Two defensive errors cost Kildare a place in the semi finals of the FAI National Youth Inter League Cup at Castle Villa’s Mullarney Park last weekend following a thrilling tie against the lads from the west.
Kildare League: 1
Galway League: 2
Indeed after they conceded a second goal just three minutes into the second half it looked as if the Jim Percival managed side might repeat their heroics of their comeback against Wexford in their precious game as they carried the battle to the visitors for almost the entire second half.
Galway settled the quicker and Richard Fahy tested home ‘keeper Darragh Horgan after just two minutes. Kildare however settled into the game soon after that let off and Jamie Rodgers set up Dylan FitzPatrick whose well struck effort from just outside the box was tipped over by visiting custodial Seamus Curry.
Disaster struck for Kildare after 23 minutes. There seemed to be no danger when a hopeful ball was played into the danger area but the Kildare defence were slow to clear and Brian Douhan nipped in to rob James Murphy and fire a low shot across ‘keeper Horgan and into the far corner of the net.
Kildare came close to equalising one minute later when a volley from Aaron Mkanji whizzed inches wide of the left post.
Jordan Harmon had a chance from a dead ball situation just before the break but his effort from 20 yards was well off the mark.
Kildare needed to make a good start to the second half but unfortunately it was the westerners, whose side was made up largely of players from Mervue United and Renmore, that got off to a flyer, when the impressive Richard Fahy took on the Kildare defence and somehow got through to finish well after just three minutes.
The Kildare manager rang the changes after 53 minutes, bringing on Jake O’Reilly and Kieran Naughton for Dylan FitzPatrick and Alan Coady.
The home side now pushed forward in an effort to save the game but despite continuous pressure the Galway back four of Eric Neary, Daniel Lenehan, Caolan Malone and Evin Brown managed to deal capably with the home side’s best efforts.
An Anthony O’Keeffe free was inches wide of the Galway post after a foul on Aaron Mkanji as the home side now took control. Mkanji then bent a superb free from 25 yards around the visitor’s wall and inches wide of the post, after a foul on Anthony O’Keeffe.
Jamie Rogers was then very unlucky when his superb volley from a left wing cross by substitute Kieran Naughton was just off target.
Indeed Naughton was a thorn in the side of the Galway defence after he was introduced and he again was just wide with a curling effort from 25 yards with ten minutes remaining.
Kildare finally got reward for their efforts in the 87th minute with a goal to grace any game. The ball was worked through midfield by Mkanji and Dylan Crampton, who found Jamie Rodgers on the left. Rodgers rolled the ball to the overlapping Kieran Naughton and his delightful dipping shot from just outside the box gave Galway ‘keeper Curry no chance.
Despite further late pressure however the Kildare lads were unable to notch the goal which would have brought the tie to extra time and the curtain came down on their brilliant campaign. Galway now go on to take on the DDSL or Limerick Desmond in the semis.
Daragh Horgan, John Doran, Tom Woods, James Murphy, Dylan Crampton, Anthony O’Keeffe, Alan Coady, Aaron Mkanji, Dylan FitzPatrick, Jamie Rodgers, Jordan Harmon. Subs: Jake O’Reilly (for Fitzpatrick 53), Kieran Naughton (for Coady 53), Dylan Merrigan (for Harmon 75), Ronan Dempsey, Dean Hill, Keith McNulty, Matt Sheridan.