Kilkenny & DL..................3
Dublin South FL...............1
THE KILKENNY under-12s showed battling qualities to fight back from a goal down and keep their hopes of a place in the Leinster final alive.
Trailing by a goal with little under 20 minutes left, the Kittens clawed Dublin South apart at Scanlon Park on Sunday, banging in three impressive strikes to score their second win in succession.
Bigger and better things lie in wait if they make it three wins from three. Victory by two clear goals over the Midlands League will see the team, who are managed by Gary Maher and Kevin O’Neill, climb to the top of the table and secure a place in the Leinster final.
After a promising start, Kilkenny’s hopes suffered a huge blow when the Dubs struck the opening goal 12 minutes into the second half. Stephen Hanley pounced, moving in to lash the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.
The goal spurred Kilkenny into action. Going on the attack it didn’t take them long to post a reply, Dean George latching on to a punched clearance from Dublin netminder Sean Hyland and hammering the loose ball high into the net.
Suddenly, South Dublin were all at sea. Kilkenny had a nose for goal and, with the visitors wilting, pushed more players into attack. Sub Sean Bolger played his part in the second goal, providing a perfect cross for the lively Chris Nolan to nod past Hyland.
Kilkenny had been just as sharp in the first half, but couldn’t turn their chances into goals. Dean George provided the first opening with a defence splitting pass from inside his own half after just two minutes. Chris Nolan left his marker for dead as he sped after the ball, but although he lobbed the advancing goalkeeper the ball finished just outside the right post.
Kilkenny were razor-sharp in the half, combining intelligent passes with swift moves that left Dublin reeling. One such attack saw Eoin McCormack send Peter Henebry away down the right flank after 11 minutes. Henebry worked the ball across to Nolan, who teed up Harry Duggan for a shot, but his effort flew over the bar.
The chances continued to flow for the hosts. Victor Costello fizzed a half-volley wide before Ed Moylan almost scored the opener. The defender came up for Darragh Keane’s 22nd minute free, and got his head to the floated delivery, but he was a whisker away from the target.
Good as the chances were, Kilkenny almost found themselves a goal down six minutes before half-time. The Cats were caught napping when Ben Hanrahan fired in a cross which carved them open. Avis Alayo stole in from the left, controlled the ball and picked his spot, but the ball shaved the outside of Tom Whitty’s right hand post.
After that early setback in the second half Kilkenny upped the tempo once more. They stunned Dublin with that brace of quick goals, then flattened them with a peach of a third five minutes from full-time.
A lively introduction to the game, Craig Hayes left Dublin heartbroken when he ran at the visiting defence, beat Hyland to the ball and calmly tapped home the insurance goal to seal a fine win.
Kilkenny & DL: Tom Whitty, Joe Banville, Edward Moylan, Victor Costello, Eoin McCormack, Darragh Keane, Dean George, Harry Duggan, Chris Nolan, Peter Henebry, Emmet Coakley. Subs: Sean Bolger for Coakley, Josh Finnan for Duggan, Craig Hayes for Henebry, Aidan O’Sullivan for Nolan.
South Dublin: Sean Hyland, Craig Canty, Cian Walsh, Chris Whorisky, Eddie Kolesnikive, Ricardo Nalie, Ben Hanrahan, Felim Tagam, Stephen Hanley, Alex Murray, Avis Alayo. Subs: Eleanor Ryan-Doyle for Tagam, James Kelly for Murray.
Referee: Larry Buggy. Linesmen: Tristan Eardley, Nicky Marnell.