Thursday 17 October 2019

Ardee are spot on as they book place in last sixteen

U15: Shamrock Rovers 1 Ardee Celtic 1, AET - Ardee win 4-3 on penalties

Ardee extended their impressive unbeaten run to take their place in exalted company in the last 16 of the under-15 national cup.

As the sole Dundalk Schoolboys League representatives left at any age level, they showed their resilience in a hard earned win on penalties after their long trip to Wexford on Saturday.

The Deesiders pipped their great rivals Quay Celtic in a play-off to lift the Dundalk Schoolboys League title before Christmas after going through the campaign without defeat. 

But that record was in serious jeopardy in this tie which was brought forward a week at their opponents request because of players undertaking a school trip next weekend.

Ardee were also without some of their best talent, not least the hat-trick hero James Rogers of that title winning performance. He fractured an arm, but has been lined up to play with Dundalk and a few more members of the team are set to play at a higher level.

Very encouraging for Celtic players who came in stepped up to the mark, notably Liam Flynn who in style nabbed the precious goal with a minute left that spared the side from defeat and forced the game into extra-time and ultimately allowed them to progress following a shoot out with the sides remaining deadlocked. 

In a tight encounter the home side went ahead from the penalty spot ten minutes after the break when one of their players was tripped in the Ardee box.

It took Ardee a couple of minutes to regain their poise, and pushed hard for the equaliser which didn't look like coming.

However a minute from time they strung a lovely move together, involving a handful of players which culminated in Aaron Levins releasing Liam Flynn and he made no mistake from inside the box.

Ardee were slightly the better team in added time, but the teams struggled to create real openings with both mid-fields and defences gaining a stranglehold on the play.

Into the shoot out and Enniscorthy went first, and converted their first kick. Noah Coyle made it one all. Then goalkeeper Shane Halpenny pulled off a crucial and what turned out the match winning save to allow David Magee, grandson of the late legendary Memory Man Jimmy, to put Ardee ahead. Each side netted with their next two kicks, Oisin Lynch and Jamie O'Callaghan successful for Ardee. Then heartbreakingly for Enniscorthy their player struck their final kick over the crossbar to put the visitors through to the last 16.

Flynn with his goal, along with Shane Halpenny, Matthew Kane, Noel Coyle, Cillian Taaffe, Adam O'Reilly and Jack McKeever played significant parts in this memorable win, but all were heroes on the day.

Ardee: Shane Halpenny, Mathew Kane, David Magee, Jack McKeever, Oisin Lynch, Aaron Levins , Cillian Taaffe , Jamie O'Callaghan, Adam O'Reilly, Jamie Durnin, Noah Coyle, Liam Flynn, Ciaran McCarthy.

The Argus