Tuesday 12 December 2017

Coughlan wins it for Crossabeg

Brendan Furlong

James Barron of New Ross Celtic is flanked by Crossabeg duo Andy Butler and Conor Maddock
James Barron of New Ross Celtic is flanked by Crossabeg duo Andy Butler and Conor Maddock
Ciaran St. Ledger of New Ross Celtic challenges Crossabeg's Niall Kelly
Anthony Feeney of New Ross Celtic is tracked by Barry Coughlan of Crossabeg

Crossabeg midfielder Barry Coughlan's extra-time header inspired his side to the narrowest of victories over New Ross Celtic 'B' in this exciting Neil O'Sullivan Cup first round game played in Butlersland on Sunday.

New Ross Celtic B 1 Crossabeg2 (AET)

Yet the scoreline did not reflect the flow of traffic towards the home side's goal as Crossabeg were in control for most of the game. However, their lack of finishing power came ever so close to coming back to haunt them, as they only managed to get back level seven minutes from the end having fallen behind to a 30th-minute penalty.

While the Celtic 'B' boys had the ideal start in getting that crucial opening goal, they were unable to double their tally although they came close on a couple of occasions through their quick counter-attacks.

Unfortunately, these broke down in front of goal through some rushed finishing that saw the ball drilled to the wrong side of the posts from very scoreable positions.

Crossabeg, despite dominating across midfield, were struggling to find the breakthrough despite incessant pressure. With their opponents pulling an extra player back to act as sweeper through the second-half, it made life difficult for the visiting side.

In the circumstances they looked on their way out of the cup, as the second-half began to look somewhat bleak until they eventually found a way through with just seven minutes remaining.

From the start, a young Crossabeg outfit were delivering all the flowing football, as Craig and Barry Coughlan were in dominant form in midfield.

With home 'keeper Craig Malone looking uncomfortable under the high ball, Crossabeg peppered the goalmouth with long deliveries, leading to chances for both Eamonn Kelly and Mark O'Connor who pulled efforts to the wrong side of the posts.

Having soaked up much pressure, New Ross Celtic pounced with a quick counter-attack, as Keith Katus played a through ball into the path of Damien Cullen who was tripped as he moved in on goal.

From the resulting penalty, Tommy Lee neatly tucked the ball low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net on the half-hour mark to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Approaching the interval Crossabeg centre-back Paddy Devereux had a downward header from a Niall Kelly cross cleared off the line, leaving the home side with a 1-0 interval lead.

From the early stages of the second-half it appeared as if Crossabeg would over-run the home side as they dominated possession.

They were playing some quality ball out of midfield, but front players Mark O'Connor and Eamonn Kelly were finding it difficult to find a way through the five-man defensive wall being presented by the home side.

Kelly made a couple of darts towards goal using his speed, but on each occasion he was denied by some desperate covering defence. While restricted to infrequent breakaways, the home side did see one fine effort from Anthony Feeney fly just the wrong side of the post after 61 minutes.

As for Crossabeg, they continued to play with great energy, and eventually the breakthrough they had been threatening arrived. Craig Coughlan played a great ball through the centre of a defence that had advanced too far forward, leaving Eamonn Kelly to utilise his speed to get to the ball before advancing 'keeper Malone and stabbing a low shot to the net seven minutes from the end, making it 1-1 and forcing extra-time.

Coming to the end of the first period, Barry Coughlan rose to Alex Wilson's well-floated free-kick to glance a header into the right corner of the net, giving his side a 2-1 lead which they comfortably held to the end.

New Ross Celtic 'B': Craig Malone, James Barron, Kieran St. Ledger, Ken O'Neill, Martin Sullivan, Keith Katus, Eoin Kehoe, Damien Cullen, Tommy Lee, Anthony Feeney, Dylan Murphy. Subs. - Kevin O'Neill, Craig O'Brien, Stuart Power, Dylan Wickham, David Caulfield.

Crossabeg: Conor Keeling, Brian Kelly, Andy Butler, Paddy Devereux, Mark Crosbie, Craig Coughlan, Barry Coughlan, Conor Maddock, Eamonn Kelly, Mark O'Connor, Niall Kelly. Subs. - James Carley, Emmet Fox, Alex Wilson, Dave Berney, Johnny Shortall.

Referee: James Wafer.

Wexford People

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