Injury ends cup tie
Soccer, Charlie Bishop Cup Semi-final: Newtown United 1 Ashford Rovers 0, abandoned after 33 minutes
An unfortunate leg injury to Ashford defender Brian Coen resulted in this Charlie Bishop Cup semi-final clash being abandoned after just 33 minutes at Newtown on Sunday morning.
Almost immediately after wind and hill-assisted Newtown United had taken the lead through a Glen Carthy strike on 32 minutes, Coen and home side striker Brandon Feely tussled for the ball about 30 metres out from the Ashford goal.
And the upshot of the contest for possession was that the unfortunate Coen was immediately writhing in agony on the ground and emitting clearly audible indications of the extreme seriousness of his leg injury.
Unable to stand on his leg, the player was made feel as comfortable as possible in the circumstances and was wrapped in a blanket while he lay on the ground, while a phone call was made to Loughlinstown Hospital to summon an ambulance to the scene.
Thankfully, it took only about 15 minutes for the ambulance personnel to arrive, and in the meantime the referee, Karl Doyle, had made the logical decision to abandon the match.
Understandably, both managers, Ashford's Clifton Conyard and Newtown's Gary Kelly, fully supported the stance taken by the match official.
Conyard said: "It looks like Brian's injury is a broken leg but we won't know for sure until the hospital people carry out an examination of his leg.
"It's very unfortunate for Brian as this could be his last season playing with us as he's now 36 years of age.
"As well, last year Brian did his collar bone playing for the Ashford GAA team, and he missed the last three months of the season with us.
"And it looks like he's going to miss the last three months of this season, as well.
"Once a lad breaks his leg, the game is usually abandoned, so it was no surprise that the referee took this decision. Looking after the injured player is obviously more important than continuing on with the game."
And Kelly commented: "The referee had no choice in the decision he took - a player's welfare is more important than continuing the match.
"At the end of the day, football is only a hobby, and I had no issue whatsoever with the decision to abandon the match.
"The injury to the player was obviously very unfortunate, but with regard to the tackle, I thought that it was a 50-50 ball, and I thought that our player got the ball and the two of them just came together. It was just one of these sporting incidents that can happen in any match.
"And our lad who made the tackle, Brandon Feely, is a little bit shook-up himself because it's not nice to be on the other side when something like this happens.
"And with regard to the re-fixing of the match, it's not the right time to be thinking about this."
Predictably, because of the strong wind and the significant slope, Newtown enjoyed the better of the 33 minutes that were played, and in the first three minutes they forced two corners -which though came to nothing.
And on 10 minutes, central defender Mick Taylor averted a very threatening situation for the visiting side when he made a timely tackle and clearance.
Six minutes later, Newtown conjured up their first clear shot on the opposition goal, but Evan Moran's delivery sailed over the bar, before the home side forced another fruitless corner six minutes later.
Gradually, however, Ashford came more into the game and some excellent play by striker Ruadhan Fallon-Verbruggen led to some considerable anxiety in the embattled Newtown defence before the ball was eventually cleared.
But then on 32 minutes the ball was transferred to the other end of the pitch, and Glen Carthy was on hand to finish to the Ashford net just before the match was abandoned.
On the 33 minutes of action, Kelly said: "We were playing with a strong wind in the first half and obviously we went ahead just before the injury happened.
"And if the game hadn't been abandoned, I don't think that playing against the wind in the second half would have caused us too many problems, as we prefer to play the ball on the ground.
"But, as against that, you can never feel comfortable against Ashford as the two teams are great rivals and there's always very little between the two of us.
"Last year against them, we won 4-0, but they beat us 5-2 up here. Actually, today's match was a repeat of last year's Charlie Bishop final which finished 1-1 before we went on to win on penalties, I think, by 5-4."
And Conyard commented: "In the first half, we were against the wind and playing up the hill. We hadn't really started (to play), to be honest - I know there was over 30 minutes played when the injury occurred just after they scored their goal.
"For the first 15 minutes, we were under a fair bit of pressure, but I thought that we weathered the storm quite well and we started to keep the ball more in their half of the field, and we had a few half chances.
"But then we conceded the goal.
"However, I was looking forward to going in at half-time and having a good chat with the lads about we might turn the game around in the second half if we were still behind at half-time."
NEWTOWN UNITED: Kenneth Turner; Barry Davis, Neilly Martin, PJ Dowling, Glen Carthy, Ross Davis, Sean Heffernan, Evan Moran, Dillon Carthy, Brandon Feely. Karl Carthy.
ASHFORD ROVERS: Cathal Moody, Jamie Byrne, Jack Geraghty, Brian Coen, Mick Taylor, Anto Byrne, Robbie Eyre, Finn Brooks, Danny Byrne, Ruadhan Fallon-Verbruggen, Andy Earle.
REFEREE: Karl Dnnne (Wicklow League).