Villa 1; Ringmahon Rangers 2
The long running saga between Villa and Ringmahon Rangers from Cork finally came to an end on Saturday last in Connors Park and unfortunately from a Waterford point of view another of our clubs made their exit from a SFAI Under 13 Cup National cup competition.
The original game which was played back in early January finished level but due to torrential rain extra-time could not be played and the referee on the day, Tony Walsh, had no option but to abandon the game.
The game was refixed but due to the untimely death of the Villa clubman, Nicky Power, the game had to be put back to last Saturday.
As expected the game was extremely close as was the original fixture and following the 60 minutes of play it was the visitors from Cork who went back home in a happy frame of mind. Villa struck the woodwork on two occasions in the second half but alas it was not to be their day.
Visitors on top
Ringmahon Rangers had to play against the strong breeze in the first half but nevertheless they took the game to their hosts and it came as no surprise when they took the lead after 8 minutes of play. Alan Browne got in a fine cross from the right which was met by Jason Forde.
The striker made the home goalkeeper Brandon O’Callaghan work with a fine strike but when Alan Browne sent over a well directed corner kick following the goalkeeper’s save, centre-half and Rangers captain Vincent Noonan powered a header to the back of the net.
Back came the Villa and good work by Conor Coad and Kenny McEvoy set up Walter Croke but he was inches wide with a well-struck shot from just inside the penalty area.
The home side went close once again on 17 minutes when Conor Sheehan sent over a cross from the right but Conor Coad’s header from 15 yards went narrowly wide of Eric Grimes’ right upright.
Villa did continue to press forward and they grabbed a deserved equaliser on 22 minutes. Christian Cullen, the left full-back, picked out Gavin O’Donovan with a superb free-kick and O’Donovan looped a header over the goalkeeper from 12 yards.
Two minutes before the half-time break central defender Jamie Ross sent a free-kick into the Ringmahon Rangers penalty area but, with his back to goal, Kenny McEvoy was unable to control the ball properly and the chance was lost.
Ringmahon Rangers had the advantage of the breeze in the second half and they went on the attack, pressing the home side back on the defensive.
However it was the Villa who almost took the lead after 38 minutes. Dave Cooley swung over a delightful cross from the left which was met by the in-rushing Conor Coad who let fly at goal but the ball came back off an upright. When it rebounded back into play Walter Croke was just about to shoot at goal but defender Sean Kearney got in a very timely tackle to clear the dangerous situation for the Cork outfit.
Rangers went back in front once again on 42 minutes and this goal was to prove to be the winner. Simon Irwin displayed real class on the right wing before getting the ball deep into the Villa penalty area and Alan Browne headed the ball powerfully past Brandon O’Callaghan from 12 yards.
Three minutes later Dave Cooley rattled the Ringmahon Rangers crossbar with a header after good work by Daniel Ahearn out on the right. Villa very nearly handed the game to Rangers 4 minutes from full-time when defender Conor Sheehan, who was trying to clear, headed the ball off the crossbar but the ball fell back into the arms of Brandon O’Callaghan.
The final minutes saw the Waterford based side pile on the pressure as they tried to take the game into extra-time but the clock ran out on Villa’s cup dream.
Villa: Brandon O’Callaghan, Conor Sheehan, Christian Cullen, Tom Mullally, Jamie Ross, Gavin O’Donoghue, Kenny McEvoy, Conor Coad, Daniel Ahearne, Walter Croke, Dave Cooley. Sub. Darren Finn for Croke (52 mins).
Ringmahon Rangers: Eric Grimes, Raymond Delaney, Sean Kearney, Dave McCarthy, Vincent Noonan, Dale O’Neill, Simon Irwin, Roy Kenny, Jason Forde, Alan Browne, Paul Lawlor. Sub: Jonathan O’Driscoll for Kearney (52 mins).
Referee: Ian Paul.