Craughwell Utd 3-0 Kinvara Utd
On Saturday the Kinvara u12’s Blue squad made the short trip to Craughwell for the semi-final of the Division 5 League Cup. Thankfully Craughwell’s excellent facilities were in good shape and held up well under the poor weather from the week before and the game, unlike many others this weekend, went ahead as scheduled. The Kinvara squad had not had the opportunity to play Craughwell before in the league and so there was an air of unpredictability at the fixture. Arriving at the pitch there was a decent wind in play when the matchday referee Mikey Walsh called the captains in for the toss. Kinvara’s captain for the day Andrew stepped in and after winning the toss Craughwell opted to play against the wind for the first half.
Kinvara had no injuries or absences and the whole squad was available and lined out with Luca in nets, Liam, Andrew and Cathal across the back, Mark, Miguel, Idris and Daire in the centre, leaving David in the strikers position for the first half. Substitutes for the day were Eoin, Ethan, Cormac and Oisinn.
From the kick-off it was clear that the conditions were going to be a factor as both teams sought to keep the ball on the ground and run through the opposition. Craughwell were strong playing into the wind and both defences were called into action in the opening exchanges to break up solid attacking moves. Idris and Miguel ran both wings tirelessly for the first twenty minutes both supporting attacks and the defence when needed. While Daire and Mark in the middle got some good interplay going in the centre to feed David who had two solid shots, one skewing wide and the other saved by the Craughwell keeper in the first twenty minutes.
Despite playing into the wind the Craughwell attackers were focused and made several breakthroughs in the opening quarter, one was kicked away by Luca who was fast off his line to spare the defences blushes, while Cathal, Andrew and Liam were solid in defence and clearly in no mood to give up any soft goals and each blocked or cleared the other attacks that came through. The defence were disciplined throughout the first half, however, despite this Luca had to make three important saves to keep the scoresheet level.
In attack things weren’t going Kinvara’s way, Miguel and Idris, well supported by Daire and Mark in the centre made several runs to the wings and provided good crosses into the centre only for the final shot to be saved or squirrel just wide of the posts. Switches were made in the formation to move David into the centre and releasing Mark into a more attacking role. Miguel, Mark and Idris did well in pressing the Craughwell defence. An interception by Idris seemed certain to open the scoring but having closed down his man and got clear last ditch defending by Craughwell kept the scoresheet clean. Further good efforts by David, Mark and Miguel were similarly defended and saved.
With the opening half coming to a close Kinvara continued to run and harass the Craughwell defence, however, the breakthrough wouldn’t come, and similarly Craughwell had several chances of their own which was impressive as they were playing into the wind. As Kinvara tired Cormac was brought into the midfield to provide some fresh legs, however, when the whistle blew at half time it was still 0-0 with all to play for.
The second half started with Ethan introduced into the midfield, and ominously the wind picked up as Kinvara faced into it. Again it is was a very tight battle, Mark was full of running and put in good balls to Miguel, and vice-versa, but shots were parried and intercepted. Similarly at the back Liam was a rock and broke up several attacks to put balls through to his midfield. Andrew was switched to right back and Cathal was brought into the centre to combat both the attacks and conditions Working into the wind was getting increasingly difficult for Kinvara and tiredness started to show, Eoin and Ethan were introduced in the second half to bolster the mid-field and with the wind picking up and Craughwell coming to terms with the conditions it was starting to feel a little like Kinvara’s backs were really against the wall.
Kinvara showed great team spirit and never stopped attacking, Idris and Mark had shots go wide and Miguel continued to run through the opposition midfielders. Craughwell kept coming, however, and Luca was called into action to make two finger-tip saves. From a corner resulting from these saves Craughwell drove a corner into the near-post and following a skirmish in the six yard box they got their shot away into the bottom corner beyond Luca’s diving reach, breaking Kinvara hearts after such a stalwart defensive performance.
With ten minutes to go Kinvara rallied again and pressed on to try and get something out of the game, Kinvara’s normal formation discipline started to slip as they sought out a route to attack and with tiredness creeping in Craughwell managed to exploit space behind the midfield to get another solid shot away and into the top corner of the net. Kinvara tried to rally again and continue to attack but in the dying minutes a high looping Craughwell ball benefiting from the strong wind bounded over all heads into the top of the Kinvara net again. The game ended 3-0 to Craughwell, and Kinvara can have no complaints, weather conditions in the second half were difficult but that can’t take away from Craughwell’s disciplined and strong performance throughout and they will be a hard team to beat in the Final. Kinvara must now dust themselves off and focus on the league and potential promotion prospects.
KUFC would like to thank the Craughwell team for a great competitive game which was played with a great attitude throughout. KUFC would also like to thank spectators and parents for their support in fielding the teams and encouraging the players. Finally Kinvara U12 Blues would also like to thank the match-day referee Mikey Walsh who ran a tight ship and ensured play flowed.
The Kinvara Untied U12’s Blue Squad players were: Luca Green (gk), Andrew O’Grady (c), Cathal Malone, Eoin Hastings, Ethan Murphy, Cormac Leech, Liam Daly, Miguel Medina, Mark Kennedy, David Huban and Daire Hawkins.
Management: Jimmy Green and James Hastings