SFAI National Cup U-14
Villa FC 0 Park 2
A large contingent of supporters, parents and players made the long trip to Waterford city on Saturday for this last 32 National Cup tie. Villa FC are probably the biggest club in the South East and justifiably had high hopes for their young side.
However, this Park team have been playing well of late and they themselves harbour high hopes of another sustained run in this competition.
Park settled to their task early and created a good chance for Seán O’Connor whose shot produced a fine save from the big strong Villa keeper. The resultant corner wasn’t cleared and another corner led to the first goal on six minutes. Colin Doody’s fine delivery was met by Josh Connolly who expertly finished to the Villa net.
Park continued to play the better football but with a series of frees being awarded to Villa it was inevitable that the tide would turn a little. The Park defense was resolute however and stood strong when pressure came on them. Seán O’Connell in particular stood out and had a number of timely interventions to ensure Park kept their noses in front.
Park had further chances from Seán O’Connor and should probably have gone two ahead on the stroke of half time but Messiah Chirwa was denied by another fine save by the Scott Pearson in the Villa goals. It remained 1-0 to the away side and they were certainly worth their lead.
Cillian Murphy’s introduction at the start of the second half created some consternation in the Villa defense and he had a number of chances to stretch the Park lead but his shots were blocked or saved by some last ditch heroics.
The game then got a little scrappy from a Park point of view and Villa got more room to play in the middle of the field. No doubt that the long journey and heavy pitch was now taking effect on young legs.
Villa created two good chances during this period but on both occasions Liam Carmody was quickly of his line to ensure both Villa forwards had little to aim for and their efforts went wide.
Conor Kerins in particular, the Sean’s, Hill and O’Connell, Messiah Chirwa and Colin Doody then upped their game a level to lift the siege.
Kerins may not be the biggest in stature but he has the heart of a lion and his continuous tackling and breaking up of quality Villa play was outstanding. Hill and O’Connell were immense at the back and further up the field Chirwa and Doody were combining well to put Park back in the driving seat.
Fifteen minutes into the second half came the deserved second goal. O’Connell and the hard working Cianan Cooney combined to create a shooting opportunity for Cooney and his half shot, half cross was met by Chirwa at the back post. His shot hit Doody on the way in and Park were two in front.
Thereafter Villa poured on the pressure but Luke O’Connell and Kieran O’Connor, who were again being tested continuously on their side, stood strong.
David Feeley, now on and buzzing created a couple of half chances for himself and for Chirwa but Park were denied a third. Samuel Aladesanusi had a good chance but was unfortunate the ball bobbled just before his strike while Ben Hanafin and Cian O’Neill entered the fray to close the game out for a Park team who ran out deserved winners of a really good game.
A huge thank you to all who travelled with the team, providing drives and fantastic backing. A special thank you also to Villa FC who provided a very warm welcome and were most gracious hosts before and after the game. Thanks also to our ball boys, Jamie and Shane and to our expert photographer Brenda Doody.
Danny Diggins and in particular Padraig McCannon have worked diligently with this team over the past few months and all of us involved in the team want to acknowledge their efforts. Take no notice of Colm Poga!
Finally, it was outstanding to see Christy Leahy make the long trip to Waterford to support the boys. A gentleman and great supporter of all things Park.
On a side note it was great to warm up on PST sports newly installed all-weather faculty in Villa. Perhaps the Tralee influence helped us off to the good start.
Liam Carmody, Samuel Aladesanusi, Seán O’Connell, Seán Hill, Kieran O’Connor, Conor Kerins, Colin Doody, Josh Connolly, Messiah Chirwa, Seán O’Connor, Cianan Cooney, Ben Hanafin, Luke O’Connell, Killian Murphy, David Feeley and Cian O’Neill