KDFL Division 3 side Newbridge Colts were narrowly defeated 1-0 by high-flying AUL side Dingle United in round 1 of the Leinster Junior Shield on Sunday last at NTFC all weather facility.
Leinster Junior Shield Round 1
Newbridge Colts: 0
Dingle United: 1
The game started relatively even with both teams getting good early touches on the ball and showing some excellent passing.
The first 15 minutes saw both teams playing the ball well from the back and looking quite comfortable in possession. However, it was the visiting Dubliners that gained the initial upper hand in the middle of the park with Wayne Kavanagh and Paul Coady creating numerous chances for Jamie Martin and Paul Hanson up front.
Were it not for the intervention of Colts keeper, Steve Creighton, the visitors would have taken an early advantage. Creighton was in fine form throughout the match exhibiting excellent shot stopping ability and good distribution.
Having not played a competitive match in a number of weeks the Colts did take some time before carving through the oppositions strong defence.
The first opportunity for the home side came from Dean O’Toole, coming in from the right wing, but only managed to hit the side netting. The Colts were showing positive signs at this stage and were meeting Dingle in all areas of the pitch.
Another golden opportunity came for the Colts five minutes from the break when a well executed corner kick was met on the half volley by striker Niall Farrell, who could only manage to put the ball high and over the bar.
There were some very close decisions for off side called against the Colts, and the pressure from the home team was increasing. However, it was the visiting team that snatched the lead on the stroke of half time. A long ball was mis-judged by the Colts defence and the visitors front runner Paul Hanson controlled the ball well and made no mistake from close range to leave the Kildare side trailing 1-0 at the interval.
The second half began very well for the Colts, who appeared to be really getting the upper hand all over the pitch. The home team passed the ball extremely well, creating space for team-mates and running the opposition ragged.
A number of really good goal scoring chances were worked by the Colts and it looked like it was only a matter of time before an equaliser came along.
A well struck free kick from Steve Eustace from 30 yards was handled particularly well by the Dingle netminder Ian Doyle. Ciaran Thorpe did his usual party piece and created himself a shooting opportunity under pressure, but unfortunately dragged his shot just wide of the mark.
The Newbridge side were reducing the leaders to long balls up the pitch with the hope of a lucky counter.
The Colts incessant pressure nearly paid dividends again as Niall McCormack dribbled his way past a number of opposition defenders, but again Ian Doyle in the Dingle goal kept his side ahead with a smart save from close range.
The pressure was all coming from the home side, pushing as many players forward as possible in search of a late equaliser to bring the tie to extra time however as happens so many times, this left the Colts wide open for the counter. This counter attack goal nearly came on two separate occasions, and it would have been done and dusted if it wasn’t for Colts keeper Steve Creighton making a terrific save from point blank shot. The Colts put everything into getting even and managed to hit the bar with a late free from 30 yards but it just didnt happen.
Perhaps the Colts were very unlucky to not get back level on the day, but in all fairness Dingle were a well organised squad that withstood a barrage of Colts attacks and went on to claim their place in round two.
Best for the winners were keeper Ian Doyle, Dan Redmond in defence, Paul Coady in midfield and scorer Hanson up front. While for a Colts side who were unlucky not to bring the game to extra time, keeper Stephen Creighton, CJ Loftus in defence Niall McCormack in midfield and Captain Ciaran Thorpe up front were best.
Stephen Creighton, Adam Flavin, Anto Thorpe, Dave Foley, CJ Loftus, Al Curran, Niall McCormack, Niall Farrell, Dean O’Toole, Stephen Eustace, Ciaran Thorpe, Johnny O’Neill, Karl Howe, Paddy O’Leary.
Ian Doyle, Patrick Kelly, Robert Doyle, Dan Redmond, Karl Bradshaw, Wayne Kavanagh, Paul Coady, Darren Cahill, Graham Shannon, Jamie Martin, Paul Hanson, Joe O’Brien, Dwayne Burke, Daniel Murphy, Stephen Weldon, Kevin Prendergast.