Carrick Rovers 17’s journey’s took them to Navan last Wednesday evening to face old foes Parkvilla in an NECSL 17’s League fixture. Rovers were still fighting on 2 fronts, with 2nd place in the League up for grabs and a Cup Final to look forward to. The match was played on a blustery, windy evening which saw Rovers start with a strong wind at their backs. This seemed to hinder them early on as they struggled to put any really passing movements together and this gave the home team encouragement.
Mark Kieran was called into action in the 12th minute when Parkvilla advanced down their left wing and the nippy winger got in behind Ryan Carolan at right back, to place a ball across Rovers penalty box but Kieran bounced to smother the danger. Rovers frontline of Patrick Larney, Andrew Butler and Cian Matthews began to get more and more into the game and on 23 minutes they combined to open the score. Parkvilla had possession in the Rovers half when Rob Berg made an interception and found Ronan O’Callaghan who slipped a ball into Butlers stride. Butler picked out Larney’s run down the channel, perfectly. Larney drew 2 defenders to him before cleverly creating a yard of space to flash a ball across the face of the Parkvilla goal where Matthews ghosted in at the far post to slide the ball home. This seemed to light the touch paper for Rovers as they now took control of the game. Padraig Marron had a shot from distance just clear the crossbar, while David Wilson had a header cleared off the line from a corner. Rovers pressure saw them win a corner in the 34th minute and Larney used the wind to bring the ball right in under the crossbar which the Parkvilla failed to hold onto and Rovers had their 2nd. Within 3 minutes Rovers cut the hosts open again with Larney this time the provider. He combined with Matthews just inside the Parkvilla before threading a terrific ball in behind the Parkvilla backline but Butlers attempted lob although beating the keeper it drifted over the frame of the goal also. On 41 minutes it was Matthews turn to become creator when his precise pass again put Butler 1-v-1 with the keeper who did well to make himself big and block Butlers effort. Just as Rovers looked to close out the 1st half with a 2 goal lead Parkvilla broke on their left and although the player looked well offside he raced in on goal. Kieran did well to block the 1st effort but the rebound fell to another home player and he made no mistake.
Half Time Parkvilla 1-2 Carrick Rovers
The 2nd half was always going to be a test for the Rovers defense of Carolan, Wilson, Thomas Finnegan and Kevin Quinn playing into a strong gale but they set about their task with vigour and Finnegan in particular rose to the challenge heading any ball in the danger area away and covering any dangerous runs in behind his colleagues. Rovers needed the comfort of another goal and it came on the 52nd minute when again Rovers broke on their left with substitute Ian Martin making a great tackle to dispossess his opponent before releasing Matthews who beat his man before firing in a low cross into the danger area. The keeper stooped to collect and just as he thought he had possession Larney nipped in to gather the ball and coolly slot the ball into the bottom corner of the empty net. This was the cushion that Rovers needed as to their credit Parkvilla kept playing good possession football and kept going looking to get a goal back to make a game of it. That goal came in the 61st minute from a well delivered corner that caused trouble for the Rovers defense and as the ball bobbled about the area it was stroked home to rejuvenate the home team. Rovers were being pinned back in their own half with Wilson, Finnegan, Martin and sub Jack Corr having to make several vital interceptions to break up attacks. The turning point of the game came in the 75th minute when again from a corner a Parkvilla broke free at the back post to thunder a header towards the top corner but as he wheeled away in celebration, Kieran somehow stretched his big frame and got a strong hand to the ball to push it up and over the bar. This was a game changer as Rovers again broke on the left with Matthews again threading a pass into Larney’s path some 40 yards from goal. Larney took control before using his body strength to keep himself between the defender and the ball and as the Keeper advanced he picked his spot to collect his hat-trick. Rovers had 1 more clear cut opportunity when again Martin and Matthews combined for the latter to smash a ball across the 6 yard box for the run of substitute Steven Lynagh, but he could only steer his shot into the side netting.
Final Score Parkvilla 2-4 Carrick Rovers
Team: Mark Kieran, Ryan Carolan, David Wilson, Thomas Finnegan, Kevin Quinn, Andrew Butler, Ronan O’Callaghan, Rob Berg, Padraig Marron, Cian Matthews, Patrick Larney, Ian Martin, Jack Corr and Steven Lynagh.