Southend United 0
Tramore reeled off their third league victory on Saturday night last in Graun Park thanks to two second half goals from right full back Michael Kavanagh. For a long period of time it looked as if the visitors Southend would take a point from the game but despite having a lot of possession they lacked firepower up front to cause problems to the Tramore defence.
Michael Kavanagh’s first goal was a real beauty, a cracking drive from all of 35 yards which gave the United goalkeeper Cliff Kearney no chance whatsoever. The Tramore side now have Alfie Hale on board as their assistant manager and it is worth noting that the last time they won the Premier League, Alfie was their manager. His experience will prove very important as the season unfolds. The seasiders have a mixture of youth and experience and if they blend together they will have a big say come the end of the campaign. Overall the final score in this game was a fair one.
The home side carved out the first chance after only 3 minutes when Leigh Quilty played the ball out wide left to Robbie Phelan who struck an angled shot on the run but the ball went narrowly wide of the far upright. Tramore were back on the attack once again on 15 minutes and they should have scored when Sean Browne met a left wing cross from Robbie Phelan but he raced a little too quickly to meet the ball and headed wide from a very good position. Leigh Quilty cracked in a free kick from 30 yards after 31 minutes. The Southend goalkeeper Cliff Kearney fumbled the ball before regaining his composure to gather at the second attempt under pressure from the in-running Zac Shanahan.
John Starmer, the Southend full back took the ball off the line on 36 minutes after Zac Shanahan had rose high to meet a corner kick taken from the left by Leigh Quilty. The only real chance of note for Southend came when Micchael Caulfield ran strongly from the half way line on 26 minutes before shooting from the edge of the box but the home goalkeeper Stephen Gahan got down very smartly to smother Caulfield’s effort.
The second half began very much in the same pattern as the first with Tramore trying their best to pass the ball about and try and find a way to break down the solid United defence. The former Waterford United player Stephen Grant played a lovely ball through to Robbie Phelan on 49 minutes but the latter shot wide from 20 yards. Leigh Quilty then played a low pass to Zac Shanahan from the left 5 minutes later but Cliff Kearney did superbly well to save his shot with his outstretched legs.
The opening goal was a real classic, a contender for goal of the season in ones language. Stephen Grant laid the ball off to Sean Browne who sprayed the ball out right to Michael Kavanagh. The right full back ran five yards with the ball before unleashing a blockbuster of a shot high into the Southend net. His effort was really travelling and Cliff Kearney despite diving bravely to try and save could not get near the ball as it flew into the roof of his net.
Whatever chance Southend had of getting something from the match disappeared completely on 72 minutes. Defender Lee Russell played a lose ball back to his goalkeeper but it carried very little power and as a result defender John Starmer had no option but to trip Robbie Phelan who was running forward to catch the ball. Referee Noel Purcell pointed to the penalty spot and Michael Kavanagh made no mistake from the spot. In fairness to Southend they continued to press forward and pull a goal back and they were unlucky on 76 minutes when Michael Caulfield met a right wing cross from Chris Feehan but Stephen Grant was in the right place to head the ball off the line. Tramore nearly made it 3-0 in injury time when Robbie Phelan fired in a low rasping shot from 30 yards only for Cliff Kearney to dive to his right and produce a truly wonderful save.
Tramore: Stephen Grant, Michael Kavanagh, Stephen O’Shea, Martin Whelan, Craig Maher, Sean Browne, Gary Hunt, Stephen Grant, Zac Shanahan, Leigh Quilty, Robbie Phelan.
Subs: Keith Worley for Shanahan (64 mins), Colin Walsh for Hunt (84 mins)
Southend United: Cliff Kearney, Aaron Butler, John Starmer, Lee Russell, Paul Devereaux, Michael Caulfield, Chris Feehan, Ian Caulfield, Daniel O’Sullivan, Robbie Barrett, Barry Phelan.
Subs: Lee Hayes for Barrett (40 mins), Craig Riordan for O’Sullivan (67 mins), Michael Merrigan for Phelan (78 mins).
Referee: Noel Purcell.