Bunclody 5 Ballymurn Celtic 1
The Bunclody bandwagon bounded on apace on Tuesday as their superbly talented side beat Ballymurn Celtic to claim the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-11 Division 2A title.
The victory, their 15th straight between league and cup this season, was necessary to take the title with three games remaining but was far from easy.
The big difference between the sides was the clinical nature of Bunclody, as they gobbled up their chances and were so slick in the attacking third.
They face Division 1 champions Cloughbawn in the cup semi-final, and what an attacking, enthralling game that promises to be. If any side in the county can stall that runaway juggernaut, it's this confident Bunclody group.
On the receiving end in this game were Ballymurn. They certainly shouldn't be downhearted by this result, as they were closer than the score suggests and are a team to keep an eye on next season. In Chloe Murphy they might even have the best young female player in the county.
Murphy formed part of a solid three-person defensive shield that included the no-nonsense Emma Lawlor and Kevin Berry in the early stages. They were excellent as a trio, preventing Bunclody from creating clearcut chances.
Indeed, Ballymurn had the best opportunity of the opening quarter. It came when Jack Redmond picked out Evan O'Leary to the left of goal. Alone for a split second, the Celtic striker got the ball out of his feet and shot but his effort whizzed wide of the far post.
When Bunclody did take the lead in the 14th minute it came out of nothing. Jake Nolan didn't seem to be too threatening when he picked the ball out 25 yards from goal. However, he took one step and left fly, thundering a rocket in off the post to make it 1-0.
While it was clearly a dagger through the Ballymurn heart, they didn't crumble. The second in the 19th minute was just as speculative, coming from an Oisín O'Leary free-kick that whipped past a crowded goalmouth and an unfortunate Ryan Doyle.
If the first two carried an element of luck, the same couldn't be said for the third which O'Leary supremely volleyed home after a succulent Des O'Connor cross. Now playing further forward, Chloe Murphy sidestepped a defender and fired narrowly wide in the 23rd minute.
Just before the break, Bunclody put the game to bed with O'Leary completing his hat-trick after Ciarán Scott's initial shot had been saved by Doyle. A reshuffle at the break saw things become a bit tighter in the second-half, but O'Leary still added a fourth from another free-kick to make it 5-0.
Celtic battled on to the very end and got their just desserts three minutes from time. Corrin Murphy did superbly to win the ball back, and Chloe Murphy did the rest, skipping past the last defender before firing past Jack Reck at the second attempt. Yet, it didn't dampen Bunclody celebrations at full-time as they officially became champions.
Bunclody: Jack Reck; Adam Dunne, Des O'Connor; Luke Burke, Jake Nolan (capt.), Ciarán Scott; Oisín O'Leary. Subs. - Eamonn Murphy, Paddy Scott, Ryan Butler, Seán Dunbar, Killian O'Leary, Ryan Kavanagh.
Ballymurn Celtic: Ryan Doyle (capt.); Emma Lawlor, Chloe Murphy, Kevin Berry; Connor O'Brien, Jack Redmond; Evan O'Leary. Sub. (rolling) - Corrin Murphy.
Referee: Micheál Franklin.