Flying Forth shine
Joey's defeated in U-11 Cup decider
Magnificent Forth Celtic were in irresistible form as they held off a spirited St. Joseph's challenge to claim the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-11 Cup at Curracloe on Saturday.
Forth Celtic 3 St.Joseph's 1
The two sides are locked together in a ferocious battle for the Division 1 title and it's easy to see why after this game. Both teams played superb football, both looked to slide the ball to feet, and the passing and movement was exceptional.
Celtic came into the final winning their five previous cup games by an average of over five goals per game.
They also have a perfect league record and are used to winning games.
Therefore, it might have came as a bit of a shock when their opponents had the better of the opening ten minutes.
While the Kilmuckridge boys looked dangerous in that spell, the excellent Forth Celtic defence limited them to just one chance. It came when Mark Doyle broke away from the Murrintown club's defence but Nathan Roche was alert to the danger and blocked with his feet.
Celtic threatened for the first time in the eleventh minute when 'man of the match' Conor Maher flashed a shot wide.
They went even closer four minutes later when Conor Mullen crashed a shot off the crossbar.
Yet it proved third time lucky for Forth Celtic as Maher slipped a perfect ball between the legs of a defender to release Calum McCleane. On the field less than 60 seconds, McCleane steadied himself and sent a vicious shot high into the roof of M.J. Fox's net.
Flying after the goal, Celtic won a penalty for a handball from Mark Hennessy's cross and Maher stepped up to drive the spot-kick to the left corner of the St. Joseph's goal.
Down 2-0 at the break, the underdogs didn't panic and soon had a great spell.
An excellent run and pass by Lennon Smith saw D.J. Cullen shoot narrowly wide. Then roles were reversed with Smith just missing the target.
The pressure finally told in the tenth minute of the half when Simon Roche fought for and won the ball before squaring to Smith who shot to the Celtic net.
With the pace ratcheted up a level, Kilmuckridge almost equalised. Cullen set Smith clear and he headed over the advancing Roche. However, with the ball bounding towards the goal, James Hegarty got back to hook off the line.
That was as close as St. Joseph's came. Forth Celtic wrapped up the Jack Carthy Memorial Cup when Maher slipped in Conor Mullen seven minutes from time and he put the seal on victory with a cool, low finish to the net.
Forth Celtic: Nathan Roche; Alfie Jeffares, James Hegarty; Mark Hennessy, Conor Maher (capt.), Josh Cooney; Conor Mullen. Subs. (rolling) - Calum McCleane, Paul Goggins, Evan Kelly, also Aaron O'Brien, Alex Lafferty, Kevin McGuckian.
St. Joseph's: M.J. Fox; Brian O'Meara, Simon Roche (capt.), Shane Kehoe; Mark Doyle, D.J. Cullen; Conor Blake. Subs. (rolling) - Lennon Smith, also Cole Blake, Matthew Caulder, Louis Cullen, Jack Donohoe.
Referee: Niall Whelan.