SOCCER; SFAI U14 NATIONAL CUP
DUNGLOE TOWN 2
NAAS FC 1
By Harry Walsh
DUNGLOE Town secured their place in the quarter final stages of this year’s U14 National Cup following this hard fought win against a talented Naas FC side at the Shorefront yesterday afternoon.
Trailing through an early Darragh Kelly free kick, Pat Ward’s side bounced back almost immediately thanks to an opportunist PJ Doogan strike.
Their all important second goal was a wonderful, individual effort from Aaron McGlynn early in the second half.
The Glenfin player, who qualified to run for Ireland by finishing eighth at the All-Ireland Schools Cross Country Championship in Cork the previous day, beat two players down the left flank before cutting inside and flashing a thunderous right foot shot high into the Naas net.
It was a superb finish from the tall striker who terrorised the Naas defence throughout but the real star of the show was Dungloe captain Daniel Ward.
Stationed in the middle of the park, he used his wand-like left foot to create numerous chances for the team-mates while he also worked hard in defence where central defensive partners Danny McGlynn and Ethan Harkin were excellent.
Harkin was charged with curbing the influence of Naas’ big number nine Darragh Kelly, a job he relished, while McGlynn’s reading of the game meant that he was always a yard ahead of the attacker when it mattered most.
After enjoying a lively start, Dungloe, who beat Limerick side Pike Rovers in the last round, were rocked on ten minutes when Naas opened the scoring. They appeared to be little danger when they were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal only for Kelly to hammer a left foot shot over the defensive wall and high into the net.
The home side bounced back within three minutes when PJ Doogan jinked his way through the middle before slipping the ball under the body of the advancing Naas captain Adam Murphy and into the net.
Two minutes later Murphy did well to block a Ward header before McGlynn hammered the rebound over the bar.
At the other end of the field O’Donnell showed his bravery in diving at an attacker’s feet after he had spilled another Kelly free.
Dungloe had a lucky escape on 22 minutes when Eoin O’Neill crashed a shot off the crossbar before the Naas ‘keeper did well to block McGlynn’s shot on the stroke of half time.
The second half was just four minutes old when McGlynn conjured up his magical strike and while Naas enjoyed the majority of possession they were unable to seriously threaten the Dungloe goal.
Indeed, Dungloe should have been two goals to the good on 43 minutes. McGlynn’s long free kick into the danger area was headed goalwards by Doogan and while Brian Proctor’s flick beat the Naas ‘keeper a defender just managed to get back in time to clear off the line.
Kelly headed over from a corner while Adam Byrne also saw a headed effort go narrowly wide of its intended target.
The County Kildare outfit introduced a number of late substitutes in a bid to force home an equalising score but to no avail and it’s Dungloe who can look forward to another home tie against either Home Farm or Belvedere in the last eight.
Speaking afterwards, Pat Ward was delighted with the battling qualities shown by his players on the day.
“They were a very good outfit and dominated the ball and we were forced to work very hard but fair play to the boys. The second goal (Aaron McGlynn) was like something you would see in the Premiership.
“That was more a battling performance today than football but we stuck at it and, thankfully, we’re now through the last eight.
“We’re the only Donegal team to have ever reached the final of this cup seven years ago when we had players like Carl McHugh, Joe Coll and Brian McGroary (who subsequently joined Bradford City, Man United and Wolves respectively),” he recalled.
Carl’s younger brother Aidan had a fine game at right back yesterday.
DUNGLOE TOWN: Conor O’Donnell, Calum Boyle, Aidan McHugh, Danny McGlynn, Ethan Harkin, Aaron McCafferty, PJ Doogan, Daniel Ward, Brian Proctor, Oisin Bonner, Aaron McGlynn. Sub: Thomas Harnett for Bonner (58 mins) and Jack Doherty, Dylan Boyle, Dillon Sweeney, Ethan Ward and Martin Ward (not used).
NAAS FC: Adam Murphy, Billy Byrne, Sean Hurley, Eoghan Prizeman, Robert Lee, James Noble, Adam Byrne, Liam Cummins, Darragh Kelly, Jack Collins, Eoin O’Neill. Subs: Josh Harris for A Byrne (64 mins), Sam Harney for Noble (66 mins) and Cillian Manders and Conor Clancy for B Byrne and Hurley (69 mins).
REFEREE: Joe McHugh
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