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Allenwood Celtic U13 Shield - The Road to the Final

Quarter Final v Newbridge Town B -- 27 April 2013

Despite having to concede home advantage for this quarter final, Allenwood Celtic turned in one of their most dominant performances of the season to book their place in the semi finals. They took the game to their more illustrious opponents from the first whistle and dominated for the entire 60 minutes.

A well worked short corner after 2 minutes saw the ball whipped dangerously into the Town penalty box by Liam McManus which lead to Jamie Nolan slotting the ball neatly to the net with a very clever finish. Celtic attacked at will on their right hand side with Jason Wise and Danny Reilly playing very well for the entire match.

Goal number 2 arrived on 8 minutes following slick passing down the right between Jack Turbett and Danny Reilly leading to a cross into the Town box which was brilliantly finished to the net by Sean Mc Mahon with an overhead kick. Further chances followed but the Town keeper was showing himself to be their best player as he saved his team on a number of occasions. Newbridge town had a good spell from the 10th minute to the 20th and tried very hard to attack. However with Mark Byrne very calm in goal and reading the game very well and with Colm Moran and Ciaran Bagnall outstanding in the centre of defence all threats were dealt with properly.

From the 20th minute Kalvin Carroll and Darren Judge reasserted their dominance in centre midfield and drove the team on. On 22 minutes Kalvin swept a lovely ball to the right hand side to Danny Reilly who attacked and beat the Town left full and hit a lovely low cross into the box that was coolly finished to the bottom left corner of the net from 18 yards by Jack Turbett. On 27 minutes Liam Mc Manus picked up the ball in his left full position and played a neat pass down the wing to Sean Mc Mahon. Sean played a 1st time pass to Darren Judge who attacked the right side of the Town defence and sent in a dangerous low cross which was initially dealt with and cleared only for Sean Mc Mahon to intercept 40 yds from goal and play a lovely slip pass to Jack Turbett who controlled the ball, turned and hit a 1st time shot from 12 yds to the bottom right hand corner of the Town net to leave the scores 4-0 at half time.

At half time Jack Dempsey came on in defence and Joe Cluskey came on in attack with Eamon Dunne and Adam Donegan soon following from the bench to freshen things up. Within 5 minutes however Town scored a well worked goal of their own with good interplay down their right leading to a neat finish to the bottom left corner of our net. This was only the 2nd goal conceded by an outstanding goal keeper in Mark Byrne in the last 9 competitive matches, a feat not achieved by any other KDUL goal keeper this season.

The new players introduced quickly found their feat with Jack Dempsey tigerish in defence, Eamon Dunne working very well on the left wing and Joe Cluskey and Adam Donegan combining very well up front. Sean Mc Mahon was moved into the holding midfield role and was outstanding. Chances followed at will for the last 20 minutes of the game however, Eamon, Adam and Joe were frustrated by the Town Keeper and "Mrs Luck" who stopped their shots or saw shots go very narrowly wide.

All 4 interchange players worked their socks off and gave their manager a selection headache for the semi-final.  The game ended on a score of 4-1 with our boys now in the semis where they play Clane Utd which will be a much tougher proposition. Outstanding for Allenwood were, Colm Moran and Liam Mc Manus in defence, Sean Mc Mahon in midfield, Jack Turbett, Jamie Nolan and Joe Cluskey upfront and man of the match Danny Reilly.

Semi Final v Clane Utd A Team -- 4 May 2013.

The game was played on home turf against a strong Clane Team who play 1 Division higher than our boys. Despite this, our lads were on top from the very first whistle and almost took the lead when Sean Mc Mahon ran on to a pass from Liam Mc Manus and intelligently lobbed the ball over the advancing goalkeeper only to see his effort bounce agonisingly over the cross bar.

The game was very tight in the first half and the quality of both teams evident. Our boys were strong in defence, worked very hard in midfield and tried very hard in attack to get past a very strong Clane centre half. The teams were level at half time at 0-0.

Our boys grew in confidence as they knew at half time they were the better team and they started the second half very strongly and almost took the lead after 3 minutes when Jack Turbett latched onto a loose ball in the Clane penalty box only to see his shot come back off the post. By now Darren Judge had taken control of the game and his pace and power drove the team on and on 15 mins he took the ball down the Clane left side of their defence and hit a brilliant low cross into the penalty box which was met at the back post by Joseph Cluskey who expertly finished to the net for the only goal of the game.

Our lads continued to press for a second but for the brilliance of the Clane centre half the result would have been very emphatic as he singlehandedly saved his team on 5 occasions in the second half. Such was the dominance of our lads in this game, Clane were restricted to one chance in the last minute of the match which was calmly shepherded out for a goal kick.

Despite the obvious disappointment of the Clane team and management, this was a well deserved victory for our lads and the score line could have read 3 or 4 nil but the 1 nil was all that was needed to get us to the final.

Best for our lads today were, Mark Byrne with his 9th clean sheet of the season, Jason Wyse who gave an outstanding display in defence, Sean Mc Mahon, Darren Judge who in the second half was unplayable and Kalvin Carroll who ran his socks off in midfield where he was needed today and man of the match Joe Cluskey who scored the most important goal in the Clubs underage history to get his team to the final.

The Final v Newbridge Town A Team -- 6 May 2013.

What a day in Tougher Park this was for the Club. The boys turned in a genuinely storming performance against the number 3 team in the KDUL. Despite playing a team 2 Divisions higher, our lads proved once again that the supposed gulf in class did not exist.

While Newbridge Town played some nice football, which showed that they are together as a group for 6 years, our lads, in their 1st year as a group, more than matched them for skill, commitment and desire. There was a brilliant support from home at the game and it certainly lifted our lads to produce a never say die performance. They took the game to Newbridge from the off and their efforts were rewarded when on 8 minutes Darren Judge took a free kick on the left edge of the penalty box and sent an unstoppable shot to the top right hand corner of the net to put our lads 1 nil up. Within 3 minutes however Newbridge were level. A very dubious free kick was awarded on the right hand side of our penalty box. The ball was floated into our six yard box and when Mark Byrne came to collect, he appeared to be caught out by the almost 2 foot hole right in front of his goal and although he got one hand on the ball it dropped at the feet of a Town player who slotted the loose ball into the net to equalise. This goal definitely came about as a result of the crater in front of Marks goal which made it impossible to reach high balls. This lifted Town and they started to spray the ball around well. They tested our defence for the next 5 minutes however with Ciaran Bagnall and Colm Moran on top, and Mark playing brilliantly as a sweeping goal keeper. No further goals were scored.

On 20 minutes a diagonal pass from the Town midfield to the left hand side saw their right winger bear down on goal. Ciaran raced from the centre to cover but in his attempt to tackle, a very cute winger clipped the ball onwards and fell over Ciarans legs. The referee pointed to the spot and the Town penalty taker gave Mark no chance. It was 2-1 but our lads kept playing their football and pressed forward when they could. On 25 minutes a corner on the right for Town was hit into our 6 yard area and unfortunately a bad bounce in the crater in front of Marks goal fell kindly to a Town player who bobbled the ball to the net for 3 - 1 lead. To their credit, our lads’ heads never went down and on 28 minutes a shot from Darren Judge was somehow tipped over the bar by the Town 'keeper for a corner. The corner was taken by Sean who hit a great ball into the box but alas there was no crater in front of that goal and the Town defence scrambled the ball away just when it looked like we would score our second. The referee then whistled for half time.

Newbridge town started very well in the second half and for the 1st 10 minutes they pressed our defence but our defenders did magnificently. By now Town were reduced to long range shots and unfortunately on 13 minutes a pot shot from 30 yards that appeared to be going wide hit a Town striker on the back of the head and the ball flew into the corner of the net to leave the score line a very undeserved 4-1.

The Gods were not smiling on us in this game at all. In fairness to Newbridge, their superior fitness was now telling and on 18 minutes following further pressure they won a corner on the right and a lovely ball was swung in which was brilliantly finished to our net with a bullet header. Although this was their 5th goal of the game it was only the 2nd goal they can claim full credit for themselves. At this stage our lads raised their game again and after the introduction of some fresh legs we owned the ball for the final 15 minutes and scored our second goal when Joe Cluskey rose to head the ball very neatly to the town net to make the score 5-2.

By now our lads were completely on top with Evan Corcoran (returning from illness) and Eamon Dunne playing very strongly down the right side of defence and midfield which settled the players again and they created 3 more chances in the final 10 minutes but again lady luck conspired against us. While Newbridge town deserved their victory, the score line most certainly does not tell the true story of the game.

A combination of cuteness, fitness, experience and lady luck got Town their victory. While Darren Judge was easily the outstanding player (from either team) on the pitch, all 15 other Allenwood Celtic players gave absolutely everything for their team and can be very proud of themselves. It also has to be said that no team can achieve without the direction and commitment of its mentors and in this regard, we congratulate Ed and Brendan for guiding this team to the final in its first season as a group. This is just the start for this group!!