Sinnott the Cushinstown star
Cushinstown were worthy winners in the only soccer match played in Wicklow last weekend, and were happy referee Gerry Boland passed the field as fit to play on in an inspection before the L.F.A. Junior Shield match.
Cushinstown United 5 Redbank United 0
Nicholas Sinnott put in a man of the match performance as he scored four, but his contribution and workrate in a lone striker role were more impressive than his goals.
Cushinstown were a goal up at half-time but in truth they should have been further ahead as they missed a succession of chances. Inside the opening three minutes Sinnott whipped in a free-kick that caused goalkeeper Peter Byrne difficulty, and all he could do was parry it and the team conceded a corner which Seán McGrath ended up heading wide.
A minute later the ball was pulled back for Paudie McGrath on the edge of the box but he just couldn't make contact with it. McGrath had another chance but a defender put his body on the line to block the goalbound shot.
Sinnott's shot when the ball broke from a corner was only cleared by the man on the post, and Seán McGrath had another free header that he put over the bar.
If it sounds like Cushinstown were dominant it's because they were.
Redbank played with three up front but the Cushinstown defence kept them well under wraps and starved them of possession. Sinnott at the other end was chasing down every ball and putting the Redbank defence under continued pressure.
Redbank's Steven Kenny worked hard to earn his side's first corner on 23 minutes and John Wallace had their first shot on target a couple of minutes later, but it was straight at goalkeeper Brendan O'Neill.
Cushinstown's James Whelan took a quick free that saw Redbank goalkeeper Peter Byrne scamper across his goal to make a wonderful save, and Seán McGrath missed another glorious headed opportunity.
Cushinstown eventually broke the deadlock on 37 minutes. Paudie McGrath drove from midfield and showed some great skill to set up Sinnott who touched it past the defender and finished calmly to the net.
Sinnott had another chance just before the break when, even though he was surrounded by two defenders, he won possession, found space and just shot wide. Sinnott's performance was full of hard running and his four goals were just rewards.
One of Cushinstown's tactics when their goalkeeper, Brendan O'Neill, got possession was to kick it long for Sinnott to chase down. It didn't produce a goal but it kept the Redbank defence on their toes.
The second-half began brightly with both sides having chances. Redbank's John Wallace caused O'Neill to tip his free over the bar while Sinnott hit the post.
Cushinstown made it two in the 48th minute when James Whelan's cross was only cleared to the edge of the box and Colin Whelan smashed it home.
The game lost some of its intensity after the goal and ten minutes elapsed before another chance materialised, once again for Sinnott who shot high over the bar.
Five minutes later though he scored his second when Brendan O'Neill's kick-out was let bounce in the Redbank defence and Sinnott looped the ball over the onrushing Peter Byrne.
Cushinstown had more good chances minutes later when defender Seán McGrath's fourth free header was blocked on the line and in the resultant scramble for the ball Martin Lacey missed when it was easier to score.
Sinnott got his hat-trick on 69 minutes when he got beyond the final defender to drill the ball home. He was a little greedy with his next shot from the edge of the box with a team-mate free in space, but who could blame him?
Cushinstown got a penalty moments later when a great ball by winger James Whelan into Jason Dunne's path put him through on goal, only for a challenge from behind by Jamie Salley.
It was a contentious decision as it looked like Salley got a touch on the ball, but the penalty was given. Dunne's penalty was saved well by goalkeeper Peter Byrne, and he was up quickly again to pounce on the rebound.
Sinnott added his fourth with ten minutes to go with an almost carbon copy of his second when another long ball bounced in his path and he lobbed Byrne in the Redbank goal.
Sinnott will rightfully take all the plaudits but there were good performances all through the Cushinstown team.
The defence and midfield never gave Redbank a chance to take the ball down and string some passes together, and Redbank's chances were all from long distance and easily saved.
Jason Dunne was moved from his striker role out to the right wing and he was always an outlet for a pass.
He was full of pace and linked up well, but his crossing could be better.
Redbank played with three in midfield and perhaps a change in tactics could have been better. They needed an extra body in midfield to cope with Cushinstown's four, especially the wingers who looked to stretch the field as much as possible.
With a body less in attack it could also have given their strikers more space.
However, the day belonged to Nicholas Sinnott whose skill, workrate and perseverance earned him a well-deserved four-goal tally.
Cushinstown United: Brendan O'Neill; Kevin Doyle, Niall Gaffney, Seán McGrath, Aaron Gaffney; Martin Lacey, Paudie McGrath, Colin Whelan, James Whelan; Nicholas Sinnott, Jason Dunne.
Redbank United: Peter Byrne; Thomas Byrne, Mark Sinnott, Gavin Kelly, James Salley; James O'Connor, Gabriel Kearney, John Wallace; Steven Kenny, Gary Scallan, Stephen Payne. Subs. - Jack Taylor for Scallan (41), Chris Scallan for Kenny (HT), Graham Sutton for O'Connor (57).
Referee: Gerry Boland.