Ace Sports awards Masters Shield Final.
(By Jamie Connolly)
Enfield Celtic 0 Liffeybank FC 3
In a cool brisk Autum evening Enfield Celtic came up against Liffeybank Celtic at Celbridge AFC. Having played each other twice, in 2 very close games, during the league campaign both camps anticipated a closely fought final game of the season in the Maters Shied Final.
Enfield Celtic got proceedings on the way at 4.45pm on Saturday 14th October to a nervy start from both sides as both struggled to get the ball down with various ariel battles being fought all over the pitch. It was Enfield who signalled an early intent with Darren Byrne taking control of the ball to the left of the opposition box and send the ball across the box without an Enfield player being able to take advantage.
Enfield were delt an early blow as Andrew (Bluey) Grace went over on his ankle whilst tracking and putting in a clever tackle on A Liffeybank Striker. Derek Byrne came in to replace him at the heart of the defence. Enfield didn’t let this deter them as they moved up the field to earn a throw on the left side near the corner flag. Errol Close launched the ball into the near post and with some neat combination play Darren Byrnes show whizzed low and hard past the right hand post.
With only eleven Minutes on the clock Enfield were forced into their second change of the game after Johnathon Leddy pulled up injured after given chase to a clever diagonal free kick from Stephen Ainscough.
Liffeybank showed intent on taken the game to Enfield and after some close attempts on goal. After nineteen minutes they took the lead from a corner whipped on to the penalty spot and passed out to their striker to head to the left hand side of the square. Making a darting run to the by line he delivered a pinpoint cross their marksman who rose highest at the back post to drive his header to the back of the net from six yards out.
Enfield were unlucky not to bring things back to an even keel when a deep free kick was delivered into the box for Adrian Wasson to knock his header down to Aidan O’Brien wo delivered a smart ball to the onrushing William Donnelly whose shot screwed off the outside of his right foot to fly inches past the wrong side of the Liffeybank goal. Liffey Banks second and third came in quick succession on the twenty fifth and twenty seventh minutes after a sustained period of pressure on the Enfield goal. The second arrived via a succession of corner deliveries. The decisive delivery resulted in a scramble on the six yard box at the near post, the ball fell kindly to Liffeybank number 8. The number 8 was also involved in the third as he broke up play from the Enfield kick off to deliver the ball to Number 11 who’s defence splitting pass arrived at the feet of number 10 who still had some work to do to get around the on rushing Enfield Goalkeeper David Maguire to pass the ball into an open goal to bring the scoreline to 3-0. The half ended with both teams playing some good football and good defending as both teams had goals on their mind.
Having done the damage in the first half Liffeybank set about protecting their three-goal lead in the second half. Enfield continued to press on in search of a goal and were unlucky early in the second half when a long free kick found its way to Richie Redmond who found himself 10 yards out but the ball couldn’t come down quick enough with his effort going over the bar. Another Enfield chance a few minutes later hit the post as a free kick delivered on the head of Aidan O’Brien who cleverly found some space in the box only for his header to hit the right hand upright. Enfield showed their intent not to let the game whimper out. Liffeybank did put the ball in the net one more time, however their effort was ruled out for offside as the Enfield defence pushed a high line in search of that elusive goal. This left Liffeybank opportunities to pass over the top of that high line for on rushers, however David Maguire in the Enfield goal, who obviously studied Manuel Neuer in great detail, on numerous occasions played the role of sweeper keeper. His efforts cleaning up these balls over the top, at times playing a high line himself, often on the edge of the D or higher. His efforts allowed Enfield to push on and create chances to get themselves back into the game. He was ably assisted by the tough tacking Liam Lacey who left his teammate Shane Kelly to continue the man the midfield they had patrolled together for the opening 50 minutes. Lacey moved back to centre back on the introduction of Joey Grehan and Doug McCrea. The pair combined on a clever free kick to release Darren Foran down the left hand side to put the ball across the box for Adrian Wasson to connect with a header only for it to hit of his own player who had been bundled down in the box as the cross came over. Enfield’s final 3 Substitution of Stevie Land, James O’Sullivan and David Amador kept the intensity levels high for Enfield but were unable to find the breakthrough in the second half that their efforts deserved. Liffeybank can be proud of a great season completing the league and shield double and both teams close out a good 2023 season looking forward to meeting each other again in a cup or shield competition in 2024.
Women’s Shield Final
Edenderry town AFC 1-3 clane United FC
(By Jamie Connolly)
Edenderry town and Clane United FC came up against each other on Sunday morning women’s shield final at Allenwood Celtic’s grounds in Killina Road. Both teams looking to end the season on a high. It was a foggy morning, but that cleared to give way for a great surface and good weather. The opening five minutes of the game was all about both teams settling into the game. Clane were passing the ball around but not getting into any danger areas. With eight minutes on the clock, some neat football from Clane saw the ball at the feet of Rebecca Devine, who tried to chip Ciana Mangan in the Edenderry goals, but the keeper claimed the ball. Couple of moments later and heather Maher of Clane played in Rebecca Devine, who sent in a cross only to be cleared by Alicia Kavanagh in the Edenderry defence. At the other end, Sophiat Omayayi and Drew Moss of Edenderry were keeping the clane defence on their toes.
The game was all about a midfield battle and both teams trying to gain the upper hand.
thirteen minutes in and nice link up play from a throw in by clane’s Tara Dunne, was taken in well by Rebecca Devine who crossed the ball in to the box however there was no one positioned to take advantage.
Twenty two minutes in and Clane we’re now starting to up the pressure on Edenderry. A corner swung in by Sarah McNeil was met by Sarah Byrne who just headed wide. The opening goal came on the half hour mark when Sarah McNeill chipped the ball over the defender and Ciara Smullen got on the end of the pass to slot it past the keeper to put Clane 1-0 up and take the deserved lead. Edenderry to their credit we’re working hard and trying to set up attacks but we’re being hounded by the clane midfield. With the half coming to a close Clane’s Molly Nason won the ball in midfield and played it to heather Maher, who in turn played in the lively Devine for Clane but Molly Ryan of Edenderry made an excellent tackle to thwart a shot on goal. On the stroke of half time Clane delivered a hammer blow when Heather Maher played in Molly Nason who placed the ball into the bottom corner to send Clane in 2-0 to the good at half time.
The opening exchanges of second half were all Clane and on a couple of occasion great link up play by Ciara Smullen and Molly Nason saw crosses going into the Edenderry box, but nothing came of them. Ciara Smullen went clear on goal in the fifty fifth minute but kicked the ground before the shot and dragged the shot wide. In the sixty first minute of the game Sarah McNeil played an inch perfect pass to Molly Nason, Nason played it across to Sarah Byrne who lobbed the keeper from the edge of the box to put Clane 3-0 up. Edenderry made a few changes with Laura korkysyska, Karen Higgins & Farida Omays who gave a burst of energy into Edenderry attack and started to cause more problems for the Clane defence. Sarah Mcneilis, Edenderry seen a snap shot fly just wide on the sixty five minute.
Edenderry to their credit never stopped battling but Clane were on form today and tough to break down. Edenderry did break the rear guard of Clane on the sixty eight minute when Sarah Mcneilis passed to Laura Kockysyska who shot and Rebecca Phillips in the Clane goal couldn’t hold onto the shot and Kockysyska tapped in the rebound to give Edenderry a slight glimmer of hope. On the seventy first minute Cianna Morgan in Edenderry goals made a great save from heater Maher to keep her side in the game. With both teams giving so much in the game so far, tired legs slowed the pace of the game down and Clane’s experience proved vital with them seeing out the click and being crowned winners. Edenderry had good performances in Alicia Kavanagh, Sophiat Omayayi and Ciara Braddock.
Best for the winners were Rebecca Devine, Heather Maher, Sarah McNeil and player of the match Molly Nason.