Kilmichael Rovers 2
ARDFIELD and Kilmichael Rovers got the new SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls U16 Premier League season off to an entertaining start at the Showgrounds last weekend.
Two sides packed with talented attacking players produced a game with five goals plus a gutsy Kilmichael fightback before the home team took all three points on offer.
Ardfield enjoyed the better start with Emiliano Moore and George Cannon going close during the opening exchanges.
Cillian White and Olan O’Donovan gave little away at the back as the home side dominated possession during a free-flowing opening quarter. Once they settled, Kilmichael began to look menacing in the final third and punished their opponent’s profligacy with a goal of the highest quality after 16 minutes.
David Lynch’s inch-perfect pass found Ciarán Foley on the corner of Ardfield’s penalty area. The Kilmichael striker advanced on goal before arrowing an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
Both goalkeepers, Ardfield’s Conor Whelton and Rovers’ Dylan Connolly, acquitted themselves well throughout the fixture with the latter denying an Olan O’Donovan long-range effort from hitting the net.
The home team persisted and were rewarded with a deserved leveller from a set-piece towards the end of the first half. Cillian White’s delivery found an unmarked Olan O’Donovan inside a packed 18-yard box and the Ardfield player directed the ball into the net. It was 1-1 at half time.
A major turning point occurred shortly after the restart when Ciarán Foley’s venomous shot crashed back off the crossbar. Zach Ryan was first to react and found the net only to have his effort ruled out for offside. Ardfield survived that scare before promptly moving the ball down the opposite end. Colm Hayes evaded the Kilmichael defence and chipped an out-rushing Dylan Connolly to push Ardfield in front.
Multiple chances were created as an unrelenting tempo remained high during the final quarter.
Kilmichael looked dangerous in the final third but it was their opponents who carved out and converted the game’s best goal. Emiliano Moore’s run and cross was cushioned into the path of Colm Hayes by Olan O’Donovan. Hayes instantly directed a superb shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.
Creditably, Kilmichael finished the stronger and deservedly pulled one back courtesy of a terrific Tom Browne effort. The home team had to survive some late scares but hung on to win on an afternoon both teams looked capable of challenging for U16 Premier honours this term.
Ardfield: Conor Whelton, Cillian White, Olan O’Donovan, Cillian O’Donovan, Ben Linehan, Sam Coffey, Olan Murphy, George Cannon (captain), Alexsei Binzar, Emiliano Moore, Colm Hayes. Subs: Sam McKulka, Eoin Farrell, Cian O’Regan, Callum O’Sullivan, Joseph O’Sullivan.
Kilmichael Rovers: Dylan Connolly, Sam Wood, Oisin Herlihy, David O’Riordan, Fionn O’Mahony, David Lynch, Michael Downey, Tom Browne, Adam Cotter, Ciarán Foley, Zach Ryan (captain). Subs: Diarmuid Kelleher, Ben Foley, Daire Herlihy, Colm Bradley.
Referee: Anthony McDermott.