FAIS ULSTER BOYS MINOR CUP (U15) A SCHOOLS – QUARTER FINAL
ROSSES COMMUNITY SCHOOL, DUNGLOE, CO DONEGAL
Starting 11 for OLSS
Front L-R: Matthew McNamee, Ross Lennon, Darragh Wynne, Tristan Nugent
Back L-R: Dominykas Rimkunaas, Cathal Malone, Malachy Treanor, Matt McNally, Joseph Routledge, Sean Murtagh, Ryan Walsh
OLSS U15s MAKE HISTORY AS THEY QUALIFY FOR FAIS ULSTER A SEMI-FINAL
OLSS U15 Boys team added another landmark to the amazing progress of the beautiful game in the school in the last few years when they returned home from a long trip to west Donegal on Tuesday last, 28th Feb, having knocked out the Donegal outfit, Rosses Community School to qualify for the FAIS Ulster A Schools semi-final.
In what has already been an incredible year for the school, with all 4 boys teams having qualified for the Ulster A Quarter Finals from their groups in Cavan/Monaghan for the first time ever, with the Senior team losing out to eventual Ulster Finalists Carndonagh, and U17s to meet Deele College, Raphoe in the next week, the U15 Boys joined their First Year Boys counterparts in making it through to the Ulster Semi Finals – another first for the school. Last year saw the school reach its first ever Ulster Schools semi- final when the then U15s narrowly lost out to eventual winners Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, and to follow it up with 2 teams, at least, making it through to semi finals this year with hopefully a third to follow is an incredible achievement! Not to be outdone Girls Soccer has also really taken off in the school with over 120 girls taking part, and 4 girls teams up and running with the U15 Girls also currently preparing for an Ulster ¼ final in the coming weeks.
The U15 Boys headed for the hills of Donegal in confident mood having come through their regional group with a 100% record but also aware that this game would see a step up in level for them and knowing that they would have to be at the top of their game if they were to progress. An early start saw them head off to Central Park, home of Keadue Rovers FC, (the home club of famous Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner), just outside Burtonport on the west coast of Donegal.
The long trip saw the team stop off to stretch the legs in Manorcunningham, near Letterkenny, where the boys were treated to some famous Donegal hospitality when local club Lagan Harps FC provided the squad with their all -weather facilities in addition to opening up their clubhouse and providing much welcome refreshments for the team.
After a 40- minute stop, the boys were back on the road and arrived at the excellent match venue an hour before kick-off. A good warm up followed by the team talk then saw the boys ready to take the field. Surprisingly there wasn’t as much as a breeze at the coastal venue and the underfoot conditions were perfect as the game began.
OLSS seemed none the worse for the wear after the long journey and started the game very brightly, looking comfortable in possession and moving the ball well. However, their plans were disrupted in the first few minutes when Sean Murtagh signalled that he had an injury and had to be replaced with just a few minutes on the clock with Patrick Carroll entering the fray.
Ross Lennon in full flow
Tristan Nugent starts another attack
The Rosses defence were coming under pressure as OLSS looked for an early goal with the front 3 of Malachy Treanor, Tristan Nugent and Dominykas Rimkunas looking lively, but some resolute defending from the home side, allied to final passes being slightly overhit or a tendency to take one touch too many when in good positions, saw clear cut chances at a premium. An intriguing battle was beginning to develop between Tristan Nugent and the Rosses centre half with no quarter asked nor given, and just when it looked as if the OLSS forward would give the Castleblayney school the all important lead goal in the 21st minute, when a lovely move saw him being released in a central position but after a mazy dribble which saw him in the clear just 12 yards from goal, an unbelievable last ditch tackle from the No 5, just as Nugent was about to pull the trigger, saw the danger averted. OLSS were managing to push forward and looked the more likely to score but the strong Rosses defence provided adequate protection to their goalkeeper who was also very assured when called upon.
Indeed, the home side began to come more into the game as the half wore on, with the impressive centre half tending to push forward into a more central midfield role when they were in possession and his strong, surging runs were causing some concern for an otherwise comfortable Blayney side. At the other end, the tricky Rosses centre forward looked dangerous with the ball at his feet but all too often lacked support and the OLSS defence of Joseph Routledge, Matt McNally, Matthew McNamee, Darragh Wynne, & Patrick Carroll were well able to deal with any danger posed as goalkeeper Cathal Malone dealt with any balls over the top comfortably.
Half time came and went and again OLSS got into their stride early in the second period when a great through ball released Malachy Treanor but his shot when one on one with the keeper was well blocked by the Rosses net-minder. A midfield war of attrition followed as both teams tried their utmost to get the important lead goal, but it was OLSS who were creating the more clear- cut chances as they managed to create another few one on ones but the Rosses keeper was equal to Malachy Treanor on another 2 occasions and also managed to deny Tristan Nugent and Dominykas Rimkunaas.
Half time team talk– the only team that can beat us today is ourselves!!
As the minutes ticked by OLSS were guilty of taking the wrong option on too many occasions as they began to take shots from distance when passes were on. Rosses also were doing their best to push forward as the elusive first goal was hard to come by, but unable to get through the OLSS rear-guard they too engaged in shooting from distance with Cathal Malone not being unduly troubled in the OLSS goal. On the one occasion that Rosses did manage to break through the OLSS rear-guard, a fantastic double block from Joseph Routledge managed to keep the OLSS goal safe.
With the game entering its final quarter it was that man Routledge who was then instrumental at the other end of the pitch, when, with 13 mins left on the clock, a corner from the left was worked out to right where he managed to beat his marker and get to the bye-line where his perfect dinked cross managed to evade the keeper and was headed to the net by the inrushing Malachy Treanor at the back post to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Malachy Treanor heads home for the opening goal
Rosses had to throw caution to the wind but it was evident that OLSS backline were not going to let anything pass, as they defended heroically, with central midfielders Ryan Walsh and Ross Lennon working their socks off defensively as well as delivering searching passes to launch dangerous counter attacks. OLSS looked dangerous on the break but there still remained just the one goal between the sides as the game entered added on time. A last attack from Rosses was repelled by the OLSS defence with Malachy Treanor being found with a pass into the corner. A free kick for OLSS followed and a lovely delivery from Ross Lennon saw the Rosses keeper make his first mistake of the day as he let the ball slip through his hands for a grateful Tristan Nugent to tap the ball into the empty net to ensure that the long trip home for OLSS would be an enjoyable one. Seconds later the referee, who had had a very good game, signalled the end of the contest and with it came the first win in the history of the school at a Donegal venue as well as a place in the Ulster A Semi-Finals on a final score-line of Rosses Community School 0-2 OLSS.
A fantastic victory for the boys and another step on an amazing journey this year as they now await the draw for the semi-final.
Tristan Nugent seals the win
OLSS: Cathal Malone, Joseph Routledge, Matt McNally, Matthew McNamee, Sean Murtagh (Patrick Carroll 6), Darragh Wynne, Ryan Walsh (Capt), Ross Lennon, Malachy Treanor, Tristan Nugent, Dominykas Rimkunaas
Subs: Shane Geoghegan, Alex Windrum, Donnchadh Murphy, Cillian Gibbons, Daithi Hegarty, Max Mallon, Stephen Duffy, Robert Duffy, Darragh McAdam.
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