Cloughbawn among the goals in classic
Newpark contribute to fine contest
While the powers that be in the FAI attempt to rid the country of this type of contest, Cloughbawn and Newpark United showed exactly why these competitions should remain in a classic Wexford and District Under-11 Cup tie in Clonroche on Saturday.
Cloughbawn 9 Newpark United 4
The score might say there was five goals between the sides at the end, but this was a much closer contest than that suggests, with the hosts only leading 5-4 until a burst of goals in the last eight minutes put the game to bed.
Newpark came into the clash on a fantastic run, nine points clear in Division 3 with just five games left to play. However, Cloughbawn have upset the apple cart this season and they sit just one win away from a historic Division 1 title.
Therefore, it came as no surprise when the two went at each other from the kick-off. The visitors went closest to opening the scoring in the first ten minutes, but quality defending and a fantastic Shane Kehoe save from Colin Ivors kept United at bay. Meanwhile, Mary Kaylan poked narrowly wide at the other end.
Midway through the half Newpark did take the lead when Brian Ivors broke from midfield and drilled to the hosts' net. Shocked into life, Shayne McDonald crossed to the edge of the area for Cloughbawn and Lucas Fitzpatrick fired a rocket past Blaise Kearney to level the tie.
With Brian Ivors and Bryan Roban finding Colin Ivors at will, Newpark had several chances to net again as the half wore on. However, Fitzpatrick was proving unstoppable from range. He made it 3-1 with two thunderbolts, both assisted by Charlie Murray.
That interval lead looked a little fragile as Newpark attacked after the break. Cody Nolan and Bryan Roban both tested Kehoe but the Cloughbawn 'keeper held strong. A square McDonald ball allowed Fitzpatrick to fire to the top corner to make it 4-1 just six minutes after the break.
When Fitzpatrick added his fifth two minutes later the game looked over. Yet no team moves nine points clear at the summit without having plenty of grit and determination. Colin Ivors immediately pulled one back after being played in by Roban.
Suddenly Cloughbawn were jittery. Roban narrowly fired a penalty wide but Colin Ivors nabbed his second to make it 5-3 with ten minutes remaining.
When Ivors completed his hat-trick, nodding in Dylan Byrne's corner in the next attack, it was game on.
The tenth goal was always going to be vital and Cloughbawn got it with eight minutes remaining. Killian Tierney applied the finish after a defence-splitting pass by Brian Ivors. At this stage the phenomenal effort Newpark had put in began to catch up with them.
McDonald's deft header made it 7-4 and he netted again from close range moments later. Tierney wrapped up the scoring with a tap-in in the final minute as his side booked a quarter-final spot in style.
Cloughbawn: Shane Kehoe; Oisín Rochford, Kevin Barron; Charlie Murray, Lucas Fitzpatrick, Cody Doran; Mary Kaylan. Subs. (rolling) - Ryan Sinnott, Shayne McDonald, Killian Tierney, Dean Brown.
Newpark United: Blaise Kearney; Mikey Quigley, Dylan Byrne, Jay Kavanagh; Brian Ivors, Bryan Roban; Colin Ivors. Subs. (rolling) - Oisín Devereux, Isaac Kearney, Jim Quigley, Seán Redmond, Harry Greenwood, Cathal O'Neill, Cody Nolan, Ronan Byrne.
Referee: Kevin Murphy.