Saturday 20 January 2018

Four-in-a-row for North End United

Dean Goodison

North End United celebrate after winning the Under-15 Cup final
North End United celebrate after winning the Under-15 Cup final
Marcus McCarthy of North End United closes in on Callum Gondard of Forth Celtic

North End United completed a stunning four-in-a-row as they drove past Forth Celtic to take the Wexford and District Schoolboys Under-15 Cup in Mayglass on Friday evening last.

North End United 3 Forth Celtic 1

The Hollygrove side have now won the cup in their last four seasons starting with the Under-12 tournament against New Ross Celtic in 2012, and continuing with victories against Shelburne and Ferns in the following years.

This was the closest of those four finals as Forth Celtic put in superb performance but simply came up against a quality side who were determined to complete a perfect season of fifteen wins out of their fifteen games played in league Division 1 and Cup.

North End started brightly, mixing attacking moves through the middle with bursts from the wings. Sean Murphy darted in and forced Jack O'Leary into a smart save before Ciaran Carty volleyed wide a minute later.

Celtic went close themselves when Darragh Furlong played in Tiarnan Dempsey but the winger saw his shot well saved by Noel Heffernan. However, the more cohesive side were attacking the other end and soon they had a great chance to lead.

Liam Godkin found himself high up the pitch and put in a solid tackle to win the ball back in the Forth Celtic area. He turned to offload but was taken down from behind for a stone-wall penalty. Shane Pettit stepped up, sent O'Leary the wrong way but sprayed it wide of the post.

However, the disappointment was short lived. In the seventeenth minute Carty slipped Sean Murphy in and he coolly finished past O'Leary. If the first was clinical, the second was classy a minute later when the same man latched on to a Cian Foley pass and clipped over the Celtic 'keeper to the net.

The second quarter proved to be fairly uneventful as United pressed without adding to their advantage. Celtic needed to respond after the interval and did just that, pulling a goal back from a Furlong header from Tiernan Dempsey's free-kick in the 37th minute.

Winning three cups in a row brings a calmness in adversity. United didn't panic and went close through Pettit, Murphy, Carty and Leon Sinnott as the pressure mounted.

The clincher arrived fifteen minutes into the half when O'Leary saved Murphy's effort only for Carty to latch onto the rebound and strike to the net.

Celtic's best chance to halve the deficit came and went when Cian Foley made a superb last-gasp tackle to deny Darragh Furlong as North End held without any other real scares to secure the cup.

NORTH END UNITED: Noel Heffernan (capt.); Liam Godkin, Darragh Murphy Howell, Cian Foley, Reece Murphy; Shane Pettit, Kyle Scallan; Leon Sinnott, Ciaran Carty, Claude Flynn; Sean Murphy. Subs. - Cian Kinlough for Sinnott (46), Marcus McCarthy for Godkin (57), Joshua Murphy for Flynn (64), Cian Mac Aogain for Pettit (67).

FORTH CELTIC: Jack O'Leary; Cathal Dowd, Ben Morris, Shane Walsh, Oisin Waters; Adam Feery, Conor Devereux, Jack Byrne (capt.), Kevin Breen, Tiarnan Doyle; Darragh Furlong. Subs. - Justin Moran for Waters (36), Callum Gondard for Feery (36), Evan Farrell for Dowd (52), Ryan Cashin for Morris (53).

REFEREE: Derek Campion.

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