Carrick Rovers vs Cavan Shamrocks A
The semi-final of the Premier Cup in the U13 Cavan-Monaghan Underage League took place in Kingscourt on Sunday last. Table toppers Rovers were highly fancied to progress given their recent good form compared to Shamrock’s whose league form has been patchy this season.
This is a very good Cavan team however and they settled into the match quickly with some nice play around midfield. Rovers with Niall Meehan patrolling the middle soon started to get a grip on the game and a lively contest ensued. As Carrick started to dominate in midfield, Declan Lynch, just back from a 5 week lay-off was coming more into the game. Jack Carolan on the right side was running at the Cavan defence and causing all sorts of problems, making five or six runs deep into Cavan territory, producing a series of crosses that the Cavan back line dealt well with. A feature of this Carrick team is their neat interplay and their forwards, Eanna Allen, Dualta Honney and Roan MacArdle were causing the Cavan defence all sorts of problems, with MacArdle in particular, passing the ball with accuracy and pace. Rovers breached the Cavan defence on numerous occasions only to find the Cavan keeper in fine form to keep the score 0-0. On another day, at this stage Carrick would have been 3 or 4 up. Cavan conceded three free-kicks and it was from the third of these that Dualta Honney scored a screamer, firing the ball to the far top corner giving Carrick Rovers a deserved lead.
Half time came with the score at 1-0 to Carrick.
The second half saw the Cavan team come out strong and with their excellent midfielder Kian Keaney pulling the strings they started put more pressure on the Rovers defence. To this point the Rovers backs were excellent with Augustus Lupari dealing with everything that came his way. Nathan Campbell was sweeping up anything played in behind and the full-backs, Michael Og Tierney and Jack McNally was solid and sure. However, the skilful Cavan forwards were coming more into the game and began causing Rovers some problems. Lupari, suffering with a bad cold was withdrawn, replaced by the ever-reliable Eoin Keelan. One lovely Cavan move resulted in a great chance and but for the excellent Shane Carolan in the Rovers goal, the scores would have been level. Carrick continued to push forward looking for the second goal and one quick break by Cavan led to a lovely pass to the Cavan centre forward at the edge of the box. In one move he turned and fired a brilliant shot to the bottom corner leaving Carolan with no chance. 1-1 and the game was on.
With Jack Carolan driving his team on, and Sean O’Cartaigh chasing every ball, Carrick produced wave after wave of attack into the Cavan box, forcing saves from the Cavan keeper and winning numerous corners. Dualta Honney’s delivery was spot on all day and Carrick almost scored on two occasions only to be denied. Another break by Cavan produced their 2nd goal. A long ball behind the Carrick defence and a lovely lob by the Cavan forward put Shamrocks 2-1 up against the run of play. Carrick were now chasing the game and introduced young starlet Matthew Carolan up front. With only 10 minutes remaining Carrick were throwing everything at the Cavan defence to try and force an equalizer and it was from another break away that Cavan forced their 3rd goal. 3-1 down and with 5 minutes to go Carrick looked down and out. A great trait in this team is their character and spirit and Jack Carolan, Dualta Honney, Declan Lynch and Matthew Carolan continued to force chances. Eanna Allen and Niall Meehan went close. Declan Lynch headed just wide from a corner and Augustus Lupari who had been re-introduced just failed to connect with another and time ran out. Cavan Shamrocks victorious in a pulsating encounter on a score line of 3-1.
Both teams can feel very satisfied with their performances in a brilliant match, in what was a great advertisement for underage football in Cavan/Monaghan.