a 'keeper of the tournament award, then Shane Kehoe could have nabbed it for his performance in this game alone.
Trying to break forward and make an impact in the other half of the field, the trio of Cody Doran, Cillian Tierney and Charlie Murray ran themselves into the ground.
Without available substitutions the pace of the game really told but that trio ran their legs off and were rewarded with a late consolation.
The winners set off like a team on a mission. Darragh Kirwan forced Kehoe to save, Tommy Convey and Adam Tierney both went close with long-range shots, and Rory Gilbert's strike took a deflection and was somehow kept out by the Cloughbawn stopper.
A foul on Murray allowed Fitzpartick to smack a free that was cleared by Albion. The hosts had two super chances in quick succession, firstly when Tierney poked just wide after a mazy run and then Kehoe superbly tipped over Gilbert's strike.
Then, Cloughbawn broke and Cillian Tierney forced Patrick O'Regan into a sharp low stop. Just on the stroke of half-time a powerful Convey shot clipped the top of the visitors' bar and flew over to leave the sides deadlocked at the interval.
A Fitzpatrick free flew just over the bar at the start of the second-half but Albion soon got on top. Evan Donohoe, replacement for the lively Flavio Grama, got through one-on-one with Kehoe but the 'keeper won their first battle.
Then Seán Denton and Shane Curran combined, only for the latter to poke wide. The goal finally came nine minutes from time when Donohoe swivelled and fired home from Tierney's cross from the right.
One became two three minutes later when the same duo combined with Donohoe tapping in from inches out. Tierney got his first when cutting in and firing into the top corner of the net with three minutes left.
Seconds later he got his second with a classy finish to the corner. Cloughbawn responded with a low Shayne McDonald shot in off the foot of the post but Albion completed their victory in added time when Donohoe clipped over the 'keeper from Grama's pass.
Wexford Albion (Spain): Patrick O'Regan; Rory Gilbert, Darragh Kirwan; Shane Curran, Tommy Convey, Adam Tierney (capt.); Flavio Grama. Subs. (rolling) - Cian Whelan, Evan Donohoe, Seán Denton.
Cloughbawn (Turkey): Shane Kehoe; Shayne McDonald, Oisín McManus, Luke Fitzpatrick (capt.); Cody Doran, Cillian Tierney; Charlie Murray. Subs. (absent) - Jack Kavanagh, Conor Ryan, Oisín Redmond.
Referee: Jimmy Kelly.