We played Kingdom Boys away on Monday 14th in the quarter final of the cup. On a fine Spring evening with the sunshine beating down and a good crowd watching the two teams once again served up a very exciting game.
Unlike the league game the week before this time it was Kingdom boys who opened the scoring after only 8 minutes. Darragh Louth crossed and Dylan Robinson took the ball down well in the square to score from close range. Straight away the Park boys responded and after a good period of pressure they won a free on the left hand side of the Kingdom Boys box. When the Boys failed to clear from this Thomas Burke popped up to slam the ball into the net for his second goal in as many games. Thirteen minutes gone and from here until the half time whistle it was nip and tuck. Gearoid Fitzgerald in the Park goals got his hand to a Robinson free kick while at the other end Michael Slattery came closest for Park. Our midfield and particularly Michael O’Gara and Adam Ward had run themselves to a standstill to try and minimise the chances that Mr Robinson and co could create.
That effort took its toll and the first twenty minutes of the second half was all Kingdom Boys. The Park lost James Rusk and Adam Ward, both of whom had played very well in the first half, in quick succession to injuries and even Niall Sertuxta, who had replaced Rusk, had to make way himself when his hamstring left him down. The disruptions probably didn’t help at that stage of the game but an inspired back four of John Ward, Kevin Browne, Sean Carmody and Dylan Casey as well as the magnificent Gearoid Fitzgerald in goals kept Kingdom Boys at bay. It wouldn’t be fair to do a report on this match and not make reference to a save from Fitzgerald in the fourth minute of the second half. Dylan Robinson shot to the top right hand corner of the Park net and most spectators assumed the ball was in the back of the net. They assumed wrong. With a dive and a stretch that any Premiership keeper would be proud of Fitzgerald somehow clawed the ball out from underneath the post and then dived on the rebound. All watching the game gasped in astonishment and applauded this fine piece of goalkeeping loudly.
Slowly but surely our midfield and their replacements settled. Thomas Burke, Alfie Christie, Josh Wadding, Niall Sertuxta and his replacement Shane Jordan began to break up attack after attack.
Up front Robin McCarthy and Michael Slattery were getting more of the ball but were struggling to keep the ball and get shots on goals. It was hard to see where a Park goal would come from but cometh the hour cometh the man. Just as Fitzgerald’s brilliance had to be acknowledged at one end Robin McCarthy’s goal will live long in the memory.
Twenty four minutes of the second half gone and receiving a clearance ten yards into the Kingdom Boys half and just 15 yards in from the side-line, Robin looked up and seeing the Boys keeper slightly of his line he unleashed a superb dipping shot into the right hand corner of the net. Brilliance in the twinkling of an eye from the young Tralee man. Two one, eleven minutes to play. From here on in the Park lads looked comfortable. In midfield they were holding sway and Michael Slattery had a chance which went narrowly wide. Time ebbed on and after five long minutes of added time the referee’s whistle brought great joy and relief to all the Park faithful who were present.
A fine victory over a good Kingdom boys side who took their defeat in a very sporting manner.
On to the semi-finals now which will probably be in the second week of May so plenty of work to be done to ensure we take another step towards silverware. We train on Fridays at 6pm and Mondays at 7.30pm. All players to make a special effort to finish out the season with full attendance for the next few weeks.
Thanks to all the parents and supporters who attend on the night. Great to have you there.
Panel: Gearoid Fitzgerald, John Ward, Dylan Casey, Kevin Browne, Sean Carmody, Michael O’Gara, James Rusk, Thomas Burke, Adam Ward, Michael Slattery, Robin McCarthy, Josh Wadding, Shane Jordan, Niall Sertuxta and Alfie Christie.
Matt Lukco was unfortunately suspended for the tie, we had Aaron Ward and Donagh McMahon were absent due to injury while Ruairi O’Kelly and Conor Higgins were away for some high altitude training.
Report by P.Carmody