A determined display on their own home turf wasn’t enough for Kilcullen to earn anything from a closely fought game against Clane last Saturday morning, writes Pat McNally.
KDUL Under 16 Premier Division
Clane United: 3
It was only when Andy Watson converted a penalty 22 minutes from time that Clane truly took control of the game against a spirited Kilcullen side.
They played the majority of the game with ten players after Alan Kenny was forced out of the game in the early stages. He did return to finish the game but by then the damage was already done.
Clane started brightly with Michael Raheen causing plenty of problems down the left. Although Raheen got the better of the early exchanges with Kilcullen right back Jack Dooley, Dooley grew into the game and the tussle between the pair was the highlight of the game.
Raheen had already given Kilcullen a glimpse of his talents by time he set up the game’s opening goal in the fifth minute. His pace down the left was too much for Kilcullen to handle and his pinpoint cross was tucked away by Jamie Rafferty.
Rafferty almost doubled Clane’s lead shortly after but his run ended with him shooting just past the far post.
Clane continued to push on and in the 19th minute Kilcullen goalkeeper Paddy Murphy produced a fine stop to keep out Dylan Devine’s header following Raheen’s cross.
The visitors were doing all the attacking but in the 21st minute, against the run of play, Kilcullen got themselves back into the game. Clane dallied in clearing their lines and were punished when James Grace beat their offside trap and smashed a shot past Kevin Milson at his near post.
Clane tried to put that blip behind them and thought they had regained their lead shortly before the half time break. Devine reacted quickest to reach the rebound after Donal Ennis’ shot was saved by Murphy. Although he found the target with his effort, the goal was ruled out for offside.
The second half proved to be exciting fare.
Rafferty’s piledriver was saved by Murphy while at the other end, Lorcan’s Mason’s 20 yard free kick needed to be pushed over by Milson.
While they generally relied on playing counter attacking footballer, Grace was always a willing outlet for Kilcullen. He almost grabbed a second goal too when his cross cum shot clipped the frame of the goal in the 54th minute.
The pressure was building on Kilcullen though and their resistance finally broke when Adam Noone was spotted tugging on Alex Marron’s jersey inside the box. Watson made no mistake from the spot kick.
Kilcullen threw everything into their search for an equaliser but were caught short at the back with just two minutes to go. A long ball out of defence put Raheen through on goal but although his toe poked effort from the edge of the box beat the advancing Murphy, the foot of the post stopped him from getting the goal his display deserved.
Ennis had read the action well though and when the ball came back off the post, he was on hand and left with a simple tap in to put the seal on a fine win.
Paddy Murphy; Jack Dooley, Adam Noone, Chris Spain, Michael Logan, Lorcan Mason, Aodhan Mullen, Stephen O’Brien, Luke Dowling, Alan Kenny, James Grace.
Kevin Milson; Jason Daly, Paddy Jordan, Andy Watson, Keith O’Neill, Alex Marron, Donal Ennis, Jamie Rafferty, Dylan Devine, Michael Raheen, Dale Maguire. Subs: Killian Robertston, Paulius Lisauskas, Michael Byrnes, Gavin Reid.