THE Maher Shield brought something of a David versus Goliath meeting when Orchard Rovers took on Evergreen A on Sunday – but there was no repeat of the biblical result.
It was always going to be tough for the League’s newcomers to get a result against the two-time Premier Division champions, but even though the scoreboard went against them Orchard Rovers didn’t let their club down.
The city side refused to buckle, even when the mounting scoreline suggested they would give up. Rovers played the full 90 minutes and, to their credit, gave everything right until the final whistle despite the sizeable challenge.
Ruthless from the off, Evergreen were three up by the 15th minute thanks to strikes from Andrew Hickey, Seamie Cummins and defender Lee Delaney.
They added three more by the half hour - Joe Mulcahy (penalty) and Hickey got the first two before Declan McQuillan fired home a deft lob from close to half-way to make it 6-0.
Eddie McEvoy’s side saved their best finish for the seventh goal, which arrived in the 34th minute.
Working the ball around in a lengthy one-touch movement Evergreen completed more than 20 passes, working the ball across the back four and from wing to wing, before Jamie Owens stepped in to hammer the ball home.
Owens grabbed his second two minutes later as did Joe Mulcahy in the dying seconds of the half. Evergreen had nine goals, but they weren’t finished yet.
Orchard Rovers were quickest out of the blocks in the second half. Sub Willie Dowling had their best chance when his chipped shot was deflected over some 11 minutes after the restart. The resulting corner fell to Dean Carroll, but he couldn’t keep his shot on target.
Evergreen regained their composure after that, picking up where they left off before the interval. Seamie Cummins made it 10-0 with near-post flick from a Jamie Owens corner before Joe Mulcahy’s second successful spot-kick wrapped up his hat-trick by the 67th minute.
Owens completed his treble with a sweetly-drilled shot across the posts to the bottom right corner before Hickey did the same with 13 minutes to play. There was time for Mulcahy to help himself to a fourth with a clever chip from the edge of the box, while Owens rounded off an emphatic win with a storming run through the Orchard defence, pausing only to slip the ball home from the near post in injury-time.
Despite the result Orchard have already overcome some impressive challenges. The club has made the transition to junior leagues and can boast an organised outfit complete with new home. Their Maher Shield might be over for the season, but it’s onwards and upwards from here on.
Orchard Rovers: Shane O’Neill, Chris Brennan, Sean Brennan (Denis Nolan, 39 mins), Dennis Clowry (Brian Hayes, 67 mins), Dean Carroll, David Hanrahan, Jamie Edwards, Harry Cook, Niall Murphy, Terry James, Johnny Murtagh (Willie Dowling, 53 mins).
Evergreen A: Pierce Dargan, Tommy Earls, Jack Poyntz, Niall Andrews (Vinny O’Brien, 46 mins), Lee Delaney, Oisin Corr, Declan McQuillan, Seamus Cummins, Joe Mulcahy, Jamie Owens, Andrew Hickey.