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Monday 16 July 2018

'Doc' to the rescue

Wicklow Cup: Wicklow Town AFC B 3 Conary United 2

Wicklow Town’s David O’Connor and Paddy Murphy celebrate their opening goal against Conary during the Wicklow Cup in Rooster Oark, Avoca. Picture: Garry O’Neill
Wicklow Town’s David O’Connor and Paddy Murphy celebrate their opening goal against Conary during the Wicklow Cup in Rooster Oark, Avoca. Picture: Garry O’Neill

Brendan Lawrence at Rooster Park

You can't beat the cup competition. Conary United welcomed Wicklow Town AFC B to Rooster Park last Sunday morning and both sides produced a very entertaining clash that was in the mix right until the final whistle which, when sounded, signalled victory for the visitors thanks to a 77th minute converted penalty from David 'Doc' O'Connor.

This was a game that had plenty of talking points, some excellent goals, two penalties and some very decent play on a bitterly cold morning deep in the valley.

The half-time score of 2-0 in favour of the visitors might have seemed unfair to the home side and their few supporters in Rooster Park but Paddy Murphy and Brian Byrne's goals in the opening 45 reflected a superior threat in attack for the Wicklow Town side in comparison to their Conary United foes.

The home side launched a promising attack in the opening moments but Stephen McCauley was ruled offside. Wicklow Town gathered their thoughts and a sweet ball through from midfield released Paddy Murphy and he slid home a delicious shot for the game's opening after just two minutes.

Town should consider themselves lucky to have maintained their lead when a cross from McCauley wasn't dealt with by any stretch of the imagination by the Town defence and had Jimmy Davis been expecting the ball to continue through to him at the back post he might have made more of the surprise opportunity that resulted in nothing more than a wide ball.

Conary started asking questions of the Town defence but Patrick Reynolds showed alertness off his line to gather two seeking balls. The home side's pressure resulted in three corners in quick succession with Darragh Doran and Stephen Roche having the best of the chances from these but Patrick Reynolds gathered Roche's shot to lift the siege in what was a good spell for the home side.

Town absorbed this Conary offensive before breaking forward and creating some trouble of their own with Brian Byrne and David O'Connor being chief instigators of the attacking threat which produced two corners and some nervy moments for Eddie Roche before a David O'Connor ball over the top was gathered easily by the experience Conary netminder.

A foul by Conor Dickson on Shaun Roche provided Stephen Roche with a chance to swing in a free and his effort caused Patrick Reynolds all sorts of bother in the Town goal and he just managed to push it around the post for a Conary corner when it really should have been gathered. Jimmy Davis' corner was dealt with by Dickson's head and a ball over the top from Justin Fagan resulted in Stephen Roche being blown for offside.

Conary continued to attack with menace and a well floated Jimmy Davis corner found an unmarked Eoin Murtagh in the box and he swung his trusty left peg at it but his shot was dealt with by Reynolds and David O'Connor. Conary needed someone to follow up on these shots as a body in the right spot could have turned that volley into the net for the equaliser.

Town were always dangerous on the attack with Paddy Murphy and Kyle Duffy looking capable of causing damage but Jason Fortune, Eoin Murtagh and Andy Kennedy were proving to be formidable in defence.

Conary were still attacking enthusiastically but Patrick Reynolds was cleaning up behind a steady duo of Michael Connor and Conor Dickson.

Conary did have the ball in the Town net after 30 minutes but the whistle for offside sounded just before Darragh Doran finished Stephen McCauley's cross to the back of the net after Jason Fortune had cleared the ball from the Conary defence with a stunning sliding tackle.

A wide from Stephen Roche, a header over the crossbar from PJ Flusky, and a fine save from Reynolds from Stephen Roche were all that Conary had to show for some decent possession as the first half headed for its end.

However, pressure from Paddy Murphy on Andy Kennedy resulted in Town winning a throw and David O'Connor's beast of the fling was headed out by Eoin Murtagh but only to the feet of Brian Byrne who volleyed a deft shot to the back of Eddie Roche's goal for Town's second goal of the game. ~Conary must have been wondering what they had to do to get a goal in this game.

It was clear that Conary needed a finisher up front and when they emerged for the second half a move had been made in that regard. Out of the goals came Eddie Roche and in went Andy Kennedy with Roche going up top to try and rescue the situation for the home side.

After nine minutes of the second half, Town decided that they, too, needed a fresh attacking threat and they sent in Christy Moorehouse in place of Brian Byrne and Moorehouse showed plenty of endeavour and pace for the remainder of the game.

With 16 gone in the second half and no change to the score, Conary sent in Artseom Krupenko for Jason Fortune and switched Davis back to left back. Krupenko showed nice feet during his time on the field and created plenty of opportunities for the home side. Davis didn't seem too impressed with the move initially but he put his frustrations behind him and played well in his new defensive role.

It was Eddie Roche who helped Conary get back in the game. Some nifty feet from the experienced Conary man drew a trip from Conor Dickson inside the box and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Stephen Roche who fired home sweetly past Patrick Reynolds to make it 2-1 to Town with 18 gone in the second half.

Four minutes later and Eoin Murtagh drove home a stunning free kick from distance off his left peg to level the game and set us up for a thrilling last 20 minutes.

Conary came looking for the lead and had several decent chances including Eddie Roche hitting the Town post with a fine poacher's effort.

But Christy Moorehouse's pace was eventually going to cause problems and when he was tripped in the box and a penalty awarded, his introduction was proved completely valid.

The spot kick responsibilities fell to David 'Doc' O'Connor and he fired home superbly to return Town to the lead with 32 minutes gone.

Conary attacked valiantly but they couldn't really trouble Reynolds again and the final whistle sounded with Town marching on at the expense of a very gallant and handy Conary unit.

Wicklow Town AFC B: 1. Patrick Reynolds, 2. Will Murphy, 3. Michael Connor, 4. Conor Dickson, 5. Sean O'Brien, 6. John Flood, 7. Brian Byrne, 8. JJ Power, 9. David O'Connor, 10. Kyle Duffy, 11. Paddy Murphy. Subs: 12. Christy Moorehouse for B Byrne.

Conary United: 1. Eddie Roche, 2. Justin Fagan, 3. Jason Fortune, 4. Eoin Murtagh, 5. Andy Kennedy, 6. Shaun Roche, 7. PJ Flusky, 8. Darragh Doran, 9. Stephen McCauley, 10. Stephen Roche, 11. Jimmy Davis. Subs: Artseom Krupenko for J Fortune.

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