SFAI U-14 Goodson  Cup 4th Round


Castleknock Celic  2   Ashling Annacotty Limerick  2

Castleknock Celtic is well known for its hospitality to visiting country teams but this is normally confined to the Tea-room after the match.  However, on this occasion it appeared to spread to the pitch in the opening minutes.  Castleknock conceded two goals in the first five minutes.  First, it was Andrew Burke who rifled home into the bottom right hand corner after a goalmouth scramble.  Within a couple of minutes, an Ashling corner on the right was perfectly judged by Andrew McAuley who stooped low to send a looped header into the top corner of the net.  Asling means 'dream' in Irish, and they must have thought they were in dreamland at this stage.

The question now was could Castleknock recover from the double-hammer blows?  Almost immediately the home-side started to gain a grip on the game.  Midfielders Daragh Daly and John Byrne started to win possession around the centre.  Paddy Andrews was a constant menace when on the ball.  In the 25th minute Castleknock won a free 30 metres out. John Moriarty’s powerful kick seemed destined for the roof of the net, but Annacotty’s keeper Cregan soared to palm away, but only into the path of the in-rushing John Bryne who blasted to the net, which left it 2-1 at half-time.

Determined that there would be repetition of the opening minutes of the 1st half Castleknock started to take the game to Annacotty.  The long ball over the top from Terry McAuley and John Moriarty began to work. Up front an enthralling contest was unfolding between Annacotty’s star defender Paul Cummins and the mighty Paddy Andrews whose awesome power was to prove crucial, when in the 50th minute he rose above friend and foe in the goal-mouth to head home a John Moriarty free kick.  2-2. and all to play for.

Sensing that they could now get the winner, Castleknock piled on the pressure. Young Cregan, who was kept very busy in the Annacotty goal, was watched from the side-line by his famous Dad, Eamonn - All Ireland Senior Hurling medal winner with Limerick in 1973 and Limerick Senior Hurling Manager until last season.  At the other end, Alan Murphy had much less to do, but to his credit he remained “noisy” and marshalled his defence well.  Then it was into extra-time but despite creating most of the chances, Castleknock failed to avoid the trip out to the Mid-West for the replay where Annacotty will fancy their chances with home advantage.

This was indeed a great game, and the lucky spectators on the day were treated to a highly entertaining spectacle.  This reporter's man of the match was Daragh Daly, who covered every blade of grass on the park, and reminded me of the commitment we saw from Kieran McGeeney last September in Croke Park when Armagh won the All-Ireland.  Paddy Andrews was also a revelation, and I have never seen him put in such a powerful display.  On the Ashling Annacotty side, Mark O'Keeffe and Andy McAuley put in excellent performances, but Paul Cummins was probably their best player on the day. Overall, it was a typical Cup match with both teams showing great heart and spirit throughout the 90 minutes, and we all look forward to the replay in Limerick.