On a beautiful summer’s evening with perfect conditions for playing football, the AUL Premier A division clash between St Kevin’s Boys v Kilbarrack Utd produced a fine spectacle of the best that junior soccer has to offer. The facilities at Shanowen Rd are second to none and the 150-200 in attendance enjoyed a fine game of football.
After their exertions and the disappointment in the FAI Junior Cup final last Sunday, Kilbarrack unsurprisingly rested some of their star performers with Hattan, Byrne and Kirwan all being left out of the starting eleven. Despite this, it was Kilbarrack who started the game better and should have been one up when a free kick from was headed towards goal by Aaron McHugh but went just wide of the target. St Kevin’s were chasing the game and putting in some serious tackling and Paddy Brophy in particular was lucky to escape without a card for a bad lunge at John Meleady.
Despite Kilbarrack’s early possession, St Kevins came back into the game and it was them who opened the scoring going 1-0 up through an Eoin Mooney headed goal on 30 minutes. Two minutes later the action continued when a two footed tackle from St Kevin’s Paul McMillan only received a yellow card. However, from the resulting free kick, the ball was cleared only as far as Dean Gibbons who struck a beautiful drive past Hannon who could only get his fingertips to it. 1-1.
Almost as soon as St Kevin’s had tipped off they lost the ball and after a great ball through from the impressive Dean Gibbons to Mark Townley, he raced through on goal and produced a sublime deft chip over the goalkeeper that any top level player would be proud of to make it 2-1 to Kilbarrack Utd. The game exploded into life at this point and the referee was a busy man with the tough tackles that were flying in from both sides. St Kevin’s had their chances and neat possession led to a good strike from Sean Tracey from 30 yards but it sailed over the bar. Half time ended at 2-1 to Kilbarrack.
It was St Kevin’s who started brightly with some good passing in the centre of midfield but the first chance fell to Kilbarrack’s ever dangerous Sean Beresford but his shot went against the keepers legs, and from the rebound Meleady put it wide. Soon after there was another Great chance for Kilbarrack when Townley rounded the keeper, crossed the ball to Beresford who dwelled on it too long and his shot went against Paddy Brophy’s legs. Kilbarrack’s pressure paid off in the end and it was substitute Mark Geraghty who got the third with a tap in in the box. Soon after Kilbarrack again had the ball in the net when a break from a St Kevin’s corner, saw Kilbarrack break and score but that goal was ruled offside from Mark Townley.
After it went 3-1 St Kevin’s made some changes and Watson in particular was looking a threat and his shot into the top corner was saved by the KUFC keeper. A minute later a late tackle from St Kevin’s Paddy Brophy on Humphries, who escaped punishment for an earlier bad tackle, resulted in a red card and SKBFC were down to 10 men. After this, Kilbarrack were dominant and with good possession, the strings were being pulled by Dean Gibbons, who was having a great game. Another chance for KUFC came from a cross into the box but Meleady missed a sitter with the head and wide it went.
St Kevins came back into it a little, and their Larkin up front always looked dangerous but they could not break down the Kilbarrack defence. There was still time for one more goal and it came after the St Kevin’s keeper tried to be a bit too clever, he didn’t clear a ball, tried to take it around Mark Townley but Townley nipped it away from him and tapped into the net to claim his second and make it 4-1. Overall, the result reflected the game and Kilbarrack deserved the win.
Man of the Match: Dean Gibbons – Masterful in the middle of the park.
By: Derek McKenna