Tuesday 23 January 2018

Honours even

Oylegate clinch U11 title in playoff

Dean Goodison

John Fortune of Oylegate United is pursued by Alan Connors (Killenagh Wanderers)
John Fortune of Oylegate United is pursued by Alan Connors (Killenagh Wanderers)
Oylegate. Back (from left), Adam Nolan, TJ Frost, Conall Byrne, Ned Maher, John Fortune, Aaron Quigley, Cian Cullen. Front (from left), Adam Moulton, Mikie Doyle, Paul Barnes, Shane Doran, Jack Whelan, Tomas Doyle.

With the title at stake, Oylegate and Killenagh played out a thrilling draw on Tuesday in Crossabeg sports grounds, meaning a play-off was needed to decided the winners of the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer League Under-11 Division 3A crown.

Olylegate 2 Killenagh 2

Oylegate eventually took that play-off 6-3 in Curracloe two nights later, but the clubs came into Tuesday's game deadlocked on 30 points out of a possible 33. Oylegate won the meeting of the sides earlier in the season but let their advantage slip when they were surprised by Camolin Celtic in January.

Since that shock they had both been perfect in the league to set up this titanic struggle in which they each not only had a lead, but were forced to claw back a deficit too. Even then there was still time for 22 goal-less minutes at the end of the second-half as legs began to tire and the ferocious pace dropped.

Killenagh played the first-half with a strong breeze at their backs and started the brighter. Only a brilliant defensive header from Conall Byrne prevented Billy Lee from giving the visitors the lead in the fourth minute.

Then, on the counter-attack, Oylegate took the lead after Shane Doran played the provider role down the left wing. He hared away on his own, and swung over a superb cross to the centre where Mikey Doyle volleyed low to Liam Maguire's net.

Killenagh played with the lively duo of Taylor Dench and Cathal Murphy up front. It was a tough ask for Byrne, Adam Moulton and Adam Nolan to keep them quiet but by and large they did a fantastic job under severe pressure.

The Ballygarrett boys did win some of the battles, including when they equalised in the 13th minute. Brilliant work by Alan Connors on the right wing resulted in Murphy collecting the ball, darting in on goal and shooting to the net.

Four minutes later the visitors had the lead. Again it was the same duo involved with Connors the provider for the deadly Murphy. Killenagh continued to press looking for a crucial third goal but it didn't come and they got to the change-around 2-1 ahead.

The lead evaporated just three minutes after the resumption. The goal came from the move of the match as Doyle fed John Fortune bursting through the centre, and he slid in Aaron Quigley who side-footed past Gary Smyth for the equaliser.

Oylegate had the better chances in the remainder of the second-half but the Killenagh defence of Seán Og Doyle, T.J. Redmond and Daryn Prendergast were superb and the clearcut opportunities dried up. It was only fitting that the title went to a play-off because there was very little between these teams and either would have been a worthy champion.

Star man - Cathal Murphy (Killenagh): In a game of limited clear chances, Murphy knew where the net was when his opportunities arose.

Oylegate: Paul Burns; Adam Moulton, Conall Byrne (capt.), Adam Nolan; Shane Doran, John Fortune, Ned Maher, Aaron Quigley; Mikey Doyle. Subs. (rolling) - T.J. Frost, Cian Cullen, Jack Whelan, Tomás Doyle.

Killenagh: Liam Maguire; Seán Og Doyle, T.J. Redmond, Daryn Prendergast; Alan Connors, Michael Bolger (capt.), Billy Lee; Taylor Dench, Cathal Murphy. Subs. (rolling) - James Prendergast, Oisín O'Loughlin, Gary Smyth, Daniel Hersey-Kenny, Dylan Hersey-Kenny.

Referee: Mick Farrell.

Wexford People

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