Ballinasloe Town 3-4 Kinvara United (AET)
Championship side Kinvara Utd progressed to the last 16 of the Connacht Cup with a win away to Premier Division Ballinasloe Town last Saturday.
The home team started the game the quickest and raced into a two goal lead inside the first 15 minutes. Kinvara with their unbeaten start to the season at stake, dug in and slowly but surely got to grips with their more illustrious opponents.
The Kinvara defense stiffened up significantly and the midfield got on top and started to supply decent ball into the forward line. Eli Huban made the most of these chances notching a goal on 20 minutes and again on the stroke of half time.
The teams finished the half on level terms 2-2.
At the start of the second half Ballinasloe lifted their game significantly but again Kinvara dug in. The best of Ballinasloe's chances was tipped by Kinvara goalkeeper Otis Warwick onto the post and cleared away to safety. Inspite of the pressure, Kinvara were dangerous on the break throughout. It was from such a break that Kinvara substitute Emmet Hawkins was quickest to react to a goalmouth scramble to put Kinvara ahead for the first time in the game.
Kinvara held onto this lead until the final minutes but were denied a victory in normal time. As a Ballinasloe attack was repelled by the Kinvara defence, a Kinvara player controlling the ball on the edge of the penalty box was very harshly adjudged to have handled the ball. Ballinasloe converted the resultant penalty to level the game for the final time at 3-3.
With the game having to produce a result on the day, both teams now had 20 minutes of extra time to deal with. Two very tired teams kicked off extra time as the weather conditions started to deteriorate. The first half of extra time produced only one chance of note. Another Kinvara break, off a Ballinasloe attack, resulted in another goal mouth scramble. Matthew Sexton managed to poke the ball home amid a forest of hands and legs. Kinvara were now 4-3 up. The teams switched sides for the final time but this time Kinvara kept the Ballinasloe attack at bay and closed out the game comfortably.
This was a great advertisement for juvenile football. A high quality, tough, physical game played in a very sporting manner by both teams.
The 12 Kinvara players available on the day gave everything. Otis Warwick was excellent in goals. Liam Shaughnessy, Shay Mooney, JJ O'Connor and Keelin Miroud had one of their tougher outings to date. However they got the measure of their opponents as the game progressed. Milo Heaney, Ozzy O'Connor, Conor O'Donnell, Matthew Sexton and Emmet Hawkins worked very hard and like the defense shaded the exchanges as the game progressed. Eli Huban and Charlie McKiernan up front had probably their toughest outing to date. The Ballinasloe back line was physically very strong. Eli again notched his customary brace of goals.
A win away from home is always a highlight. A win away from home against a team from a higher division is particularly so. Thanks to the parents who came to support the team. Thanks to Ballinaloe Town for an excellent game and for the post match grub in the club house after. They were magnanimous in defeat and are a club that we in Kinvara aspire towards.