Bohemians 1; Villa 0
The cream of Waterford Under 15 talent were on show at the RSC on Saturday morning last and they served up a thrilling encounter. Much was expected from this much delayed final and everything we expected from the game materialised.
Many of the players on view have won honours with Waterford this season and despite the long season each and everyone of them gave their all in this superb contest. There was only one goal scored but that fact does not matter because all though the game ebbed and flowed and there was plenty for the spectators to enjoy.
Bohemians were crowned cup champions and it was their players who walked away with the winners’ medals, but the Villa players will be able to look back with pride at their performance also. All that is good about underage football in Waterford was clear to see in this final.
The Bohs team played with the advantage of the strong breeze during the first half but it was the Villa who put the ball into the net after 7 minutes of play only to have the goal ruled out for offside. Jack Gaule got on to the end of a cross from Reece Rooney and headed to the net but an assistant had the flag raised and the ‘goal’ was ruled out.
The Bohemians pair of Paul Whyte and Chris Kervick combined brilliantly on 11 minutes but the latter was just off target with a shot from 20 yards. Bohemians were dealt a blow before the game when Adam Hyslop was ruled out through injury so Conor Morrissey had to move to defence and his craft in the middle of the park was a blow to the Ben Wadding Park outfit.
Bohemians went close however on 20 minutes when good work by Paul Whyte saw him try his luck from a tight angle but the Villa goalkeeper David Richardson was alert to the danger and he got down well to save.
Five minutes later Brian McDonald of the Villa fired in a shot which cannoned off two Bohemians defenders before coming back to McDonald but the Bohs’ goalkeeper Josh Byrnes saved by getting down low to smother the ball. The remainder of the game saw both sides create plenty of good moves but both defences held firm under severe pressure.
Villa looked bright and sharp during the opening minutes of the second half and a cross from Reece Rooney caused confusion in the Bohemians defence and Josh Byrnes had to be at his best to turn away a fine effort from Jack Gaule who had taken advantage of the Bohemians players’ confusion at dealing with Rooney’s delivery.
The Bohemians goalkeeper was called back into action once again after 45 minutes when Reece Rooney controlled a long throw-in from Jonathan McEvoy. Bohemians set off on a counter attack with James Connolly leading the attack and his cross to the far post from the right was met by Chris Kervick who headed wide.
Bohemians forced a corner kick on 53 minutes which was taken by Ryan Foley. His flag kick was met by Paul Whyte but defender Tom O’Brien hacked the ball off the goal-line. At the other end Villa had a good chance when Reece Rooney met a Jonathan McEvoy cross but he side-footed wide from a good position. The only goal of the game arrived on 56 minutes.
Chris Kervick went down the right flank before pulling the ball back to Michael Orpen who let fly from 20 yards. The ball came back off the crossbar but with the Villa defenders distracted with Paul Whyte running out from an onside position, Orpen made no mistake at the second attempt. It was clever thinking by the Bohs player and good positioning by referee Jimmy McGrath and his assistant.
Needless to say the Villa threw everything at their opponents from then right to the end and they went with a 4-3-3 formation but Conor Morrissey and Kevin Barry were superb in the red and black. The last kick of the game saw a free kick awarded to Villa.
Reece Rooney took the kick and when the ball came back off the Bohemians wall, Rooney let fly once again but almost beyond belief the goalkeeper Josh Byrnes produced a wonderful save despite the fact that he had to change direction in mid air to get a hand on the ball. His brilliance summed up Bohemians desire to keep their unbeaten season intact.
Bohemians (panel): Josh Byrnes, Kevin Barry, Thomas Whitty, Conor Morrissey, Colm Morris, James Connolly, Chris Kervick, Ryan Foley, Paul Whyte, Graham Robinson, Micchael Orpen, Jamie Sage, Jason Veale.
Villa (panel) David Richardson, Adam Potter, Andrew Baxter, Wayne Richardson, Tom O’Brien, Kevin Feely, Reece Rooney, Eoin Kindlon, Jack Gaule, Jonathan McEvoy, Brian McDonald, Steve O’Keeffe, Jack Kavanagh, Michael Chan, David McAra.
Referee: Jimmy McGrath.