Kennedy Shield Play-Offs
West Cork 1
WITH Carlow finishing third in their Kennedy Cup group in Limerick last week, the team went through to the Kennedy Shield competition where further challenges awaited – the first of which was against West Cork.
It was a bright start by West Cork, but Carlow were soon into their stride playing some neat, controlled football, which West Cork had difficulty in dealing with. West Cork’s own long ball game was providing dividends as Jack Kevane got through and lobbed the on-rushing Ben Goodwin, but could only head the ball into the side-netting.
Carlow’s Eamonn Lalor was outstanding in midfield with his touch, passing and prompting and Daniel Core was also outstanding as he marauded forward. West Cork’s Robbie Minihane and Robert McCarthy both defended well against a strengthening wind, as they battled to keep Carlow scoreless.
Just before half-time, a long free-kick for West Cork ended up in the Carlow net, but was disallowed for offside and half-time came scoreless.
In the opening minute of the second half, Carlow’s John Ryan fouled Conor Daly and he crossed to Robbie Minihane, who headed powerfully home, but this was also disallowed for offside. Six minutes in, some poor passing by Carlow allowed Ciaran Santry to slot a pass through to Conor Daly, who slotted home from 20 yards to give West Cork a 1-0 lead.
West Cork defended their lead as if their lives depended on it and Carlow threw everything at them. A good interception by West Cork’s Conor Daly nearly saw him through, but a great tackle by Carlow’s John Ryan stopped him in his tracks and, following another interception by Daly, he shot just wide from 25 yards.
Near the end, Carlow piled everybody into the West Cork box for a free-kick, but it was cleared and picked up by Conor Daly just inside his own half and he chose to shoot at Ricky Timmons in goal and he comfortably saved.
For Carlow, their outstanding players were Fionn McCaffrey, who was immense at the back, Eamonn Lalor, who was a real presence in midfield, and Oscar Brennan, who was full of trickery on the left wing.
Carlow’s Jamie Fitzgerald latched on to a long through ball, but Longford’s ’keeper Kevin Tansey was alert to the threat. A free-kick from 40 yards was taken by Bryan McMahon, who floated in a lovely cross that bobbed around the area before Oscar Brennan shot just wide. Jamie Fitzgerald was flattened in the area as a free-kick came in, but no foul was given and he required extensive treatment, before he could return to the fray. Carlow’s Cian Byrne made a fine run down the right and was fouled, but the referee played advantage, but Sean Sanni lost control and gave away a free-kick. Carlow’s Oscar Brennan was looking a class apart as he worked tirelessly tracking back and also trying to get Carlow going in an attacking sense.
Carlow’s Cian Byrne, John Ryan and Adam McCarron were having fine games at the back, restricting and dominating the Longford attack, where only Conor Clancy was proving to be a threat as he roamed about the pitch. The half ended with a 0-0 scoreline.
Carlow’s Cian Byrne played in Stan Harland and he forced a corner which was taken by Jamie Fitzgerald, but it was punched clear by Kevin Tansey. Then, the best move of the match came, which involved Cian Byrne, Stan Harland and Sean Sanni, who crossed to Jamie Fitzgerald, but Kevin Tansey saved well for Longford.
Carlow emptied the bench in an effort to grab the vital goal and they continued to put huge pressure on the beleaguered Longford defence, with shots from Jack O’Neill, Eammon Lalor and Josh O’Sullivan all being blocked. On a rare excursion into Carlow’’s half, Joshau Sorahan won a corner for Longford, but some great defensive work by Oscar Brennan blocked a shot, then headed clear and 20 seconds later he was putting in a cross at the other end of the field. Despite all their possession and domination Carlow were not really threatening the Longford goal and the inevitable happened when a long ball out of Longford’s defence put Joshau Sorahan one-on-one with Adam McCarron and he mistimed his tackle and brought Sorahan down in the box for a penalty. Jason Glancy stepped up and calmly slotted home for 1-0 to Longford with just minutes to go. Carlow won a free-kick and threw everyone forward, but Ricky Timmons mis-hit it and it fell to Joshau Horahan and he raced through on goal, but Timmons redeemed himself with a fine block-save and shortly after the final whistle blew. Standing out for Carlow were Oscar Brennan and the defensive unit of Adam McCarron, John Ryan and Cian Byrne.
South Tipp 1
Straight away Carlow were on the front foot as Eoghan Byrne headed narrowly over the bar from ten yards.
A great run and cross by Carlow’s Oscar Brennan found Eoghan Byrne, but he mis-hit his shot and it was deflected for a corner and Carlow took a well-worked set move, but the ball went out for a goal-kick.
Eoghan Byrne was everywhere in the early minutes and he dispossessed a South Tipperary defender and flew down to the byline, where he crossed and found Eamonn Lalor who controlled the ball and crashed it into the roof of the net from eight yards to give Carlow a 0-1 lead.
Carlow were playing the ball on the deck and Josh O’Sullivan replaced Eoghan Byrne after 12 minutes after he picked up a knock making the first goal. Almost immediately on 14 minutes, O’Sullivan was in the thick of the action. Following a cross by Daniel Core, he controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed home from ten yards for 0-2.
Carlow won a free-kick and Ben Goodwin put in a huge kick, which found Josh O’Sullivan, but in a replica of his earlier goal, he only managed to shoot straight at Mark McCarthy in South Tipperary’s goal.
Adam McCarron made a vital tackle on Rory O’Dowd, who was put clean through on goal and he, Fionn McCaffrey and Daniel Core were proving able defenders.
A run and shot by Carlow’s Oscar Brennan brought another fine save by Mark McCarthy and then just before half-time disaster for Carlow as they gave away a needless corner and South Tipperary worked it short and the incoming cross found Urban Nolan, who headed high into the net from close range for 1-2.
In the second half, South Tipperary showed their intentions as Rory O’Dowd fired in a 30-yard shot that was saved by Ben Goodwin and South Tipperary’s frontline was ably marshalled by Urban Nolan, who was twisting and turning the Carlow defence.
Carlow’s Sean Sanni broke through and scored, but it was disallowed for a push and then shortly after a great move involving Cian Byrne and Josh O’Sullivan gave Sanni another chance from inside the six-yard box, but he shot over the bar. Sanni then had a free header from a corner, but again he put his effort over the bar as Carlow continued to create chances.
South Tipperary’s Rory O’Dowd picked up a loose ball and hit a 25-yard volley that brought a magnificent save from Goodwin and Urban Nolan flicked a header just wide from the resultant corner.
Best for Carlow were Daniel Core, Cian Byrne and Josh O’Sullivan.