Midleton 1 St Kevin’s Boys 3
DESPITE a spirited performance, Midleton crashed out of the SFAI Sketchers U15 National Cup at the semi-final stage as they were beaten 3-1 by a talented St Kevin’s Boys side at Knockgriffin Park on Saturday afternoon.
A well-taken finish in the second half from Daniel Murnane had given the Cork side hope that they could still reach the final but it wasn’t to be their day as a long-range free from Jojo Hannigan and a superb brace from the excellent Daniel Bergin was enough to see St Kevin’s safely through.
Midleton was hoping to exact revenge on behalf of their U12 squad, who were narrowly beaten by the Dublin club 3-2 at this venue last weekend and at the same stage of their national competition.
But it was the visitors that settled into the game quickest and they went close to opening the scoring inside five minutes.
The dangerous left-back Jojo Hannigan whipped in a brilliant cross from his wing and just as it looked like his teammate Daniel Chukwu was set to tap in, goalkeeper Aaron Olden did well to tip the ball to safety.
Hannigan almost scored himself moments later as he cleverly cut inside his marker but his powerful strike whistled inches wide of the far post.
Midleton eventually settled into this last four clash and their first chance of the game came midway through the first half but after winning the ball back high up the pitch, winger Daniel Murnane dragged his effort wide of the bottom left corner.
Olden was forced to make a couple of great saves before half time but he was finally beaten just minutes from the break thanks to a stunning hit from Jojo Hannigan.
The Boys’ number three took responsibility for a free over on the right-wing and his long-range shot from all of 30 plus yards sailed over the keeper and into the back of his net.
St Kevin’s took that momentum into the second period and they ought to have doubled their lead shortly after the restart but Alex Connolly could only head James McElligott’s delivery over the target from a few yards out.
But they would deservedly make it 2-0 with 28 minutes remaining as Daniel Bergin somehow dug a shot out from under his feet to expertly clip the ball in over a rooted Olden from the edge of the penalty box.
The Magpies, to their credit, continued to battle, and within a minute of conceding that goal they cancelled it out when Murnane charged through the heart of the defence before slotting it past the keeper and into his far corner.
But they had given themselves too much of a mountain to climb and with 15 to play, St Kevin’s Boys sealed their spot in the showpiece occasion when Bergin drilled the ball home against the far post for his second.
MIDLETON: Aaron Olden, Ronan Birthistle, Alex Moloney, Aaron Desmond, Oran Sweetnam, Evan Bolster, Tadgh O’Leary Hayes, Darragh O’Brien, George Alamu, Daniel Leonard, Daniel Murnane.
Subs: Ryan Sexton, Evan McGrath, Cian Hegarty, Tadgh Bohan, and JJ Olajitan.
ST KEVIN’S BOYS: Davey Leonard, Shaun Doyle, Jojo Hannigan, Jamie Thompson, Lee McQuillan, Ben Parker, Daniel Chukwu, Ryan McBrearty, Daniel Bergin, James McElligott, Alex Connolly.
Subs: Oisin Ryan, Cillein Mooney, Matthew Barrett, Ryan Maher, and Scott Brady.
Referee: Pat Ryan.