St Francis (MSL) 1
EVERGREEN’S under-16s marched into the last eight of a national cup competition when they got the better of Midlands outfit St Francis.
The Athlone side, a big and physical side who beat Portmarnock in the last round, were no match for the hosts who bagged a goal in each half to book their spot in the quarter-finals.
Evergreen started the better of the two sides and had the visitors under the cosh thanks to a series of attacks which were launched by the midfield pairing of Andy Hickey and Eamonn O’Reilly. The St Francis keeper Cathal Tighe performed heroics in the first 20 minutes, keeping out efforts from strikers Sean Maguire, Aaron Molloy and right-full Sean Henebry header. However the pressure finally told, as Maguire broke the deadlock with a delicate chip over the ’keeper after a precise pass from the dominant Andy Hickey.
St Francis responded by going on the attack. They dominated the remaining quarter of the first half which led to the award of a free kick on the outside of the Evergreen area. While ’keeper Jason Mahoney set up his wall, the St Francis players opted to take a quick free kick which powered straight to the goal.
Evergreen came out in the second half determined to regain their advantage. Maguire and Molloy both had great chances to make the breakthrough until a pinpoint cross from the accurate Eamonn O’Reilly onto centre half Killian Cantwell’s head ended with a powerful header to the net. Evergreen continued to advance and went close to grabbing a third goal when Aaron Molloy’s shot was cleared off the line by the Saints defence.
A last ditch effort by a gallant St Francis saw all attacks repelled by the Evergreen defence of Henebry, McCarthy, Cantwell and Bradfield. Performances from Cantwell in defence, Hickey in mid-field, the non-stop work of the Molloy/Maguire partnership and the precision of O’Reilly’s set pieces were a highlight of the game. On the flanks Eddie Teehan and Adam Farrell worked tirelessly to completely neutralise the advances of the St Francis attacking wingers.
Evergreen will cross swords with another St Francis - the team from the DDSL - in the quarter-finals.