2-0 up. Surrender a 2 goal lead. Final score 3-2. Sound familiar? Read last weeks report vs Listowel Celtic and you might just think you were reading the same thing all over again. However this time the young men from the Park got the result they should have got the week before. What a game! Every player on both sides gave their all and this was truly a game that could have gone either way. Conor Higgins, who had a superb game, gave Park the lead after 5 minutes and unbelievably this was the only score of the half.
Play swung from end to end and good goalkeeping from Aaron Ward along with his crossbar kept Kingdom Boys at bay. Conor Higgins and Kevin Browne from the Park were having a great tussle with David O’Connor and Mikey Kelliher in midfield. Ruairi O’Kelly was back to the Ruairi we knew on the left side of midfield and on the right Michael O’Gara was being the usual torment to the opposition.
1-0 at half time playing against a strong wind, the Park boys would have been happy enough with their first half toil. John Ward and Dylan Casey were playing out of their skins, proving time and time again that they are amongst the best full backs around while James Rusk, upfront and later in midfield had run himself to a standstill and still wanted more. In the ninth minute of the second half Park won a free 5 yards inside the Kingdom Boys half. Up stepped Sean Carmody, and under the expert guidance of the legendary Jack Moriarty, he unleashed a superb shot to the corner of the Kingdom Boys net. 2-0. Looking good? This Park team don’t do things the easy way. 13 minutes in and Matt Lukco,who was playing a blinder, threw himself in front of a goalbound effort and when the ball hit his hand, the referee had little option but to show Matt a red card and award a penalty. Darragh Louth calmly slotted away the spot kick. 10 men, 22 minutes to go! With quality players all over the pitch it was inevitable that Kingdom Boys would begin to turn their numerical advantage into opportunities. In the 25th minute of the second half Dylan Robinson drew Kingdom Boys level from a corner which he headed expertly to the net. 10 men! 10 minutes to go! A two goal lead surrendered once again. Step into the breach the wonderful subs. Tomas Burke, Josh Wadding, Donagh McMahon, Alfie Christie and the rock solid Shane Jordan in goals. What a contribution these boys made. Just over a minute later, Alfie put the Kingdom Boys defence under pressure and from the resultant passage of play Josh Wadding played Thomas Burke in and his left legged pile driver nearly broke the net. Cue 13 minutes (including extra time )of non stop Kingdom Boys pressure. Every one of the Park boys put their bodies on the line in the last ten minutes. Josh, Michael, Sean and Dylan all have scars to prove their commitment and they may have felt a little hard done by when a few referring decisions were surprisingly awarded against them towards the end but they held out with huge courage and defiance. Despite a last minute free from Kingdom Boys on the edge of the square, the Park lads prevailed to secure the points that send them back to the top of the table. We played against a very good Kingdom Boys team who are more than likely Champions elect and wish them all the best for the rest of the season. They took this defeat like champions.
We now look forward to the cup quarter final against the same opposition and hope that we can repeat the performance.
A special note of thanks to our support on the night. From the chairman to the coaches and parents who attended, we offer a huge thank you.
It was brilliant to have you all there when we needed you. Great to see the coaches from the Kerry Schoolboy League in attendance also. You are always welcome.
Training Monday at 7.30pm and Friday at 6pm.
Panel on the night were : Aaron Ward, John Ward, Dylan Casey, Matt Lukco, Sean Carmody, Kevin Browne, Michael O’Gara, Conor Higgins, James Rusk, Niall Sertuxta, Ruairi O’Kelly Donagh McMahon, Shane Jordan, Thomas Burke, Alfie Christie, Josh Wadding and Adam Ward. Slatts and Gearoid were injured while Robin was unavailable.
Report by P.Carmody