St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers are the teams to catch in this season’s Under 17 League, as both sides have gone top of their respective divisions after the fourth series of games. However some clubs have yet to play their fourth game.
Shamrock Rovers were 5-0 winners over Wexford. The first goal came in the 7th minute following some terrific work from Eric Abulu who tore down the left and accepted a grand pass from Andy Spain. Abulu continued deep into the box before switching to the centre. Rhys Murphy added to it for Dean Williams to slot it to the net.
Goal number two came in the 21st minute. Conor Grant, from the middle, passed to wide man Jack Kelly who carried the ball into the box and released it for Williams to strike from close range to make it 2-0.
The second half was just a minute on when Rhys Murphy put Rovers 3-0 up. Murphy and Martins Olakanye both struck the upright in a two-minute period. The Hoops were rampant though and it wasn’t long before they got their fourth.
Abulu and Murphy had combined to set up an attack that finished with Grant taking possession in the centre of the box and shooting over the line. Youths’ keeper Colum Feeney was a busy man and pulled off three brilliant saves in quick succession to keep the score down.
The ever rampant Murphy made it 5-0 for the Hoops in the 87th minute.
St Patricks Athletic won their fourth straight game as they beat Drogheda United 3-1.
St Pats boss Jamie Moore was thrilled with the win saying, “Really happy with another good performance, we played really well in the first half and were 2-0 up at half-time, could have been more but their keeper made a couple of excellent saves.”
“They started the second half better than us and scored early enough and had a good little spell for ten minutes or so, but we settled well and got playing again, and got the third goal through Cian to win 3-1.”
“The boys were really positive all week and that translated into a good performance again.”
On 2-goal hero Cian Hughes Jamie said, “Cian has been doing really well for us and scored two excellent goals. He missed the majority of last season with a serious knee injury and he’s been a massive addition back into our group. The way we play, our attacking midfielders depend on the defenders and defensive midfield player to get them the ball in good areas, so it’s a team effort but Cian put in a really good performance. I told him afterwards that he needs to remain consistently good and keep doing well. We had a number of good performers on Monday night.”
On their wonderful start to the season he said, “Yeah we’ve won 4 games from 4 and continued our good form for last season. We’ve eleven new players in the group so it’s almost like a new team. It’s only four games in, there’s a long way to go, so I certainly wouldn’t say we are the team to beat.”
“We need to perform in every single match and if we do that, which we have so far, we’ll do well this season and that’s the aim for the boys, to show their individual ability and then it translates into a team performance. The boys know we won’t allow them to drop their standards, and we’ll need to keep them high for our next game against Finn Harps.”
Drogheda’s Gerard Gosson knew his side were up against a top team in Pats. He said afterwards, “It was a great game Monday night. Pats are a fantastic side with a number of internationals in their team. They won the league last year and are the current benchmark for any team.”
“Taking nothing away from them on the night, on chances created they deserved the win but credit to the Drogheda players, they put in a great performance to make it a great game.”
“We had a decision to make on Monday, sit back and be compact and try catch them on the counter, or alternatively have a go and try put them under some pressure, as a collective we went with the latter.”
“We played an attacking formation with 2 up front and from the off we pressed right up onto there centre halves. Tom Adeyinka led the line with Callum McDonnall and put in a fantastic performance, not allowing Pats to play out.”
“Over the course of the 90 minutes I think they played out four times. We squeezed right up on their full backs too and went man for man in the middle, and it really took Pats out of their comfort zone.”
“Both teams looked to get it down and play and for the first half an hour, the game was end to end. Cian Hughes started to get on the ball more for Pats in the middle of the park and began creating problems for us. A quick pass out wide led to the 1st goal when Pats had an overload on the left. A great cross came in and Hughes continued his run into the box and scored.”
“The 2nd goal came ten minutes later and was very similar to the 1st goal. Michael McHugh, our right centre back picked up an injury and we were again overloaded on the left, with Pats centre forward picking up the ball when it broke down in the box and he took his goal well.”
“With our wing backs , Stephen Doran and Ryan O Shea doing great work against their wide players, and having worked on and dealt with Pats corners, which they are notoriously strong on, 2-0 was a little harsh on the players going in at half time.”
“The second half plan was to keep doing what we were doing in the 1st half, tidy up a bit on our shape when defending and get forward more to help the attackers. Leo Tang and Sean Peat, both of who were away in Germany with the Leinster squad the previous week, showed great energy early in the second half and drove the team on. Five minutes into the second half we scored. Cameron Brennan got a challenge in on the edge of our box played a quick pass to Tang who drove on and hit a shot from 30 yards out that went in under the keeper. Game on.”
“Five minutes later, Aaron McNally who replaced McHugh broke down the right and put a quality cross into the box, Kian Hussy who replaced McDonnall at half time, got on the end of it and with the keeper caught flat footed, his header agonisingly rolled just wide of the post.”
“As the game went on and subs were made, Pats started to create good chances with Niall Blaney and Derick Dunne soaking up allot of pressure at the back and Danny Grace in goals pulling off a couple of fine saves.”
“Pats 3rd and final goal came very late in the game. Cian Hughes picked it up 30 yards out and drove forward. With some great footwork and trickery, he drove into the box and unleashed a shot which Grace made a great save from, but Hughes followed up and tucked the breaking ball into the bottom left corner.”
“As I mentioned at the start, Pats were excellent and on the balance of play deserved the win but from a development point of view and performance point of view I was very happy with how the players applied themselves on the night.”
Bohemians had a 2-0 win over Longford Town, and Longford’s James Dermody said, “Really tough outing today, overall I’m delighted with the squads performance today, for 60 minutes we where a match for Bohs. We kept a very compact shape and Bohs got frustrated when the didn’t really penetrate our lines. Unfortunately we switched off and let Bohs in to score in the 65th minute.”
“We tried to push for an equaliser and got caught with a great counter attack that opened our defensive unit up to score in the 82nd minute.”
“Stand out players for us today were Thomas Ivel, Conall McKeirnan, Dylan Glancy and Dragos Mamaliga”
“Overall I’m delighted with the improvement from our squad. Our work rate was first class, and a complete difference to our previous game against Finn Harps. We showed great discipline in regards of our shape and worked really hard from start to finish. If we can can continue to show this spirit we will cause a few upsets this season”
“Bohs showed great effort today, they worked so hard to break us down and the showed their quality with both goals they scored today. I can see Bohs as one of the possible contenders for the league this season”
Monaghan/Cavan fell to a 4-0 defeat to Dundalk.
Monaghan’s Paul Smith said, “We started the game well today. Seosamh Sheerin hit the underside of the bar half way through the first half and it would have been a deserved lead in my opinion.”
“We then got punished twice towards the end of the half for poor defending. Dundalk pulled away early in the second half when they converted a penalty but to be fair they are a top side.”
“Our results have not been favourable but we can see improvement in our lads. This project is giving local players the chance to compete against the best players in the country.”
“Today young Mark Melvin and Aaron Mulligan showed that they are players with very bright futures.They have another year at under 17 level too. Hopefully we can find a positive result in the coming weeks.”
Athlone Town made the long trip to Derry on Saturday and came away with all three points. The game itself took a while to settle as both sides were scrappy in possession. Played on the near perfect pitch at Wilton Park, Athlone had the first real chance as good hold up play by Callum McKelvey set up Ciaren Burns whoose shot was well saved by the home keeper. Athlone’s back four had to be alert as Derry’s direct style meant they could not relax.
“Once again our central partnership of Evan Fahy and Keith Rushe were outstanding while full backs Oisin O’Reilly and John Rattigan did very well against the Derry wide players. We had changed our system to give us more possession thru the middle and were very happy with our intensity and pressing”.
“Midway through the first half our high press paid off as Tom O ‘Carroll put huge pressure on the home center back and force him rush his back pass and it caught his kepper unaware and ended up in the net for an unfortunate OG.”
At this stage both sides had settled and had chances to score. Callum McKelvey and Neil Macken went close for Athlone while at the other end Darcy Lawless in the Athlone was very impressive and produced two wonder saves to keep his side ahead.
“Early in the second half as Derry pressed we reverted back to our usual 4-3-3 and introduced wide players Peter Gillooly and TJ Cox who made telling impacts and set up numerous chances. We were dissappointed not to score in the second period as time and time again we broke forward and with a bit more composure in front of goal we should have scored.”
“Callum had one great header just off target but otherwise our finishing was very poor and something we have to work on.Derry were always dangerous going forwars and pressed hard to equalise late on.”
Tom O’Carroll in central was very effective for Athlone Town as he was very good in possession and his use of the ball kept pressure on the home defence.
“We have to be delighted to come to Derry and get three points. Overall we were happy with our performance and progression so far. The lads are working hard with Andy in training so its on to Longford Town away next sunday for our “Midlands Classico” derby. We are going in the right direction and with our injured players coming back we will have a full fit squad to select from.”
Derry City’s Gary Duffy, “Much better than last week. I felt we were in control of the game when we conceded. We gifted them a goal from poor decision making in our own 18 yard box which was hard to accept from been so well on top. I felt first half we were the better side and created a few goal scoring opportunities.”
“But in the second half athlone were defensively well organised, which left us with limited chances. I felt 2nd half we didn’t create enough in final third.”
“Athlone finished the game strong to be fair to them and maybe could have got a second if they were more clinical in front of goal.”
“Best for us was Kieran Farren, while I thought Athlone’s no 3, right sided player and their no 6 were excellent. Overall it was a good game to be involved with as both sides were trying to play football in the correct style.”
The Kerry League won their first match of the season after a 1-0 win over Cabinteely.
Kerry’s Darren Aherne said, “Myself and the staff are delighted with the win. The players have been training really well since the confidence boost against UCD away. So to build momentum with a win at home was great for everyone involved.”
“I would hope that we are seeing the players now start to adjust to this level of football. We have adjusted our system and style of play to try and get some points on board and to let the players build some self-confidence. The players have bought into this and we have gotten some points. I believe we are 6th in the table after Sunday which is something that will only give this group even more confidence. We now have five games in May which will be a real indicator of where we stand in the division.”
Here’s the winning goal;
Dillon Robinson scored our goal again yesterday and he is a real handful for a back four, he is quick, strong and can apply a range of finishes to his goal scoring.”
“Overall it was a real team performance with everyone having an input over the game including the five subs. John Hayes has an excellent game at right back, Martin Coughlan had another good game and supplied the cross for the goal, but as I say it’s a team victory from my perspective.”
“Finally myself, the staff and the players would like to thank all the people who come along to Mounthawk Park to support us, there was another great atmosphere at the game yesterday and it does help the players on the pitch.”
Finn Harps Declan Boyle said after his side won the North-West derby 3-0 over Sligo Rovers, “Yes we were very happy with the performance and the result, it was very difficult match and Sligo Rovers are good team but we got the lucky breaks on the day and that was the main difference between the two teams.”
“The first goal was a good solo goal by Mark Walsh who intercepted a defensive pass and skipped past a defender and coolly slotted past the goalkeeper. The second was a good team move, with a midfield combination and a good through ball by Corrie Lee Bogan on to Mark Walsh, who crossed into the Sligo Rovers box and Niall Mc Ginley arriving in the box. He completed a overhead kick that eventually ended up crossing the line for Finn Harps second, but the Sligo Rovers GK probably would feels that he should have done better with this goal.”
“The third goal was a good goal and finish by James Carolan, who played very well on the day and was well supported on the day by Mark Walsh, Corrie Lee Bogan, Keelan Mc Gill and overall a good team performance by all.”
Sligo boss Danny O’Leary said, “It was a tough derby game played at a fast pace, physical but fair. We didn’t play well, three individual errors gave finn harps their goals, but in fairness finn harps were better than us in all areas and deserved the win.”
“We saw why Finn Harps will be up there with the top teams again this year. Bit disappointed that the players didn’t perform as they can as there was a good crowd for our first home game of the season, but we have a week of training ahead of us before travelling to Shelbourne for our next game to try and improve on last night’s performance.”
Galway United beat the students of UCD 3-1 and Galway’s Alan Murphy said, “Today’s result was an excellent team performance and a really positive reaction to a poor result and performance last time out away to Waterford.”
“The players really learned a lot from the Waterford result. Both the coaching staff and the players worked extremely hard in the last two weeks on the training ground.”
“Goalscorers today were Harry Rogers (2) who has 4 goals in 3 games and is showing his experience at the level. Wilson Waweru got the third today with an excellent finish and was a threat all day.
Mark Greaney, Fraser Allen, Ronan Asgari and Dean Murphy were outstanding on the day. Liam Og Horkan also made his first appearance and looked composed.”
Video highlights of Bray Wanderers and Limerick;
Bray Wanderers and Limerick drew 2-2 and Limerick’s Derek McCarthy said, “Having led twice in the game it can be a small bit disappointing to drop two points, but I have to say I was really pleased with the lads today. Bray are a tough side to play against but I couldn’t ask any more of the physical commitment of each and every player.”
“On top of that I think we really tried to play. Cory McManus in goal did really well. Andy Quaid playing his first time at centre half showed real composure on the ball throughout. Up front Micheal Conlon whose work rate was a real menace for Bray scored two great goals. The first a header from a corner and the second a delightful left footed curler into the top corner. He was unlucky not to get his hat-trick when a lob from 40 yards just went wide. All in all it was an even enough contest and the draw was probably a fair result.”
Cork City beat their local rivals Cobh Ramblers 3-1.
Cobh’s Damien Rowe, “3-1 is hard to take today. Much improved from the last few weeks. We went one down after being the better of the two teams in first half, even though we had goalkeeper Arthur to thank for keeping it to one with chances they had. It could have been 3 at half-time.”
“Some good play from them down the right and a good finish from their impressive forward.”
“Started the second half well again and got our reward with 12 minutes to go. Good play lead to a corner and after it was cleared and delivered back in Nathan O’Donnell finished it to the net.”
“But this is where we need to learn, thinking we had the job done only to concede down the left side twice in last ten minutes. Best on day for us was Joe Meaney and Arthur Nguagou”
Cork’s Brendan O’Sullivan said, “We we were delighted with the win, it’s always a special game playing Cobh. Our lads would have grown up playing with and against the Cobh lads so it’s a special game for everyone.”
“Cian Murphy kept up his record of scoring all our goals this season until Rory Doyle popped up with a great goal to seal the victory with five minutes to go.”
On Cian, O’Sullivan said, “Cian Murphy has been hugely impressive this season. He is hungry to do well in the game to reach as high a level as possible. His good form has not gone unnoticed as Senior Manager John Caulfield has called him up to play in a friendly with the first team this coming week. It’s highly likely Murphy will move up to the U-19’s in the coming weeks also in order to test himself at that level.”
“Dale Holland was also very impressive in midfield alongside Rory Doyle, who together dominated possession in midfield.”
“We were very pleased with the way we played and the number of clear cut chances we created. On another day we could have scored 3 or 4 more.”
“Centre backs Jack O’Sullivan and Jamie O’Sullivan always played very well and were good in possession also, which is something we have been working on in training.”
“If Cian Murphy moves on to the U-19’s then Cian Bargary did himself no harm in terms of staking a claim to be the main striker, as he was a constant torn in the side of the Cobh defence and created many chances including assisting Murphy’s first goal.”
“Overall we were delighted with the win in our first home game of the season and we look forward to welcoming Galway to Bishopstown next Saturday.”
Robert Goggins (Shamrock Rovers)
St Patrick’s Athletic
Dave Kenny (Bray Wanderers