Carrick Rovers 17's Premier team made the trip to the MDL Grounds in Navan, on Saturday afternoon, to take on Borora, in the Final of the NECSL Cup. Rovers started the brighter and had their opponents under pressure early on. The front pairing of Oisin McDonnell and Saul Carolan, were linking up well with James Lambe and Oisin Conroy on the flanks and creating openings.
The central midfield partnership of Paudie Kirke and Captain Dean Jones started the game at a sharp pace and were pushing their team forward. After several half chances, left fullback Corey Sullivan picked the Gallup in his own half and went on a mazy run down the left wing, breezing past 3 Borora players before finding Lambe who quickly fed McDonnell. The skilful striker got his head up and picked out Carolan in the box and he controlled and swivelled all in one move to find the bottom corner of the net. Up until this point it had been all Carrick but the goal stirred Borora into action and though playing against a slight incline they began to get at the Rovers defence of Ferdia Holland, Fergal Lonergan, Fergal Winters and Sullivan. After 18 minutes from a long kick out from the Borora keeper, the ball found its way to the lively Borora striker, who skipped past Holland and Winters before cleverly lifting the ball over the advancing Tiernan Marron in the Carrick goals, to equalise. Before Rovers could settle Borora came at them again and after some neat play they were awarded an indirect free kick 10 yards outside the Carrick box. After the ball was touched the Borora player struck a sweet left foot shot over the wall and high into the top corner, giving Marron no chance. Again Rovers settled into their flowing passing style of football but couldn't put the ball into the back of the net and were punished again after 35 minutes when from a corner the ball was eventually forced home after bobbling about the Rovers area. Amazingly although having most of the possession and creating lots of chances Carrick were 3-1 down. In the 37 minute Niall Clerkin was introduced for the hard working Conroy and the clever left footer got involved straight away from his right wing position. Jones broke up a Borora attack before feeding Kirke who pushed the ball out to Clerkin who drifted past his marker before picking out McDonnell just inside the area and his thunderous strike smashed off the underside of the crossbar before nestling in the goals. Spurred on by this Rovers came looking for an equaliser before halftime and after another great run by Sullivan they were awarded a corner. Lambe cleverly fed McDonnell with a short corner and the striker raced along the end line before laying the ball to Carolan who again found the bottom corner with a precise finish.With a minute to go to halftime Borora broke again and their clever forward dribbled past the Rovers defence but his goal bound shot was well smothered by Marron to leave it all square at the break. A vital save.
Halftime. Carrick Rovers 3-3 Borora
Borora had the advantage of the incline in the 2nd half and the distance of the their keepers kick-outs was causing Rovers a problem. Fergal Winters had to rise to head several balls clear from danger. The pattern of the 2nd half followed on from the 1st with Rovers playing the more constructive football but Borora very lively on the counter-attack. Alan McCahey came on for Lambe in the 65th minute and got straight into the action, making several bursting runs down the left wing. After all the goals in the 1st half it looked like a stalemate in the 2nd until the 76th minute when after a period of Carrick pressure Borora broke and from a ball in behind the Rovers defence the striker got the merest of touches to the ball before Marron could collect and the ball crossed the line. These Rovers boys don't give up and although behind again they pushed for an equaliser. Clerkin was becoming more and more influencial carrying the ball at the Borora defence and picking out some clever passes. In the 82nd minute Aaron Jones came on to add fresh legs for the exhausted Carolan.Holland picked the ball up on the halfway line before striding forward before finding Clerkin. Clerkin and McDonnell linked up well to release Jones but his cross was blocked and went behind for a corner. Clerkin stood over the ball and swung in a teasing cross for Winters and Lonergan, up from the back, to attack. Neither made clean contact but as the ball fizzed about Lonergan swung a boot and after several deflections the linesman adjusted it had crossed the line. With time running out Borora came forward again and forced a corner. The ball was delivered with pace right under the crossbar but Marron somehow got a fingertip to the ball and onto the crossbar and the ball was cleared from danger.
Full time Carrick Rovers 4-4 Borora
Extra time started and both teams were out on their feet from their fantastic efforts during normal time. Cian Murray came on for McDonnell to add fresh legs and Aaron Jones pushed upfront to play just of the reintroduced Carolan who'd come back on for the injured Kirke.The 1st period ended without any further scoring. Clerkin had move to a more central role and this proved vital for after 5 minutes of the 2nd period the ball broke to him in the middle of the field just inside his own half. He controlled looked up and released Aaron Jones with a defence splitting pass over the Borora back line. Jones still had plenty to do some 35 yards from goal with a big defender and the keeper closing down on him, the the Rovers 16's player, drafted in for the day, was as cool as a cucumber as he drew both in on him before slotting the ball with the outside of his foot, to the back of the net,via the upright. This excellent game of football wasn't over yet as Borora, who had played their part all the way through, came looking to bring it to penalties. The exchanged their keeper and he pushed into midfield where he was a threat straight away. With time running out they forced another corner and again the delivery was perfect. The cross caused problems and as it fell in the area Fergal Winters stooped to put his head where most wouldn't put their foot, just as a Borora player was about to pull the trigger. Rovers held out for the last few minutes to end up victors in what was a great advertisement for juvenile soccer.
Full time AET. Carrick Rovers 5-4 Borora
Team: Tiernan Marron, Ferdia Holland, Fergal Winters, Fergal Lonergan, Corey Sullivan, Oisin Conroy, Paudie Kirke, Dean Jones, James Lambe, Oisin McDonnell, Saul Carolan, Niall Clerkin, Alan McCahey, Aaron Jones and Cian Murray.
A great result and every man played his part in a final to be remembered. A good reward for all the work the 2 Managers Wayne Kerley and our friend in Austrialia Barry Woods, have put into these boys this year. Hope to see them all playing Senior Football next year.