The Carlow Kilkenny FC team who beat Cobh Ramblers 3-0 to seal a place in the Shield semi-finals
A strong second half performance saw the Carlow Kilkenny under-15s bag three points and book their place in the semi-finals of the SSE Airtricity League Shield.
The locals had to do it the hard way, standing firm against a stubborn Cobh Ramblers in Derdimus on Saturday.
The Munster side did all the early pressing, and missed a first half penalty, but for all their efforts they couldn’t break the deadlock before the interval.
Carlow Kilkenny rode their luck a little in the opening 40 minutes but made amends with three goals in 11 second half minutes to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Adam McCarron got the ball rolling, giving Carlow Kilkenny the lead nine minutes after the restart. Awarded a free after goalkeeper Brandon Idah handled the ball outside the box McCarron punished Ramblers with a sweet curling strike that crept inside the far post.
The Cork side were left reeling when Carlow Kilkenny doubled their lead four minutes later. Eoghan Byrne caused panic when he got his head to Rory O’Dowd’s corner, but when the ball broke loose in the box Zach Bay Hammond was there to fire it in via a post.
The goals flattened Cobh, who had the game in their grasp for most of the first half. Bradley Walsh gave an early warning when he broke free on the left and made space to shoot, but goalkeeper Joshua Coady made a good save.
Playing with a high line Cobh powered forward. Tiernan O’Brien reacted quickest to Luke O’Sullivan’s cross, but Coady did well to smother the shot.
O’Brien brought another save from the netminder 60 seconds later, then spurned a better chance to break the deadlock in the 15th minute, when he was taken down in the box. O’Brien took the spot kick and sent Coady the wrong way, but his shot hit the right post and bounced away.
Carlow Kilkenny raised their game after that but couldn’t make their chances count. Zach Bay Hammond teed up Jamie Murphy with a clever cross from the end line – his first shot hit a team-mate, Brandon Idah reacted well to save the second.
The home side fared much better in front of goal in the second half. After bagging those two quick goals they pushed hard for a third, getting it when Jamie Murphy launched a booming throw into the Cobh box. Ramblers failed to react when Jack Byrne flicked the ball on for Eoghan Byrne to finish at the back post.
Coupled with the 1-1 draw between Waterford and Kerry the result means Carlow Kilkenny, who have won four of their five games in Phase Two of the League, are now guaranteed a place in the Shield semi-finals.
Carlow Kilkenny: Josh Coady; Jake Haughney, Adam McCarron, Fionn McCaffrey, Darren Lawlor; Niall Rowe, Eamon Lalor; Eoghan Byrne, Rory O’Dowd, Zach Bay Hammond; Jamie Murphy. Subs: Cian Byrne, Jack Byrne, Oscar Brennan, Jake Ffrench Davis, Kyle Foley, Dylan Hunston.
Cobh Ramblers: Brandon Idah; Luke O’Sullivan, Ciaran Nestor, Sam O’Driscoll, Adam McCarthy; Colin Henderson, Jake Lynch; Ryan McCarthy, Bradley Walsh, Lee Kelly-Obi; Tiernan O’Brien. Subs: Eric Nolan, David Esquarez, Michael O’Sullivan, Kane Rowland.