Bridge United 4
Freebooters A 2
TWO GOALS in three second half minutes saw Bridge United’s gallant under-13s earn a fine cup victory.
Twice the Goresbridge side fell behind to Freebooters A in the cup decider at Derdimus on Bank Holiday Monday; twice they wasted little time in coming back before rattling off a quick brace to grab the silverware.
With the game hanging in the balance at 2-2, Bridge took a step towards victory when they took the lead for the first time with 42 minutes on the clock.
The goal was created by Dean Grennan, who sent Chris Nolan speeding away on the right. He slipped inside his marker and fired a low shot at the target. Although goalkeeper Liam O’Dea did well to get behind the ball he couldn’t stop Aidan Hynes from rushing in to power home the rebound.
The winners were forced to rely on their defence in the opening stages, not least goalkeeper Darragh Simpson. David Doyle carved the Bridge backline open when he laid off a clever ball for Dylan Jordan to chase, but Simpson dashed from his line to cut out the danger at Jordan’s feet.
The netminder had no such luck when the Blues took the lead after just 12 minutes. Once more Doyle and Jordan teamed up and ran at the Bridge defence. Whipping in a cross, Jordan’s effort was too high for Joe O’Dea to reach, but Shane O’Shaughnessy was on hand to slide the ball in at the back post.
Freebooters were full value for that goal but it was a case of anything they could do, so too could Bridge. Five minutes later, after seeing his first shot get pushed away for a corner, Kevin McDonald ghosted in at the back post to latch on to Michael Brennan’s header and tuck the ball home.
The sides continued to scrap for more goals, but couldn’t find a way through. Michael Brennan must have thought he’d scored when he got his head to Dean Grennan’s fizzed-in corner in first half injury-time, but the ball clipped the top of the ’Booters bar.
Freebooters made use of that bit of good luck – and another as they took the lead again seconds into the new half. Joe O’Dea took possession of a loose ball, then fired a long range shot that hit the net after spinning out of Simpson’s grasp.
Bridge were determined to get back on level terms, and took three minutes to do just that. Again Dean Grennan did the spadework with a teasing corner, but after Freebooters failed to clear the danger Kevin McDonald pounced to turn the loose ball home.
Grennan and Michael Brennan went close to giving Bridge the lead via another corner some minutes later, but this time Brennan’s header was cleared off the line by the alert Eamon Egan.
Bridge kept pushing though, and grabbed their third goal through Hynes on 42 minutes. Then, three minutes later, they took a firm grip on the game with an excellent fourth strike.
Breaking from the middle, Gary Lawlor laid on a peach of a ball for Grennan to chase after. Holding off his marker he watched as an untimely slip halted O’Dea’s charge from his line before letting fly with a long range rocket that flew inside the left post for the sweetest of finishes.
Bridge United: Darragh Simpson, Shane O’Neill, Owen McDonagh, Michael Brennan, Niall Lynam (Morgan Crane, 60 mins), Aidan Hynes, Gary Lawlor, Dean Grennan (John Farrell, 60 mins), Kevin McDonald, Chris Nolan (Shane Murphy, 60 mins), Chris Aylward.
Freebooters A: Liam O’Dea, Jake Scanlon (Craig Hayes, 37 mins), Eamon Egan, Jack Lawlor, Mark O’Neill, Alan Phelan, Dylan Jordan (Fintan O’Sullivan, 60 mins), Cian Loy (Andrew Gaffney, 53 mins), Joe O’Dea, David Doyle, Shane O’Shaughnessy (Chris Phelan, 60 mins).
Referee: Ollie Falsey. Linesmen: Mitch Corrigan, Jimmy Nolan.