Opening half goal-blitz sink TSDL
TSDL 0 DDSL 3
Three opening half goals ended the Tipperary Southern & District League hopes of lifting the elusive FAI Youth Inter-League Cup, going down to the highly rated Dublin District Schoolboys League at Newhill Park, Littleton last Saturday.
The TSDL under the guidance Peter O’Sullivan had produced epic performances to reach the last eight of this national competition looked overawed in the early staged and were a goal behind after just 8 minutes. From Stephen Hogan’s left wing pin-point centre it caught the TSDL ball-watching leaving Irish Under 18 International striker Gareth McCaffery unmarked, and he headed home to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Despite that early setback, the TSDL began to find their feet and Ashley Laslett linked well with Michael Nugent, but the legs of visiting ‘keeper Matthew Henry stopped his goal-bound effort after 10 minutes. Nugent – the TSDL dangerous player – set-up Luke Trimble, and only a point-blank save from the Dublin net-minder after 17 minutes again prevented Tipp equalising. Just a minute later, Dublin play-maker Cory McMenamin, given far too much room in the TSDL penalty area, evaded two despairing tackles before turning the ball home from 12 yards to make it 2-0 to the DDSL.
The TSDL, whose best opportunities came from free-kicks on the right taken by Harry O’Connor, looked like they were thrown a lifeline on 31 minutes when Dublin ‘keeper Matthew Henry saw his clearance ricochet off the inrushing Ashley Laslett, but to the dismay off a good size attendance, the ball drifted harmlessly wide. Then from a quick counter-attack on 33 minutes, the Dublin side made it 3-0. Stephen Hogan’s corner-kick saw the ball braking to Regan Donnellan at the back post, who finished low into the corner of the net to leave the DDSL well in command as the teams strolled off at the break.
TSDL management team, made one change at half-time, were forced to make another just two minutes after the restart when Michael Nugent picked up an injury. That was a real body blow to the TSDL side, which had produced heroic victories against Kilkenny and Kildare at this venue, to reach this stage.
It was the proverbial mountain to climb for the TSDL. A Dublin side whose neat one-touch passing forced the TSDL defence to make a number of timely interceptions, as they kept their more illustrious opponents at bay throughout the second half. However, in the end, despite the players showing plenty of grit and determination, had on the day came up against a Dublin outfit that were comfortable in possession and more clinical in front of goal.
It is back to the drawing board for another season, as this highly coveted FAI Youth Inter-League Cup still remains the only trophy to elude the Tipperary Southern & District League since its foundation in 1977.
TSDL: John Keating, John Carew, Harry O’Connor, Rory Maher, Stephen Kelly, John O’Connor, Aidan Croke, Luke Trimble, Ashley Laslett (Ian McGrath 75), Darren McGrath (Danny Hogan H/T), Michael Nugent (inj.) Alex Ryan 47)