Classy Kittens run riot

Kilkenny & DL U-12s4

Kilkenny & DL U-12s4

North East Counties U-12s1

WAVE AFTER wave of pressure proved too much to take as the North East Counties League were washed away by a sea of menacing black and amber.

The Kilkenny & District League’s under-12s were too powerful for their visitors to cope with, eventually wearing them down as they bagged the second win of their inter-league campaign in Castlecomer on Sunday.

A Kilkenny side coached by Michael Hoban and Alan Franey controlled the flow of the game from kick-off, but had to bide their time before they could make the pressure truly count.

After beating Kildare 2-0 in their opening game the Kittens were determined to make it two wins from two. They roared into action, with Jim Ryan and Leon Hayes going close through some early chances, but neither could find a way to beat netminder Ryan Galligan.

Their team-mate Jack Morrissey went even closer when the ball rolled into his path on 17 minutes, connecting with sweet low shot which, somehow, Galligan pushed away to safety.

The goalkeeper was kept busy throughout the first half, coming to his side’s rescue again with a 19th minute save after Kieran Brennan and Hayes teed up Jamie Harkin to unleash a hammer shot.

The pressure was beginning to tell on the visitors, who finally cracked after 22 minutes. Harkin was the provider, floating a ball from midfield which took a deflection off a defender and landed at Brennan’s feet.

The striker saw his chance and took it, letting the ball bounce before connecting with a sweet strike from the edge of the box that flew past Galligan.

That was the only goal of the first half, but Kilkenny didn’t hang around when it came to adding a second after the restart. The new half was only four minutes old when they tightened their grip on the victory, Leon Hayes doing well to take down Jim Ryan’s diagonal ball and steer it past sub goalkeeper Ryan McNamee.

Both sides showed great attacking presence in the second half, but were denied by two good goalkeepers. McNamee made a fine save to prevent Hayes from doubling his tally, pushing the winger’s 37th minute shot out at the post, while Kilkenny ’keeper Michael McInerney got down smartly to stop Sean Ivors’ 41st minute shot and smother the rebound before Gavin O’Brien could react.

Kilkenny were too sharp for the visitors, breaking through for their third goal as the game moved towards the final stages. Keeping a high attacking line, sub Success Edogun threaded a great ball into the path of Jamie Holden, who added a fine finish into the right side of the net.

The NEC got a little reward for their efforts when Ben Ryan pounced to score a few minutes later, but Kilkenny restored their three-goal lead in injury-time, Eoin O’Connor nipping in to confidently fire the ball home after some great work from Harkin and Edogun.

Kilkenny & DL: Michael McInerney, Conor Kelly, Ian Wallace, Conor Clarke, George Murphy, Jason Byrne, Leon Hayes, Jamie Harkin, Kieran Brennan, Jack Morrissey, Jim Ryan. Subs: Success Edogun, Jamie Holden, Eoin Guilfoyle, Eoin O’Connor, Tim Corkery, Billy O’Neill, Cian Roche.

North East Counties: Ryan Galligan, Bradley Caffrey, James Connell, Christopher Uchenm, Joey McGowan, Eoin Gough, Alan Casserly, Jamie McCullagh, Gavin O’Brien, Sean Ivors, Ben Ryan. Subs: Sean Kane, Cormac Brady, Josh McGrath, Ryan McNamee.

Referee: Eamon Holohan. Linesmen: Tom Walsh, Larry Buggy.