FAI Youth Inter-League Cup
TSDL 4 KILDARE DL 2
Two goals in stoppage time secured the Tipperary Southern & District League a place in the quarter-finals of the FAI Youth Inter-League Cup for a second consecutive season following a nail-biting victory over Kildare & District League at Newhill Park, Littleton last Saturday.
TSDL manager Peter Sullivan selected the eleven players that produced the unlikely victory over Kilkenny for his starting line-up. Playing with the sun in their eyes in the opening half the TSDL came under some early pressure from the visitors with ‘keeper John Keating and his defence called into action. From a Jordan Harmon free-kick, Keating did well under pressure to punch the ball to safety and Graham Kelly blocked another set-piece by Harmon as the opening quarter of an hour came to a close.
Lone striker Ashley Laslett showed good feet on 22 minutes to cut open the Kildare defence but shot tamely at net-minder Ciaran Behan. Two minutes later a Laslett lob from a Rory Maher flick-on skimmed the top of the crossbar. At the other end of the pitch Kildare’s Harry Sunderland’s close range shot was saved by John Keating on 32 minutes.
On 40 minutes, the TSDL got the breakthrough. Rory Maher produced a neat piece of skill along the by-line before finding Aidan Croke who side-footed the ball into the left hand corner of the net to lead 1-0 at the halfway stage.
TSDL continued the second as they finished the first and could have doubled their lead three minutes after the restart. However, the Kildare net-minder Behan produced a double save by denying Ashley Laslett and from the corner-kick that followed with a diving save to push a Luke Trimble goal bound header to safety.
That let-off saw Kildare restore parity after 58 minutes when substitute Dylan Merrigan was brought down and from the resultant penalty substitute Evan Herd made it 1-1.
On 66 minutes, the TSDL regained the lead. Another corner-kick from Harry O’Connor caused panic in the Kildare penalty area and Ian Doyle stopped the ball on the line with his hand. Whilst Doyle saw red, Stephen Kelly found the left hand corner of the net from the spot-kick to make it 2-1.
Although down to ten men, Kildare, never threw in the towel and were back on level terms with just seven minutes of normal time remaining. The TSDL defence failed to clear their lines following a corner-kick and Abdul Babiker was on hand to poke the ball home from close range to make it 2-2.
With this game having to be finished on the day, extra-time looked on the cards as the ball swung from end to end. The TSDL who relied on the long ball over the top saw a shot from substitute Pierce Cleary tipped over by Kildare keeper Ciaran Behan two minutes into injury time and from the corner-kick, Cleary was in the right place to force the ball home after a header by Graham Kelly was stopped on the line to make it 3-2.
Four minutes into stoppage time Ashley Laslett rounded the ‘keeper but his goal bound shot was hacked off the line for another corner-kick. From Harry O’Connor’s delivery, the ball was knocked back across goal by Graham Kelly to O’Connor who cut back in along the by-line before firing low into the corner of the net to make it 4-2.
The TSDL who have defied the odds to reach this stage, will be hoping for another ‘home’ tie in the last eight.
TSDL: John Keating, John Carew, Harry O’Connor, Graham Kelly, Stephen Kelly (C), John O’Connor, Michael Nugent, Luke Trimble, Ashley Laslett, Rory Maher, Aidan Croke
Subs: David Finnane, Pierce Cleary, Andrew O’Regan, Sean Breen, Danny Hogan, and Nial Murphy (GK)
Kildare DL: Ciaran Behan, Mark Ormsby, Aaron Fattorie, Jamie Harte, Ben Foran, Abdul Babiker, Jordan Harmon, Anthony O’Keeffe, Conor Delahunty, Ian Doyle, Harry Sunderland
Subs: Dylan Merrigan, Evan Herd
Officials: J. Walsh, T. Keating, N. Coughlan (Tipperary Branch)