U15 Premier League
Inter Kenmare 1 Park 2
Park U15s made the long trip to Kenmare on Saturday morning last with hopes of back-to back victories following their National Cup win a fortnight ago. Shorn of the services of John O’Connor, Earnan Ferris and Adam Sheehy through injury, the club’s U14s helped out and Messiah Chirwa, Cianan Cooney, Colin Doody and Ben Hanafin were drafted in to bolster the squad, which also featured new signing, keeper Gavin O’Brien.
Park started well and were very comfortable in possession, especially when building from the back, where James Charles was very accurate in possession and he was ably supported by Marc Brick and Adam Walker who were very solid throughout. Leon Gallagher and Jack Twamley were controlling midfield, with Dan Fisher and Sean Kedzierski raiding down the flanks and David Callaghan a threat in behind the homesters defence. The pressure paid off when a typical Park move split the Inter defence and when the ball broke to Cianan Cooney 12 yards out, he smashed in high into the net to give the Tralee lads a deserved lead. Kenmare refused to buckle however and were right back in the game shortly after, when a long-range shot eluded Gavin O’Brien to level matters. It was nip and tuck from there to half time although Park had just about regained the initiative with the introduction of Chirwa, Doody and Hanafin.
On the resumption, Park regained control, particularly with the introduction of Darragh Walsh into central defence where his pace and strength were clearly evident. This also released warrior captain Ryan Guerin into midfield where he immediately stabilized proceedings and was complimented by the re-introduction of Gallagher who started to pick holes in the Kenmare defence with his range of passing, which continually released the dangerous Doody down the right flank. Matt Healy also entered the fray and gave the visitors another option down the opposite wing.
The pressure finally told when Chirwa picked out the mercurial Cooney’s superbly timed run with an exquisite pass inside the box and he made no mistake to make it 2-1 to Park. In fact, Cooney was only denied a hat-trick when his 20-yard shot came back off the crossbar with the keeper beaten. To their credit, Inter never gave up and pressed to the finish, but with Walsh rock-solid, Charles and Hanafin steadfast while also carrying the ball out of defence and Twamley and Walker back in the action to reinforce the rearguard, Park saw the game out impressively to claim the spoils.
Park: O’Brien, Walker, Charles, Guerin, Brick, Twamley, Gallagher, Kedzierski, Cooney, Fisher, Callaghan, Walsh, Healy, Hanafin, Chirwa, Doody
Special thanks to Ken, Dominik, John Walker, Con Healy, Andy “coffee” Fisher and Denis ”The Boxer” Hanafin for providing transport.