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Sunday 22 September 2019

Five-star Sky Blues sink youthful Town

Soccer: Wexford football league - North End United 5, Longford Town 1

Craig McCabe of North End United puts pressure on Babatunde Animashaun of Longford Town.
Craig McCabe of North End United puts pressure on Babatunde Animashaun of Longford Town.

Dave Devereux in Ferrycarrig Park

Four unanswered goals in a devastating 15-minute spell at the end of the first-half paved the way for a comfortable North End win over Longford Town in the last 16 of the Leinster Senior Cup at Ferrycarrig Park on Tuesday.

Adam Beary, Paul 'Spot' Murphy (penalty), Alan Rhodes and Niall Connolly all hit the back of the net in that period of total dominance.

The industrious Kyle Dempsey added a fifth on the hour mark and, although Longford substitute Bradley Okaidja pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute, it did little to dampen the spirits of the Sky Blues.

The victory sets up a mouth-watering quarter-final meeting with Premier Division outfit Bohemians in Dalymount Park, a test which the management team of John Godkin and Gary Dempsey are sure to relish after their convincing win over a team from the second tier of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland.

Admittedly, it was a youthful Longford Town outfit that they disposed of, with the midlanders putting their faith in their Under-19s, but a slick North End showed more than enough to suggest they will be hard to stop in the Wexford Premier Division this season.

They began the game with a little bit of ring-rustiness, which was to be expected given it was their first competitive outing of the season.

As a result, the visitors had the first sight of goal in the fifth minute, when Thomas McLaughlin picked Paul Murphy's pocket and sent a rising effort over the crossbar.

However, the Belvedere Road crew should have taken the lead three minutes later when Adam Beary fed Kyle Dempsey, but he skewed a left-footed effort wide of the target with the goal gaping.

Longford enjoyed a decent spell after that, with Michael Adebambo showing good strength before blazing wide from a prohibitive angle in the 17th minute, but North End really sprang to life in the latter stages of the first-half.

With 25 minutes on the clock the Wexford side came close to breaking the deadlock when Paul Murphy played a searching pass to Niall Connolly, whose lobbed effort cleared the goalkeeper, but trickled wide.

A minute later they were at it again when Craig McCabe's inviting cross from the right was met by their other full-back Dale Flynn, but his effort flew off target.

It looked like it was only a matter of time, and that belief was proved to be correct in the 32nd minute when Alan Rhodes played a lovely through ball to Adam Beary.

The attacker kept his cool to take the ball around goalkeeper Jack Kelly, and he managed to squeeze his shot in between the netminder and retreating defender Daniel Ridge.

North End survived a close call in the 35th minute when an attempted cross from Kristian Crawford had to be clawed away from just under the crossbar by Lee Walker, but they were handed the opportunity to put one foot in the last eight moments later when the marauding Dale Flynn was upended for a penalty.

Paul Murphy stepped up to take the spot-kick and showed admirable calmness to roll the ball to the net, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

It's sage advice to strike while the iron is hot, and North End certainly did that, plundering two more goals before the change of ends to put the tie to bed.

In the 42nd minute Adam Beary turned his marker inside out before squaring the ball to Alan Rhodes, and the finish matched the approach play as the midfielder's sweet strike gave the netminder no chance.

In first-half injury time it was four, with Kyle Dempsey deftly heading Craig McCabe's delivery into the path of Niall Connolly, and the Republic of Ireland under-age international showed great composure to slide the ball to the net.

With their passage to the last eight in the bag, North End were always bound to take their foot off the pedal after the break, and Longford should have pulled a goal back four minutes after the change of ends when Aaron McCabe was put in the clear, but he dragged his shot wide.

Although they may not have hit the same heights as they did towards the end of the first-half, the Sky Blues still looked like adding to their tally and threatened to do just that in the 55th minute.

Paul Murphy sprayed a beautiful ball to Adam Beary on the right and, when his cross fell to Ciarán Carthy, the youngster was unlucky to see his effort deflected wide.

Carthy was the provider in the 60th minute as his delivery found the feet of Craig McCabe, with the defender turning sharply but shooting straight at Kelly.

A minute later they did have their fifth when Paul Murphy ran on to a sublime Niall Connolly back-heel and stroked it into the path of Kyle Dempsey, who got the goal his efforts deserved.

Longford kept plugging away and got their chance to take a crumb of comfort from the game when Babatunde Animashaun showed quick feet before being taken down for a penalty, with Bradley Okaidja drilling the ball to the left-hand corner of the net from twelve yards.

North End would have liked to have kept a clean sheet, but it won't have caused them any sleepless nights as they dream of tackling Premier Division big boys Bohemians in the quarter-final.

North End United: Lee Walker, Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Robin Dempsey, Dale Flynn, Ciarán Carthy, Alan Rhodes, Paul 'Spot' Murphy (capt.), Niall Connolly, Adam Beary, Kyle Dempsey. Subs. - Ayman Youssef for Flynn (65), Daryll Power for Connolly (75), Tony Crosbie for Carthy (81).

Longford Town: Jack Kelly, Tumelo Tlou, Evan O'Connor, Daniel Ridge, Kristian Crawford, Michael Adebambo, Thomas McLaughlin, Dylan Glancy, Babatunde Animashaun, Cian Kavanagh, Aaron McCabe (capt.). Subs. - Patrick O'Sullivan for Kavanagh (HT), Ben Lynch for Crawford (HT), Bradley Okaidja for Adebambo (52).

Referee: Andrew Mullally (Waterford).

Wexford People

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