Friday 23 August 2019

Rovers supreme

Shamrock Rovers 4 Fethard Rangers 0

The Shamrock Rovers squad
The Shamrock Rovers squad
Fethard Rangers prior to Saturday’s game in Enniscorthy

Dean Goodison

The Fethard juggernaut, that has seen them blitz a path to the top of the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer Under-13 Division 1A table and to the Cup final, came crashing to a halt on Saturday in Peter Quinn Park.

Shamrock Rovers were out of options, as they simply had to win to force a play-off for the league title and they did just that.

From the first whistle to the last they went after their unbeaten opponents and ground them down with a supreme work ethic and plenty of class.

From back to front they were magnificent, defending as a team, attacking as a unit. Dapo Abidoye was inspirational in midfield in the first-half, a real driving force that his team-mates fed off.

Rovers had most of the ball in the first few minutes but their opening goal was still a bit of a bolt out of the blue.

When the ball found its way to Jay Hogan on the edge of the area he had one thing in mind: swivel and get off a shot.

He caught his strike sweetly, and the ball whipped across the face of Aaron Doyle between the posts and settled in the bottom corner of the Fethard net. It was the perfect fillip for the side desperate for the three points.

Rangers won a free-kick on the edge of the area when Cillian Byrne was fouled but Jamie Fitzpatrick stood up strong to Eoin Whelan's testing dead-ball, much like he did later in the half in similar circumstances.

Otherwise it was all Shamrock Rovers. Two minutes after his dipping volley from 40 yards out flew wide, Abidoye picked up Shadrack Onwubiko's pass and rattled a stunning low drive to the Fethard net for 2-0.

Under the cosh at the break, the seasiders emerged with a purpose. They looked particularly dangerous from set-pieces and rattled the woodwork on a couple of occasions, with both Adam O'Grady and Jake Molloy testing the frame with headers.

The next goal was destined to be vital and it was Shamrock Rovers who got it.

Jay Hogan did superbly to block a clearance into the path of his captain, Seán Fitzpatrick, and the attacker rounded Aaron Doyle and calmly side-footed to an empty net.

In the last minute of normal time Rovers completed their best performance of the season with a fourth goal. Fitzpatrick was provider this time, squaring across the box for Abidoye to volley home from close range.

As the sides finished level on top of the table after ten games, a play-off will be needed in the coming weeks to determine who takes the Under-13 Division 1A crown.

Shamrock Rovers: Jamie Fitzpatrick; Gary Kennedy, George Spencer, Paudie O'Brien, Jamie Keeley; Cian O'Connor, Dapo Abidoye, Darragh Redmond; Jay Hogan, Shadrack Onwubiko, Seán Fitzpatrick (capt.). Subs. (rolling) - Rhian Moore, James O'Leary, Toby Odunhami.

Fethard Rangers: Aaron Doyle; Bill Nunan, Morgan Ellis, Adam O'Grady, Conor McLaughlin; Ciarán Dunne, Jake Molloy (capt.), Seán Nunan; Kyle Baker, Cillian Byrne, Eoin Whelan. Subs. (rolling) - Shane Finn, A.J. Farrelly, Cian Swan, Kean Molloy, Finn Pilkington.

Referee: Patrick Cashman.

Wexford People

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