FAI Youth Inter-League Cup
TSDL3 KILKENNY DL 0
A double from local hero Aidan Croke was instrumental in the Tipperary Southern & District League producing a major upset in the FAI Youth Inter-League Cup defeating a highly fancied Kilkenny & District League in their final Group 1 game at Newhill Park, the home of Two Mile Borris on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Peter Sullivan due to late withdrawals because of illness and injury had just seven of the players and three from the substitutes that played against West Waterford/East Cork League knew that only a victory would suffice if they were to progress to knockout stages.
Kilkenny needing just a draw to progress applied the early pressure. TSDL stand-in keeper John Keating spilled by a centre from Cian Morton, but John Carew got back and clear the ball off the line after 10 minutes. Keating made amends for that earlier error with a fine save with his feet to deny Sean Murphy on 32 minutes and just before the break, Keating again denied Murphy with another fine save.
The TSDL who had battled throughout the opening half keeping the opposition at bay stunned Kilkenny with two goals in a six minutes spell just after the changeover. The breakthrough came after 50 minutes when Ashley Laslett won a corner-kick. From the quickly taken set piece by Michael Nugent to John Carew who beat a defender before finding Aidan Croke whose strike from 18 yards rattled the back of the net to put the home side 1-0 in front. The TSDL made it 2-0 after 56 minutes. Ashley Laslett who was a constant threat with his tireless running at the Kilkenny defence latched on to a Luke Trimble pass and beat a defender on the by-line before cutting the ball back to Aidan Croke who finished with a low shot across the keeper.
Kilkenny made a treble substitution but they still struggled to breakdown a resilient TSDL side that were unlucky not to extend their lead on the hour mark when an in-swinging corner-kick from Michael Nugent saw a John O’Connor header at the back post cleared off the line by Paddy Cahill. Kilkenny came close to pulling a goal back when TSDL net-minder John Keating produced two good saves from Emmet Nugent and shortly afterwards saved under his crossbar from Conor English. However, it was at the other end of the park that the TSDL defied the odds making it 3-0 after 77 minutes. Stephen Kelly having broke up a Kilkenny attack produced a penetrating run from his own 18-yard box to the other before setting up Michael Nugent who curled his shot from the edge of the Kilkenny 18 yard area past the ‘keeper.
A deflated Kilkenny side saw an Emmet Nugent shot strike the crossbar two minutes into injury time, but by then it was all over leaving the delighted TSDL management team planning for an unexpected place in the knockout stages.
Table P W D L G/D Pts
TSDL 3 2 0 1 – 1 6
Waterford 2 1 1 0 + 6 4
Kilkenny 3 1 1 1 + 0 4
WWEC 2 0 0 2 – 4 0
TSDL: John Keating, John Carew, Harry O’Connor, Graham Kelly, John O’Connor, Stephen Kelly, Michael Nugent, Luke Trimble, Ashley Laslett, Rory Maher, Aidan Croke
Subs: Pierce Cleary for Maher (injured) 90’, Jack Cleary