Barlow on spot for United
Curracloe clinch Under-11 crown in penalty shoot-out
Richie Barlow scored the winning penalty as Curracloe claimed a dramatic Wexford and District Under-11 Schoolboys Soccer Division 3A title after a play-off against New Ross Town in Murrintown on Wednesday.
Curracloe United 2 New Ross Town 2 (AET) Curracloe won 1-0 on penalties
The United attacker fired home the only successful penalty, the first his side took in the shoot-out, to claim a hard-fought victory following a fantastic footballing spectacle between two evenly-matched teams.
The seasiders, who were trailing 2-1 as normal time ticked away, had only forced extra-time by scoring a dramatic late equaliser when Colm Kelly fired home from close range following a corner.
In truth, nothing much was ever going to separate these sides after they both claimed a mightily impressive 39 points out of a possible 42 in their respective league campaigns - having both lost just once, to each other.
The teams started the game well as they felt each other out. After the initial settling in period, Curracloe took the lead when Colm Kelly fired home to give his side the lead slightly against the run of play.
New Ross Town had several chances to level in the first-half as they got on top, but they came up against a team with an inspired set of defenders, with the exceptional Jack Kelly leading Adam O'Connor and Evan Gillen into battle, and super goalkeeper Eoin Howlin.
The second-half started pretty much the way the first ended, with Town shading it. New Ross won a penalty for a handball but, maybe a sign of things to come against the inspired Eoin Howlin, it was missed.
Town then equalised with substitute Peter Mackey scoring.
With New Ross pushing on and putting their opponents under pressure, they took the lead shortly after when Henry Rellis found the net.
When it looked like New Ross might hold out for victory, star man in the middle, Colm Kelly, took his chance to be a hero, firing home from a corner to force the game into extra-time.
The two extra periods were fairly uneventful.
Both sides had a couple of half-chances but with the energy-sapping sun beating down, after a fast-paced game, both sides became tired as penalties approached.
With that heat and fatigue, there's no surprise that, in the small goals, there was only one successful penalty in the shoot-out.
Barlow scored what would prove to be the trophy-winning spot-kick with his side's first attempt.
Curracloe United: Eoin Howlin; Jack Kelly, Adam O'Connor, Evan Gillen; Joe O'Leary, Colm Kelly, Richie Barlow. Subs. - Dean Denton, John Sunderland, Evan Hearne, Nathan Rossiter, Tommy Parker, Ronan Furlong.
New Ross Town: Seán Jordan-McDonnell; Daniel Delaney, Michael Fleming, Peter Mackey; Niall Mooney, Jack Handrick, Liam Young. Subs. - Conor Redmond, Henry Rellis, Aaron Canning, Nathan Cummins, Michael Slattery, Alex Slattery, Conor Walsh, Dylan Alfred, Niall Power, Cathal Langton, Cian Murphy, Dylan Drea.
Referee: John Diskin.