Wednesday 26 June 2019

Jack 'Quay' to victory

Under-13 Cup final - Quay Celtic 3 Rock Celtic 1

Under-13 Cup final

He had overall a quiet game but Quay's top striker Jack Watters sparkled just when his side needed him to kill off the Rock challenge with a brilliant run into the box and finish two minutes from time in this Under-14 Cup final at Bellew Park on Sunday.

Just seconds earlier Evan Durnin agonisingly watched as his finely executed lob drifted outside the wide open Quay goal as goalkeeper Daniel Shields stood helpless as the ball sailed over him on his 18 yard line and his side's two goal lead looked to have disappeared.

Instead in a flash the Quay goalkeeper kicked the ball to the other end and Watters raced into the Rock box and resisted Tai Akhal as the defender desperately tried to halt him and his powerful low angled drive nestled in the far corner of the net to set off celebrations by the winners on completing the double, having collected the league title.

The razor sharp Scott Hearty had put Quay comfortably in control, with a quick goal at the very start and pounced again just before the break, and was unlucky not to notch a hat-trick as Rock in the draining hot sun laboured and never looked sure at the back after a shaky start.

They were caught out by a cross that flew beyond their left hand pass and was turned back into their six yard box for Quay to have two attempts at scoring. The first was stopped by Rock goalkeeper Niall Brennan but the loose ball was fired into the roof of the net by Hearty with little more than a minute elapsed.

Rock had a quick opportunity to equalize but it was difficult as Sean Reynolds in plenty of space in the penalty box went to volley Mark Leavy's deep free kick but only succeeded in hitting it over the crossbar .

They had Jai Akhal to thank for not falling two goals in arrears when he got back to stop Kieran McArdle's shot in front of an unguarded goal with Brennan required to leave his line with his defence pierced.

There was a hesitancy and uncertainly about the Rock defence, and Quay punished them after McArdle rose above all in a crowded Rock goalmouth to head a corner over the crossbar and there were other scoring chances at either end.

A long high cross from close to half way sailed over a static Rock defensive line into the penalty box. Goalkeeper Brennan stayed on his line but managed to save the first attempt but again Hearty made no mistake as the ball broke to him.

Rock had a call for penalty with the second-half just underway, as he seemed to be impeded as he raced after the ball in the Quay defence.

McArdle's screaming shot on the run wasn't far off target before the closest Rock came to pulling back a goal was when McEnteggart chased down a loose pass back and nearly punished the lapse.

Watters then started to pose the type of questions that he asks of defences as he waltzed past O'Gradaigh and fired in a dangerous cross that Akhal did well to cut out at his near post.

Rock received the fillip they required when Mark Leavy hit a high speculative shot from 40 yards which Quay goalkeeper Daniel Shields stretching over his head fumbled over his line before he re-gathered it.

It looked a doubtful decision, but photographic evidence showed the ball actually crossed the line, and Rock now had an impetus that they hadn't at any stage in the match with over half an hour to play.

Benji Dada fought a tough battle up front for Rock, showing good control and posed the most trouble for Quay.

He threatened with a header from Barra Duffy's cross, and then Quay had a let off when Rock won a corner at the end of a fine move. Akhal sprung above all at the back post and met Nathan Todd's kick to send it off the angle of post and crossbar.

Cathal Bradley had an opportunity to clinch victory. Watters beat a defender on the endline and Leavy under pressure could only head his clearance straight to Bradley who struck it over the crossbar.

Rock were living dangerously and somehow survived as Reynolds clearance rebounded off Hearty and Brennan got down low at his post to turn the ball out for a corner. The goalkeeper then turned a rasping shot by Hearty away for another corner before the dramatic finale when the outcome switched one way and then the other..

Quay: Daniel Shields, Morgan Tobin, Sam Malone, Evan Wynne, Tiernan Cassidy, Kieran McArdle, Cathal Bradley, Conor Devlin, Oisin Coleman, Jack Watters, Scott Hearty, Jack McArdle, Conall O'Callaghan, Nathan Quinn. Managers, Ray Savage and Chris Malone.

Rock: Niall Brennan, Darragh O'Gradaigh, Sean Gartlan, Tai Akhal, Sean Reynolds, Barra Duffy, Dylan Simpson, Nathan Todd, Evan McEnteggart, Mark Leavy, Benji Dada, Evan Durnin, Sebastian McGeough, Ronan O'Callaghan. Manager, Cronan McCabe.

The Argus