Villa 1; Ballincollig 2
From time to time one goes to a match expecting a really top-class game but more often than not you come away a trifle disappointed. However, that certainly was not the case on Saturday last as two excellent sides produced a truly wonderful 70 minutes of action at Under 14 level.
Such was the reputation of the team from the West side of Cork City that scouts from a number of English clubs made their way to Connors Park. Ipswich Town, Newcastle United and Middlesbrough all had representatives present to watch players from the Ballincollig team, including their striker Carel Tiofdck, who is rated one of the hottest prospects in the country right now.
He did reasonably well but without doubt the player of the game was the Villa right full-back, Eoin Kindlon. This young boy usually plays on the right side of midfield but going on this performance he could quite easily develop into a top class player at No 2. He did not deserve to finish on the losing team such was his overall display.
This defeat completed a miserable seven days for the Villa Football Cub in the SFAI Cups. The previous weekend they made their exit from the Under 15 Cup in Dublin against Belvedere and at Under 13 level Ringmahon Rangers beat them so it was not a week to remember for the young Hoops.
Many of the players who played against Ringmahon Rangers last week lined out here and they acquitted themselves well at the older grade. Over the 70 minutes perhaps Ballincollig deserved to win because at times their football was out of this world. They produced lots of free-flowing play which opened up the Villa defence and when they went 2-0 up 18 minutes into the second half the writing looked on the wall for the local side.
However, this Villa outfit has a lot of heart and they battered the visitors from Cork in the final minutes and in some ways they were a little unlucky to force the game in extra time. Great stuff indeed from two wonderful teams.
Goal from mistake
The first chance of the game fell to the Villa after 13 minutes when Kenny McEvoy took a pass from Conor Coad but his angled strike from the right side of the penalty area went wide of the near post.
Two minutes later the Cork side went close when Ryan Hogan was narrowly over the crossbar with an effort from 20 yards.
Ballincollig took the lead after 20 minutes but it was a mistake which gave the visitors the advantage. Cian O’Donovan played what looked like a hopeful ball into the Villa six yards box. The home goalkeeper, Mark Weldon, came to meet the ball but he took his eye off it and that gave striker Sean Kiely the chance to flick a finish to the net from close range.
Nine minutes later Ballincollig were back on the attack when Carel Tiofdck picked out Ryan Hogan but he could not control the ball inside the Villa penalty area.
Eoin Kindlon went off on two brilliant solo runs for Villa on 32 and 34 minutes. His first charge saw him set up Kenny McEvoy but the latter shot wide from the right side of the penalty area. His second run saw his cross the ball to the far post but there was no one there to finish off his good work.
Kenny McEvoy had another decent chance on 35 minutes but again he could not keep his shot on target. Just before the interval Ballincollig displayed their class with a sweeping three-player move which tore the Villa defence apart but Ryan Hogan saw his pile-driver saved by Mark Weldon.
In the opening minutes of the second half Aaron Gailbert was just over for Villa but then the Cork outfit put together a beautiful move which involved Cian O’Donovan, Ryan Hogan, Sean Murphy and Carel Tiofdck, but the highly rated striker dragged his shot across the Villa goal from the right.
Ballincollig’s second goal proved to be a nightmare for the home side because a free-kick taken by central defender Alan Hogan from just inside the Villa half of the field was not dealt with in the proper fashion by the home defenders and the big visiting striker Cian O’Donovan was allowed far to much space to tuck home past Mark Weldon from 10 yards range.
Despite that poor goal conceded, the Villa came charging back and Conor Coad saw a header go narrowly over the bar after he had met a corner-kick taken by the brilliant Eoin Kindlon.
Kevin Flynn, who had replaced David Cooley, went very close with a shot on the run from inside the penalty area but then with one minute remaining Kindlon scored for the Villa with a superb curling effort from just outside the box.
The fat was in the fire at this stage but during the three minutes of injury-time the home side just could not grab the equaliser and it was Ballincollig who marched on.
So heartbreak again for Villa following an excellent contest.
Villa: Mark Weldon, Eoin Kindlon, Jamie Cross, Adam Potter, Gavin Donovan, Barry Power, Kenny McEvoy, Conor Coad, Jonathan McEvoy, Aaron Gailbert, David Cooley. Subs: Kevin Flynn for Cooley ( 42 mins), Con Kirby for Gailbert (50 mins).
Ballincollig: Brian Cronin, Paddy Fitton, Stephen Carroll, Luke Prendergast, Alan Hogan, Michael McNulty, Sean Murphy, Cian O’Donovan, Sean Kiely, Carel Tiofdck, Ryan Hogan.
Referee: Mark Corcoran.