In a much-anticipated game Castleisland welcomed Dublin side VEC F.C. to our Limerick Road pitch on Sunday for the FAI Cup last 64 game.
By Neil O’Sullivan
Castleisland made a few changes from their 6-0 thumping of Cedar Galaxy and lined out with a strong looking side with Mike Hanifin and Paul Carmody returning to the starting line-up.
A great home crowd turned out despite the blustery weather conditions and VEC started the game with the wind to their advantage.
The first piece of action came in the second minute when Colin McCarthy’s floated free kick was headed across goal by Micheál Walsh but Stan Divane was crowed out at the back post as he tried to turn the ball into the net.
VEC had their opening chance of the match in the eighth minute when a miss hit clearance fell to their striker who curled his shot wide of Steven Bartlett’s right hand corner. VEC were starting to assert themselves in the game and won a succession of corners. A third VEC corner made its way to the back post where Bartlett was on hand to make a point blank save with his feet to keep the score at 0-0.
In the 22nd minute VEC earned their sixth corner of the game and like tax cuts in an election year the inevitable was coming.
A corner delivered to the penalty spot was met by VEC’s big and powerful Aidan Hyland and his header came off the post and trickled over the line before Bartlett could get a hand to it. Bartlett wasn’t happy with the awarding of the goal as he felt the whole ball wasn’t over the line but the goal was given.
The goal gave great confidence to VEC and they took control for the next period of the game.
They really should have doubled their lead in the 28th minute when a move down the right resulted in a pin point cross from the winger onto the number 10’s head but his header was directed straight at Bartlett who saved well.
Hanging in the Balance
VEC had two more chances prior to have time, the first coming in the 44th minute when a corner was cleared to the wing toward the VEC left back who swung a cross in to the edge of the box but the shot went through a number of bodies and wide of the post.
The last action of the half saw Bartlett make another good save from a shot from the edge of the box. This left us with a scoreline of 1-0 at halftime with the game hanging in the balance as Castleisland had the advantage of the wind in the second half.
Castleisland started the second half very brightly with Stan Divane and Mike Hanifin putting pressure on the VEC defence who stood strong. In the 55th minute a free kick was given against the VEC goalkeeper for holding on to the ball for more than the six seconds allowed so this left Castleisland with an indirect freekick just inside the box.
Feehan laid it off for McCarthy but his shot was high and wide of the VEC goal.
On the hour mark Castleisland were inches away from equalising. Mikey Cahill’s ball from the left wing split the VEC’s defence but Mike Hanifin was a couple of inches short of poking the ball home.
Eamon Nolan and Adam O’Donoghue were introduced to the game in the 65th minute in the hope that fresh legs would help unlock the VEC defence.
On the 70th minute VEC earned a free kick and the big man once again trudged his way forward from the back.
A Great Delivery
A great delivery towards the big man caused havoc in the box and the ball came off a Castleisland man and into the bottom corner of the net. Facing a two goal deficit against a well organised VEC side had Castleisland really up against it for the remaining period of the game.
The introduction of Mike McCarthy and Kevin Mahoney saw a change in formation and Aidan O’Callaghan move up as another striker.
However, Castleisland just couldn’t find the bit of luck needed to get on the end of one of Aidan’s flicks and the VEC goalkeeper remained untroubled.
A Deserved Win
In the 84th minute VEC made it 3-0. A ball down the left saw Luke Lyons racing with the VEC striker who pulled Luke back by the jersey on the blind side of the referee and the linesman failed to flag and the strike pulled the ball back for Seamus Staunton who slotted home past Bartlett.
So a full time scoreline of 3-0 and a deserved win for a strong VEC side who will trouble a lot of sides with their direct style of soccer.
Thanks to Desmonds and Tom McCarthy
Castleisland will know that they have better performances in them but can be proud of their cup run and the way they kept battling until the final whistle. We would like to wish VEC all the best in the last 32.
Special thanks to Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club for the use of their dressing rooms and showers on the day and to our sponsor Tom McCarthy who put on a fine feed for both sides after the game.
Another Big Game
Both sides enjoyed a few refreshments and food during the Merseyside Derby where the reds came out on top again.
Attentions now turn to the other remaining competitions for the A team as they look to push on and make a league final.
They have another big game next Sunday as they take on Killarney Celtic in the semi final of the Munster Junior Cup where both sides will be looking to bounce back from defeats last weekend.
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