Columbas caught out by long-ball tactics as Liffey breeze through
COLUMBAS Rovers exited the FAI Junior Cup at the first hurdle after being handed a tough tie away to highly experienced LSL side Liffey Wanderers.
Wanderers had the advantage of playing on their own Astro pitch and they used that to great effect over the 90 minutes as a whole.
However, a large support turned up for the Athetic Union League side as they really took control of the game, playing some nice passing football, with Shane Bruton and Paul McKeon really controlling the midfield and dictating the play.
But in what was to become a feature of the game Liffey scored early on from a route-one move, as a long ball from the keeper bounced high over the defence and was controlled well by the pacey lone striker who finished with aplomb.
Bruton had the chance to level from a free kick and went agonisingly close as he saw his effort come back off the post, with the Wanderers keeper well beaten.
The gulf in class really told, however, as Wanderers felt confident sitting back and inviting the adventurous Rovers forward at every chance, and they used the route-one tactic to great effect.
Ten minutes after the restart the LSL side doubled their lead in controversial circumstances. They were awarded a dubious free which was hit perfectly over the wall and under the crossbar.
Introduced as a second-half sub, Steve McLoughlin almost made an immediate impact as he got in behind the Wanderers defence but lifted his shot over the bar as Rovers pressed for a way back into the game.
Two minutes later Wanderers made it 3-0. Again it was a long ball from the back by-passing midfield, the bounce caught the defence cold and the Liffey centre-forward completed his brace.
The visitors were constantly forced wide to deliver crosses, but with such a packed defence it was difficult to take advantage.
Rovers were caught late on for a fourth, and yet again it was a route-one ball which was finished as the experienced centre-forward secured his hat-trick.
Rovers are in cup action again when they host EID from the United Churches League next Saturday in the Leinster Junior Cup and Gerry Gosson will be hoping for a more positive result.
Columbas Rovers: Darragh Ryan, Darren Pepper, Conor McNeill, Andrew Green; Ben Oldfield, Shane Bruton, Paul McKeon, Owen Cashen; Darren Leahy, Gary Mortimer, Niall Grogan.