Feature game Leinster Leader
Georgina Donnelly Premier Cup Semi Final.
Straffan AFC 4 1 Newbridge Hotspurs FC
Two of the top three Premier league side’s went head to head for a place in the Premier cup final. On a crisp morning, the lodge park pitch was in great condition for football to be played.
In a cagey first ten minutes, there was very few noteworthy chances, however, it was Straffan who looked dangerous from set pieces.
On the fifteenth minute, an interception from Jamie Boyne, sprayed the ball out wide and with good passing down the left with Shane fox, John Tracey was played in but just before he pulled the trigger to shoot, some very good defending from the Newbridge full back prevented the hosts going 1-0 up.
Hotspurs started the game brightly also and had early chances with Shane Smith and Scott O’Donohue both going close in the first ten minutes. Despite dominating early on, Hotspurs couldn’t break down the resolute Straffan defence. However, on the twenty seventh minute, Hotspurs found the breakthrough when Diarmuid Hartley made fantastic pass to Shane Smith who slotted home from close range. 1-0 to Hotspurs. However, within three minutes of taking the lead Straffan struck back with the leveller, just the wake up call they needed as a corner from John Tracey and a good run from the back post from Ben Holmes, seen the game levelled with a bullet header into the bottom corner.
On the half hour mark, Straffan then kicked on with the majority of possession and they took the lead after a well worked shot from Ben Holmes but was brilliantly saved from the Newbridge No1, but Straffan skipper Kevin Fox was there to capitalise on the rebound and get his name on the scoresheet. Just before half time, Straffan piled on the pressure and from a Kevin Fox corner, Shane McNamara had a shot on goal, it was controlled at the back post by Ben Holmes who calmly ushered the ball into the bottom corner. 3-1 at half time.
Having regrouped at half time, Hotspurs hoped to get themselves back in the game. However, it was Straffan who started the better creating a number of chances but the Hotspurs keeper was on hand to make a number of good saves. On the 63rd minute, Hotspurs made some personnel and tactical changes and this immediately started to make the difference. Hotspurs were unlucky not to get one back when Shame Smith went close with his shot. Two mins later a fine cross by Sam Rooney found Eoin McGrath at the back post but the Straffan defender managed to intercept McGrath at the most vital moment. Hotspurs continued to press but lacked that final ball/ pass in the final third. Despite continuing to press for the vital second goal, it was Straffan who managed to go further ahead through John Treacy following some great work from Reece Kelly to make it 4-1 on the 87th minute.
A few standout performances from both teams but Man of the Match goes to Straffans No9, Ben Holmes. Credit to the 2 teams for a competitive and sporting game of football but Straffan are the team to progress into the final. Best for Newbridge Hotspurs: Diarmuid Hartley, Greg Kelly, Cian Scanlon and Josh Morgan