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End of March beginning of April has seen a busy period for our U15A team. Following a home league game to Newport, we travelled to Birmingham City to play Walsall U15 Academy in a challenge game before returning for a run of games including Janesboro, Summerville and Newcastle West Town.
Newport saw us continue our good league run with a 4-0 home victory. First half goals by Kai Joyce and Leon Kirrane had us ahead at the break with Adam Cummins and Robert O’Sullivan adding two more in the second half. Just rewards for Rob who has been in a rich vein of form and he was again to the fore in a tough game against Janesboro when a moment of magic by Jack O’Connor separated the sides to keep us in contention for the League. An away trip to Summerville followed and goals by Robert O’Sullivan, Leon Kirrane, Chris Nwanko, Ronan O’Dwyer, Max Ivory, Darragh Murray and a sublime header from a corner by Alex Keehan secured our second win in 3 days. 4 goals from Rob brings him to 9 for the season so far!!
In what was a busy week, which included two U16 games, 5 games in 7 days, for some of the boys, we travelled to Newcastle West on Saturday for the Regions Cup Semi Final. In difficult and windy conditions and with little football on offer we took the lead with a wonderful move. Starting from the back with Thomas McCarthy in the left full position we neatly worked the ball to Kai Joyce who cracked in a superb opener. Despite this, however, we found ourselves a goal down at the break when some neat work from NCW saw them counter attack and slip a nice pass inside our defence which the winger managed to squeeze inside the far post. This put both sides level but then a bizarre moment saw us concede a second when on a breakaway advantage we were called back and the home team awarded an indirect free which went straight to the net for a lead goal. Chasing the game, somewhat against the odds, we were caught for a third goal on a breakaway which made the challenge a bit more difficult. However, a change in shape saw us get back into the game when again Kai Joyce was slipped in and finished neatly. Try as we might however we couldn’t find the third goal and NCW progress to the Final as our run ends…
As we shake off the frustrations and disappointment of Saturday we will turn our attention to an away League game against Fairview this week where a good result will be key to our aspirations. Meanwhile congrats to Ronan O’Dwyer, Colm McElwain, Dara Hough and Eoghan Burke members of the U16 Squad who clinched the Premier League on Friday night in an epic battle with fellow hopefuls Regional Utd. Regional came to Annacotty needing a win and in what was a tense affair a man of the match performance by Colm McElwain helped secure the necessary point and title for the U16’s. Well done all.
U16A 0- 0 Regional Utd
Regional Utd came to Annacotty on Friday night needing a win to keep their title aspirations alive against league leaders Aisling Annacotty. Having previously defeated Regional in the away leg,3-0, there was much to play for in this table topping encounter. Regional who have enlisted former Limerick FC, National League player Ethan O’Sullivan to their ranks started the game brightly and showed huge intent forcing 5 corners in the first twenty minutes to pin our side inside their own half. Solid goalkeeping by Colm and resolute defending by Conor Twomey and Eoin Madigan kept Regional at bay but when O’Sullivan launched a thunderbolt deep in the first half it looked as if Regional had achieved their big breakthrough, however, it was not to be as Colm went full length to touch the ball round the post. Two more excellent saves were required to keep Regional at bay and whilst chances were limited for the home side, great work down the right by Joey Ryan, set up Caimin Ayres for the home sides best chance of the half. Nil Nil at half time set us up for a tense second half!!
The second half started as the first had ended with Regional continuing to seek that elusive goal. However, as seen on match day one, when we won away at League favourites Fairview, the preparation for every game, hard work and execution of the game plan have been key to the success of this team. So, it was in Regional, when we won 3-0 and also tonight when despite losing Mark Burchill, who had an outstanding first period, the shape and organisation of the team remained excellent. Indeed, as the game progressed Regional became increasingly frustrated with Hough, Twomey, McGrath and O’Dwyer dominating every challenge allowing Paul Brennan and Eoghan Burke to gain a better hold in midfield, the latter slipping Caimin Ayres through and when he went down in the box the home crowd were left screaming for a penalty!! With time running out Twomey continued to thwart O’Sullivan and when the final whistle blew Aisling Annacotty had done enough to be crowned U16 Premier League champions.
Huge congratulations to coach Shane Ryan, Captain Mark Collins, Colm McElwain, Tom Marsden, Conor Twomey, Eoin Madigan, Dara Hough, Paul Brennan, Mark Burchill, Eoghan Burke, Joey Ryan, Caimhin Ayers, Aidan Walker, Rory Murphy, Ronan O’Dwyer, Ruairi Manning, Mark Donnellan, Sean Fahy, Donnacha O’Dalaigh
Our 13A team lost out in a penalty shootout in the semi-final of the SFAI Regions Cup, against Killorglin. Tough way to lose a match but these boys will bounce back for their next challenge.