Pre Season Friendly
Oatfield Shancastle (AUL Sat) – 3
Cherry Orchard (LSL Sat) – 1
By Carl O’Meara
Oatfield Shancastle were given a massive confidence boost ahead of their upcoming league campaign thanks to an impressive friendly victory over Cherry Orchard in Elmdale Ballyfermot. The Clondalkin outfit who ply their trade in division 1 Saturday AUL, are recovering from last season’s relegation and will view this victory as a massive scalp. However, on another night this result could have been so much different had the Orchard turned their early possession into goals.
Straight from the kick off it was the Orchard who dominated, putting the Oatfield back four under immense pressure.
The attacks started as early as the first minute when the home sides number 11 Shane Martin cut into the box from the left hand side and struck a sweet shot which rebounded off the near post.
Alan Kelly and Craig Brennan, the Orchards central pairing, were pulling the strings early on with Luke Kelly linking up well from the front, but for all the good possession they lacked any real penetration, which was just as well for the away side as their back four struggled to come to terms with the Orchards slick passing game.
It took Oatfield twenty minutes to wake up and when they did they scored from their first meaningful chance. Davy Cullen slipped Ian Smith through one on one and the big number nine saw his shot come back off Richardson into the path of Derek Clarke who tapped home from five yards.
The Orchard’s response was swift and from the tip off they camped in the Oatfield half. During this period Kelly had three chances in quick succession, his best a header which hit the post from a corner, another drew a terrific save from Johner Barry after his shot was heading into the bottom corner.
Smith missed another great chance when he pulled his shot wide from the 18 yard box after some good build up play involving Cullen and Morgan.
At half time both sides rang the changes and as a result the second half started very slowly with both teams playing football tennis and neither team able to get the ball down and play.The Orchard equalised through Luke Kelly after former League of Ireland player Philip Sheppard latched onto a mis-controlled pass by Michael Higgins and put him in. This served to be their last meaningful contribution to the game as Oatfield took control. Man of the match Davy Cullen was central to all their positive play as they went on to dominate the remainder of the tie.
Higgins was to atone for his earlier mistake when he played a delightful defence splitting pass with the outside of his boot to Anto Thompson who calmly placed the ball into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Cullen’s influence in the middle of the park was growing and again he was involved when he threaded the ball through for the onrushing Lance Ward whose lack of composure in front of goal saw him drag his shot just wide.
The game as a competition was ended when Cullen smashed a shot into the top corner from some good link up play that involved Aaron Allen and Higgins once again.
The Orchard will feel that this is a game that slipped away from them after some good early dominance and something they will have to work hard on if they are to return to the top table of Major Saturday.
For Oatfield Shanncastle its onwards and upwards from here as they look to bounce back from last seasons dissapointment.
Man of the Match: Davy Cullen, dragged his team over the line.
1. Jeff Richardson 2.Keane Lenno 3.Jack Miwahan 4.Rob Shelly 5. Connor Moore 6. Alan Kelly 7. Shane Benson 8. Craig Brennan 9. Connor Caulfield 10. Luke Kelly 11.Shane Martin 12. Alex Kenny 13. Philip Sheppard 14. Cormac Kennedy 15. Dave Curley
Manager: Noel Dempesey
1. Johner Barry 2. Shane Byrne 3. Luke Smith 4. Robbie Garvey 5. Connor Heading 6. Davy Cullen 7. TJ O Brien 8. David Morgan 9. Ian Smith 10. Derek Clarke 11. Anto Thompson 12. Michael Higgins 13. David Callaghan 14. Joey McEvoy 15. Lance Ward 16. Aaron Allen 17. Graham Matthews
Manager: Paul Fitzpatrick