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NDSL won out the despite an excellent performance from our NECSL team.
Both teams struggled to settle into any kind of rhythm due to the strong wind blowing from behind the far goal. This resulted in no chances of note in the 1st half, largely thanks to the dominant performance of the NECSL’s midfield trio; Conor, Jack and Adam. NDSL did manage to break past on a couple of occasions but were halted by Rian, Bradley Luis and the excellent Cia, ensuring Eoin had little to do.
The NECSL started the second half with the wind at their backs, using it to apply sustained pressure on the NDSL defense, who to their credit, prevented any clear cut chances. Jack who was having a growing influence on the game was joined in the middle by substitute, Jamie Murray. Jamie was immediately involved, a clever ball from Vinnie released him 1-on-1 with the keeper….only to be called offsite by the referee. Vinnie, who had the hard task of playing the lone striker then had a chance to win it with a free kick which arrowed narrowly wide, only for the NDSL to have a chance of their own before the normal time whistle, shooting wide.
Extra time started as normal time had finished, both sides with chances, Cai who was excellent throughout, won a hard fought corner, which delivered by Jamie straight onto Vinnie’s head forcing the keeper into a fine save. Jamie, having a greater influence on the game then won a free kick in midfield. Rian drilled it into the box, with Vinnie again forcing the keeper to save. Vinnie would have another chance to open the scoring forcing a cross over the bar. The half would finish with an excellent save from Eoin.
NDSL grew into the game in the second half of ET, their pressure finally paying off; a through ball was controlled and finished into the bottom corner. NECSL tried to respond with Jack particularly unlucky on 2 occasions with his attempts which would have forced penalties.
If the ball had bounced their way, the NECSL players could have been taking the cup home, but left the Oscar Traynor with their heads held high, with coaches and parents of the NDSL giving them a consolatory a round of applause as they did so.
GK Eoin Clynch
RB Louis Kane
LB Cai Jones-Mason
CB Rian Collins (Sub Sennan Enwright)
CB Bradley Kirwin (Captain)
DM Conor Harding
M Jack Collier
M Adam Cully (Sub: Jamie Murray)
F Vinnie Leonard
Subs: Daithi Grehan, Tommy Briody, Daniel Gaffney, Jeff Foley, Harry Lynch, Thomas Byrne.