After the high of beating Premier League Ballinasloe away in their last outing, Kinvara resumed their championship campaign on Saturday 12th November with a difficult game away to Oughterard. With a full squad at their disposal this time round, hopes were high for a positive result.
The conditions were wintery, but after a week of brutal weather huge credit must go to Oughterard for the superb condition of their pitch.
Kinvara took the initial kick-off but it was the home team who settled best in the early stages of the game. Oughterard had the majority of possession for the first quarter but Kinvara absorbed whatever was thrown at them.
It was against the run of play therefore when Kinvara struck on 20 minutes, with talisman Eli Huban opening the scoring from a Kinvara break. This goal lifted Kinvara spirits and they settled into their normal game.
The second Kinvara goal came on 25 mins and was a fine individual effort from Keelin Miroud. Keelin won the ball just left of the his own penalty area and one mazy run later found himself inside the Oughterard penalty area, where he coolly dispatched the ball beyond a diving goalkeeper and despairing defenders.
Despite dominating the possession, Oughterard found themselves 2 goals down and they really opened up for the remaining minutes of the half. This effort was rewarded with a somewhat fortuitous goal on 32 minutes. Kinvara had cleared the ball but it hit one of the Oughterard players on the way out. Same player turned and hit a shot to nothing which ended up in the top corner of the Kinvara net.
The whistle blew for half time shortly after this. Kinvara made a few switches at half time to freshen things up.
Oughterard kicked off the second half and the early stages of the half was a very even contest. The referee was kept on his toes as challenges were getting meatier with teams were cancelling each other out.
Just when Oughterard were starting to get on top again, Kinvara struck for their third goal on 50 minutes. The Kinvara defence broke up an Oughterard attack and played the ball to Ozzy O’Connor in midfield. Ozzy lofted a pass in the direction of Eli Huban. Eli bravely got his head to the ball behind his marker and in front of the onrushing goalkeeper to put Kinvara 2 up.
Oughterard made some switches and for the remaining 20 minutes put Kinvara under the most concerted period of pressure during the entire game. This pressure resulted in an Oughterard goal on 60 minutes. Kinvara made their final substitutions on 65 minutes and this helped them see the game out and claim a valuable 3 points.
Kinvara will have learned a lot about themselves after this game. Otis Warwick was excellent in goals. There was nothing he could do for either Oughterard goal. Josh Kennedy returning from injury was solid throughout. Keelin Miroud took a lot of punishment at left back, but he never wilted. His goal was a particular highlight. Shay Mooney and JJ O’Connor were unyielding at the centre of defence. The amount of last ditch tackles and headers these two got in was incredible.
Milo Heaney on the right wing led by example and took the game to Oughterard throughout. Ozzy O’Connor and Charlie McKiernan in midfield had another very tough outing. They were not found wanting with both involved in the goals. Matthew Sexton’s close control on the left wing posed many problems for Oughterard. At times marked by up to 3 opposition players, Eli Huban contributed hugely and took his 2 goals expertly.
Jamie Cooke came into central midfield late in the first half. His pace and ball control were vital just as Oughterard were pushing on. Jamie came off towards the end as a result of a bad tackle that should have seen at least a card produced. Liam Shaughnessy came on, in defence for the second half and the fresh legs were vital in keeping Oughterard at bay. Senan Frawley came on, on the wing in the second half and his direct running had the Oughterard defence on their heels at times. Emmet Hawkins came on, on the other wing in the second half and won a lot of hard ball. Morgan Waterhouse came on up front in the second half and came close to extending Kinvara’s lead as his shot from the edge of the penalty area missed the far post by inches. (Liam, Morgan and Emmet played Friday night with the U13s in Headford, under lights.)
This was Kinvara’s toughest league game of the season by a long chalk. Oughterard are a physically strong, well-coached and experienced championship team. To date Kinvara have found a way of winning tough games that they might last season have lost. This is due in no small part to a group of lads who give everything when they pull on the jersey. There were a lot of sore / bruised bodies making their way home after Saturday’s match. Thanks to Oughterard for a tough game, to the parents / siblings who came to support and the parents who brought the coaches tea! 😊
4 wins from 4 games but the games are getting tougher and the conditions getting poorer.
Management Team: Kevin Sexton / Alan Mooney.