Urlingford FC 5
AC Kilkenny B 0
A FIVE-STAR performance saw Urlingford FC retain the Division Three Cup.
The North Kilkenny team may be newcomers in terms of their time in the Kilkenny & District League, but the fledgling club showed experience beyond their years to keep possession of the title at Derdimus on Saturday evening.
The champions made a quick start, but were helped by some indecisiveness from the city side. AC Kilkenny seemed to have plenty of time to deal with a 11th minute throw-in close to their box, but failed to clear their lines. Steven O’Flaherty pounced, racing into the six-yard box before firing a shot high into the roof of the net.
AC Kilkenny were a little rattled by that goal, but almost found a quick route back into the game. David Beale had a chance when he latched on to Michael Henebry’s excellent 13th minute ball and nipped in between the two central defenders, but Anthony Burns raced from his line to make the block.
Urlingford went back on the attack and almost grabbed a second goal with their next real foray forward. Defender David Moriarty went close to getting his name on the scoresheet when he got on the end of Tommy Neary’s 23rd minute corner, but his header flashed wide of the left post.
They made better use of their aim just five minutes later. Ironically, the second goal came at the end of an AC Kilkenny attack. Awarded a free outside the box Stephen Quirke lofted the ball in towards the back post but saw Burns snap up the delivery.
Quick as a flash, the goalkeeper launched a long ball forward. As the AC defence tried to deal with the ball O’Flaherty put the pressure on, resulting in a mix-up at the back between goalkeeper Lewis Armicar and his defenders. The ball fell at the feet of Stephen Quinn, who picked his spot in the empty net.
AC Kilkenny continued to battle on, but must have felt it wasn’t going to be their evening when they hit the bar on the half hour. Striker Michael Grace did well to hold off two defenders when racing on to a Quirke pass, but he rattled the frame of the goal from six yards out.
Play moved back up the other end as, within a matter of minutes, Urlingford threatened again. Stephen Quinn almost grabbed his second of the evening when he latched on to a good Neary pass ten minutes from half-time, but Armicar made a fine save at his near post.
The goalkeeper wasn’t as solid a few minutes later. Misjudging a bouncing ball presented Steven O’Flaherty with a clean shot at goal, but defender Chris Dawson was well-placed to make a stop on the line.
AC Kilkenny continued to push for a goal of their own, but were hit by a third Urlingford strike which all but secured the silverware just seconds before half-time.
Once more captain Neary was at the heart of the move, cutting the AC defence open with a threaded pass. Steven O’Flaherty was quickest to react, firing in a low cross for Stephen Quinn to sidefoot home.
The second half wasn’t played at as high a tempo as the first, but that didn’t stop Urlingford from adding to their goal tally and moving out of sight.
Urlingford’s evening got even better when they added a fourth just after the hour. Defender Jason Moore made the journey forward worthwhile when he met Tommy Neary’s corner with a bullet-like header.
Then, as if to put the lining on the victory, they made it 5-0 just four minutes from time after Moore was fouled in the box. Steven O’Flaherty took the spot-kick and made no mistake, ramming home the penalty to start the celebrations.
Urlingford: Anthony Burns, Michael Tobin, Patrick Tobin (Martin Tobin, 81 mins), Jason Moore, David Moriarty, Brian Webster (Martin Purcell, 46 mins), Ray Moriarty, Tommy Neary, Alan Guilfoyle, Steven O’Flaherty, Stephen Neary (Michael Burns, 65 mins).
AC Kilkenny B: Lewis Armicar, Cillian Phelan, Daniel Walsh, Matt Kavanagh, Chris Dawson, Conor Greene (James Brennan, 72 mins), David Beale (Warren Kavanagh, 57 mins), Michael Henebry, Stephen Quirke, Michael Grace (Shane Beale, 46 mins), Stephen Quinn.
Referee: Jimmy Nolan. Linesmen: Eamon Holohan, Larry Buggy.