Despite dominating the game the Park found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line when they travelled to Athlone to take on the local side, Willow Park, in the last 16 of the Umbro FAI Youths Cup. The game was played in the all weather pitch at Athlone IT and once again, as in the last eight weeks, the weather conditions had a major bearing on the final result. Park played with a strong breeze at their backs in the opening half but were guilty of trying walk the ball into the net and only tested the Willow Park keeper twice.
The first came after a good move started by Adam Barrett and with contributions from James Duggan, Jesse Stafford-Lacey in which they forced a corner out of a second touch from James Duggan, which was taken by Stafford-Lacey and headed goal wards by Adam O’Rourke but was cleared off the line . The second saw Adam O’Rourke link up with Jesse O’Sullivan who laid on the ball for an Adam Barrett shot that was saved at the bottom of the near post by the Willow Park keeper. Having, literally, weathered the storm Willow Park created two chances in the final ten minutes of the half but the difference was they scored goals with both. In the 35th minute the home side floated in a free from the wing from which Evan Dalton chipped the ball over Jack Carmody from twelve yards. Two minutes before the break Eric Kearney who had been creating problems from the start got clear of Ryan Dolan to score with a good finish to the back post.
Segun Duyile and Ferdia O’Brien replace Barrett and Duggan at half time and added a bit of steel to their campaign. With the help of these substitutions and the continued efforts of Jesse O’Sullivan and Adam O’Rourke the Park completely outplayed the home side for the entire second half but with still failed to score. Willow Park scored their third goal deep in injury time and straight from the kick off Jesse O’Sullivan scored a late consolation goal for the Park
Report from C. Leahy , Pictures from P. Barrett .