Newbridge Town created history in Station Road, Newbridge, on Saturday, as they became the first Kildare team to qualify for a final of an SFAI Cup as they ran out convincing winners over a strong Ashbourne side, writes Pat McNally.
Newbridge Town: 3
With Station Road in immaculate condition on Saturday both teams kicked off with the dream of reaching an All Ireland Cup final. It was going to be ecstasy for one team and total dejection for the other.
On the day the ecstasy was for Newbridge as they took advantage of the slight wind and went in front after only four minutes. Aaron Fattore got down the wing and set up Evan Heard whose immaculate cross was aimed for Conor Delahunty to stoop low and head past Gavin Moore in the Ashbourne goal.
It was what the doctor ordered as Coach David Herd was fearful that the team would not believe in themselves and might be a little nervous.
Ashbourne came back fighting and with Ryan Cooley pulling the strings in midfield hey took control of the game. Although they had the majority of possession they failed to breach the strong rearguard of Newbridge and Ryan Fenner in the Newbridge goal was never tested.
Following a corner for Ashbourne Newbridge made a lightning break and Ross Mc Mahon had a great opportunity to increase the lead but his shot hit the side netting although the crowd had thought it was a certain goal.
The feeling was as halftime approached that Newbridge would need a second goal before the break, as Ashbourne would have the advantage of a wind growing in strength.
With the half time whistle blown Newbridge had only scored the one goal.
The team talk in the Newbridge dressing room was short and sweet as Newbridge were back on the field a good three minutes before Ashbourne.
The strategy certainly worked as a magnificent shot from 30 yards- by Evan Aldwell – a goal that was fit to grace any game put Town two up after seven minutes of the second half.
Within two minutes a ball into the Ashbourne corner looked to be dead but Aldwell thought differently and his pressure on the full back paid dividends as the clearance fell nicely for Herd who crossed and once again Delahunty was on the end of the cross to score Town’s third goal.
The Newbridge management then pulled off a masterstroke as they introduced Sean Dempsey who was brought on to do a man-marking job on the Ashbourne danger man Cooley.
Ashbourne were now a dispirited team and despite all their efforts they were unable to break down the defence of Newbridge in which Harte, Whealn, Fattore and Kavanagh were foot perfect.
But this was not a victory built on three or four players this was a victory that has been carved out since last September on evenings in cold and rain when sitting in a warm fireplace seemed more attractive that putting in the work on the pitch.
This was a victory that shows that hard work does pay off and a team working together can achieve their dream
R Fenner, A Fattore, C Whelan, C Kavanagh, J Harte, E Aldwell, E Herd, L Hood, R Mc Mahon, C Delahunty, R Holmes Subs: D Craddock, C Morrin, C Whelan, S Dempsey, N Crowe, D Burke, I Meehan, C O Mahony
G Moore, E Duffy, L Browne, D Mc Glynn, C Garvey, J Giles, S Hendrick, J O Connor, R Cooley, A Murphy, C Leighburn Subs: P Roche, D Moulds, C O Rourke, E Velly, J Smyk, L Kelly, C Murphy.