Tuesday 25 July 2017

Bhoys ooze confidence in Leinster Cup victory

DANIEL GORMAN At People's Park in Bray

SHAMROCK BHOYS showed why they were one of Leinster's major success stories last season as they confidently put Enniskerry to the sword in their Leinster Junior Cup clash.

SHAMROCK BHOYS 2 MCCormack 33; Kilkenny 60 ENNISKERRY YC 0

Although separated by one division in the Leinster Senior League ranks, the Co. Wicklow pair were drawn against each other and it has fuelled friendly rivalry between the two clubs ever since.

All the talking came to a halt at 2pm in the People's Park though as the two finally went head-to-head but the fireworks that we were hoping for never materialised.

Enniskerry's defensive 4-5-1 system was designed to contain the Bhoys and it worked until the 33rd minute when midfielder Graham McCormack's run wasn't tracked and he powered a header home past Eoin Fox.

The visitors changed tact in the second half but by that stage the Bray side had already gotten into their stride and they put on a display of at times masterful passing as they added a second through Greg Kilkenny.

That second goal arrived on the hour mark and although Enniskerry upped the ante after that they were still stuck playing second fiddle to the hosts for the remainder of the tie.

There was a very generous smattering of spectators across both sidelines but unfortunately they were not treated to a first half that will live too long in the memory.

It wasn't until the 15th minute that we had the first action of any note. Ronan Walsh opted to play it safe and head Shane Gallagher's thunderous goal kick behind.

Darren McAteer trotted over and swung in the corner which McCormack met but on this occasion his header failed to find the target.

A rare mistake from Enniskerry goalkeeper Eoin Fox then almost yielded an opener for Shamrock Bhoys. McCormack's hoofed a clearance up-field and Fox opted to leave the safety of his goal-line to make the clearance himself. Unfortunately for Fox, he completely scuffed his clearance, sending it straight to Greg Kilkenny. Kilkenny quickly found his captain Jamie Kelly but the striker's attempted lob finished wide of the target.

Shamrock Bhoys have recently had four of their star men - Kelly, McCormack, Craig Fitzpatrick and Glenn Hayden - called up to the Leinster squad and the latter three collaborated to net the opener. Fitzpatrick swaggered out of the defence and played an exquisite pass inbetween centre half Walsh and left back Dan Dalton to find Hayden. He controlled and sent in a cross and McCormack's driving run saw him arrive in the nick of time to send the ball crashing into the far corner.

Enniskerry didn't hesitate to change things though and Ben Lyons was introduced at the expense of Karl O'Rourke but that did little to stem the tide of the Bhoys' possession-based attacks.

Jamie Kelly almost doubled his side's lead just two minutes into the second period when his smart turn earned him the space to attempt a shot but his curling 25-yard effort was only an inch or so away from finding the back of net. Instead, it clipped the crossbar on its way out for a goal-kick.

The friendly rivalry briefly threatened to spill over in the 57th minute. Glenn Hayden applied pressure to Fox as he leapt to claim a high ball and Fox caught him with a flailing leg as he did so. Kelly was none too pleased and had words with Fox but the pair's bickering turned into no more than that. Three minutes later Fox was even angrier though as he conceded his second of the tie.

A low ball was played in from the left-hand side and Kilkenny was first to reach it. He quickly nipped past Fox and a despairing challenge from Walsh and kept his cool to fire home.

Hayden and Kelly both tested Fox as Bhoys looked to put the result beyond doubt but on both occasions the shot-stopper handled what they could throw at them.

He was beaten in the 75th minute when a free kick into the Enniskerry box wasn't properly cleared and Gavin Quinn hooked the ball towards the far corner but substitute Billy Pigot managed a bicycle kick clearance before it could drop over the goal-line.

Top Form: Dean Fletcher (Shamrock Bhoys): Didn't put a foot wrong.

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