Ringmahon's Franco Umeh marks first Crystal Palace start with two goals 

Ringmahon's Franco Umeh marks first Crystal Palace start with two goals 

Franco Umeh netted a brace for the Palace U18s. Pic: Arsenal FC

CORK'S Franco Umeh’s marked his first start for Crystal Palace by scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Arsenal, a result that moves the Eagles up to second place in U18 Premier League South.

It took the striker just six minutes to open his account and he got his second midway through the first half after Jimi Gower equalised for the home side.

The result means that Palace now trail league leaders West Ham by fifteen points and they have a game in hand.

Should the Eagles claw back the deficit and top the group, the will play the winners of the northern section in a grand finale.

Umeh’s first goal was created by Zach Marsh, who rolled the ball along the six-yard line and the striker side footed this in.

The forward should have got a second when a shot from full-back Rio Cardines caught out the Arsenal goalkeeper at the near post. 

Umeh’s attempt at rebounding from close range was stopped by Ismail Oulad M’Hand.

Umeh’s second was the result of a Cardines corner that Mofe Jemide headed back across goal. 

The striker was in the right place inside the box to knock the ball in, and this regained the lead for Palace after just six minutes.

Palace now go into a run-in that will see them take on Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Leicester City, Southampton, Norwich City, Chelsea, and West Brom.

Umeh’s first two goals for the club come just a month after he moved to London from Cork City. 

The striker joined the Rebel Army in January 2020 from Ringmahon Rangers and he progressed through the academy, rising from the Under-15s to the senior team under Colin Healy.

As one player starts life at Selhurst Park, another is thriving on loan in the continent.

Jake O’Brien is currently with RWD Molenbeek in the Challenger Pro League, the second tier of the Belgian football pyramid.

The club are currently in first place in the play-off league after finishing top during the regular season.

O’Brien has won 16 of the 19 league games in which he has started this season and he has scored two goals for his club.

Jake O'Brien of Republic of Ireland with his nephew, 3 month old Beau Summerton, after during the UEFA European U21 Championship play-off first leg match between Republic of Ireland and Israel at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Jake O'Brien of Republic of Ireland with his nephew, 3 month old Beau Summerton, after during the UEFA European U21 Championship play-off first leg match between Republic of Ireland and Israel at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

RWD Molenbeek finished the season with a six point cushion and they opened up their promotion campaign with a 3-1 win over Lierse Kempenzonen.

Big things are expected for the defender at Selhurst Park as he was included in the first team squad for last summer’s tour of Asia.

O’Brien even featured in a preseason game against Liverpool and he kept Mohammad Salah and Dawin Nunez scoreless.

His progress has been noted with a number of clubs, such as Bristol City and Portsmouth, interested in signing the defender back in January 2023.

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