So near but yet so far was the general consensus after Newport lost their FAI Junior Cup last 32 game away to Aisling Annacotty on Sunday afternoon. Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve but that’s sport and it’s Aisling who advance to the last 16 after securing a late 2-1 win over a Newport side who deserved far more than the final score-line showed. Newport were the firm underdogs before the game as we are two divisions below the home side but it was the Division 1B side who really put it up to the Premier League side and the general consensus was that the better team lost on the day.
The Newport faithful travelled to Annacotty in massive numbers and easily outnumbered the home support ten to one and really got behind the lads right from the kick-off. The first 15 minutes were very cagey with both teams probing but creating very few chances. In the 16th minute, Christy Doyle had the first real chance of the game but the Aisling keeper, Brian O’Connor, who was called on many times througout the game, saved well to deny Newport the opener. In the 27th minute, Doyler got on the end of a Sean Ryan, one of Newport’s best players on the day, cross but his header went over the bar. 3 minutes later, team captain, Brian O’Sullivan fired in a shot from 20 yards, which was easily saved. Aisling broke quickly and forced a shot, which was blocked for a corner. From the resultant phases of play, the home side exerted some pressure and in the 32nd minute Jason Lipper put Aisling ahead with an opportunistic header after some mis-communication in the Newport rearguard. This goal was against the run of play as Newport had been the more threatening up to that point.
In the 37th minute, Newport striker, Christy Doyle, received a yellow card after cheekily heading the ball out of the Aisling’s keeper’s hands and in hindsight, this card proved to be costly as Christy was walking a thin line from them on. On the stroke of half-time Newport were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box and dead-ball specialist, Elliott Slattery rifled in a shot which looked like a definite goal until the Aisling keeper made a brilliant reflex save to deny Newport an equaliser. 0-1 down at half-time but Newport were well in the game.
After a couple of positional changes, with Davy Ryan switching wings, Newport started the second half much the stronger and exerted some concerted pressure on the Aisling goal. Newport were well on top and in the 68th minute got their reward with an equaliser from Christy Doyle, for his 28th goal of the season. Davy Ryan, who displayed all his experience with a super display, picked up a ball in the Aisling half and jinked his way through the Aisling defence. When everyone expected him to unleash a shot, he laid off a sublime pass to the onrushing Doyle who calmly slotted the ball low past the Aisling keeper to send the travelling support into raptures. At this stage, Newport were well on top and looking the more likely. However disaster struck in the 73rd minute when Christy Doyle was sent from the pitch for a controversial second yellow card. It appeared that Doyle had won the ball in a tough but fair challenge but after referee Robbie Broe consulted with his linesman, the second yellow card was brandished and Newport were reduced to 10 men.
Despite having the one man advantage the Premier league side did not change their tactic of pumping long balls up the pitch, which were superbly dealt with the Newport rearguard of Kev O’Brien, Mark McGuire, Christy O’Connor & Elliott Slattery throughout the game. Newport were digging deep and kept putting pressure on the Aisling defence and it was still anyone’s game. However in the 85th minute Newport hearts were broken when a ball was crossed into the heart of the Newport penalty area and Aisling player Aaron Murphy got his head on the end of a cross a split second before Newport keeper Jimmy Fyfe.
With 5 minutes remaining on the clock Newport threw the kitchen sink at Aisling but despite some half-chances towards the end, it was the Annacotty side who held out to secure safe passage to the last 16.
Despite bowing out of the competition at a stage never reached before, Newport can hold their heads high as every player on the pitch gave 100% and put in a performance which deserved far more than the final result. The neutrals at the game agreed with this viewpoint but unfortunately sport can be cruel and it’s Newport who will look back at the game and wonder if it was one that they left behind. If the lads can perform at this level for the rest of the season then they will be pushing hard for promotion at the business end of the campaign.
Thanks to the Newport supporters who turned out in such huge numbers to get behind the lads. It was great to see children, parents and grand-parents and from all sporting codes at the game to show that we are a club firmly entrenched in our community.
Next weekend’s fixtures sees all our sides at home in Derryleigh Park. The Junior A team get to play against another Premier side, Kilmallock, in round 2 of the Lawson Cup (11am). Last week’s performance, despite the result, will give the lads great confidence for the remainder of the season, where promotion is now firmly the main focus. The Bs play Parkville in the league (2.15pm) and the U18s play, premier opposition, Charleville, in round 2 of the Ger Ryan Youth Cup (2.15pm).
We are delighted & very proud to announce that our club has once again been represented in the Limerick District Schoolchildren’s League Awards for the 2017/2018 season. We have received three awards this year.
Contribution to Football Award – Denis ‘Jack’ O’Sullivan
U16 Div 1 Player of the Year – Jack O’Carroll
Club Award – Luke Kennedy
What more can be said about Denis ‘Jack’ O’Sullivan? He’s been involved in schoolboy football with Newport for as long as anyone can remember and is still going strong as Manager of the current U16 side. He has given years of dedication, time, knowledge & effort to all the players who have been on any of the teams that he’s been involved with. He has also done likewise for the club in terms of being a committee member and also involved with junior sides in the past. Denis has created an O’Sullivan football dynasty within the club as his 3 lads, Kieran (Fletch), Brian (Clemy) & Pete (Pistol) are all playing junior football with the club as well as his grand-son Cillian, who’s playing with the U16s. You will see Denis at most games that his lads are playing in and he’s also your go-to man if you want a mint sweet at a game. Thanks also to his wife, Kathleen & daughter, Denise for putting up with all the football talk, that we are sure goes on around the dinner table every night. Every club needs the likes of Denis to grow & prosper and it’s brilliant to see his contribution to schoolboy football being recognised by the Limerick League. No doubt Denis will take this award in his stride and play it down as is his nature but as a club we are delighted and very proud of this achievement by a wonderful clubman.
Jack O’Carroll was co-Captain of last season’s U16 team who completed the League & Cup double and went the season unbeaten in all local competitions. Jack was also a member of the U17 squad who got to their divisional cup final in Jackman Park. He’s known as a hard-working, skilful player and prolific goal-scorer and was also selected as the club’s U16 player of the year last season. This award culminates what was a brilliant season for both Jack & his fellow team-mates.
Luke Kennedy is a highly thought-of young keeper in our club and is a popular choice to receive a Club Award. He was selected as one of our U12 Players of the Year last season after a wonderful campaign. Keepers are a rare commodity in most clubs and Luke has definitely been ear-marked as one for the future.
Our award winners will be presented with their awards at the Limerick League awards ceremony on Friday, January 25. Well done to Denis, Jack & Luke from everyone in the club.
Our U17s enjoyed an excellent 6-2 win away to Lough Derg. This was a super performance from the girls and the goals were scored by Kaitlyn Bradshaw 2, Abbie Lenihan, Chelsea King, Caragh Flynn & Rachel Carey. Unfortunately, despite a good display, the U12s lost 1-0 at home to Lough Derg.
Next Saturday the U13 & U18 girls are back in action. The U13s are away to Shinrone (10am) and the U18s are home to Nenagh (10am).
Kick-start 2019 and start your new year weight-loss resolution with the Calorie Kickers community weight-loss group, which continues this Wednesday, January 16 and every every Wednesday for the next 5 weeks from 7.00-7.45pm. Some current members, since last September, have lost up to an amazing 2 stone. Cost for new members is €20 for 6 weeks or you can pay €8 in week one and €3 weekly. The weekly health talk is at 7.30pm and this week’s talk is by Michelle Rafferty, Chief Cardiac Physiologist and Head of the Cardiac Diagnostic Dept. at University Hospital Limerick, who will discuss the importance of exercise in looking after & maintaining a healthy heart . Contact Jenny on 086 8390949 or checkout the club’s Facebook page for more info. All are welcome.
There was no winner of this week’s club’s lotto and this week’s jackpot is €5,250 with the next draw taking place on Saturday, January 19 in McGrath’s Bar. The numbers drawn were 9, 18, 24 & 30. Thanks, as always, to everyone who supports the club’s main fund raiser.
The club’s annual table quiz will take place in Lee’s Bar on Friday, February 1. Be sure to pencil the date in your diaries.