Salthill Devon FC 2 (Murphy, Rafferty)
Shamrock Rovers 2 (Kearney, Tambwe)
FAI Airtricity Under 19 League
Sunday, 23rd September, 2012
At Drom Soccer Park
Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice? For the second time in three weeks John Tambwe came off the bench and saved the day for the Hoops. The former Shamrock Rovers Schoolboys player scored an injury time winner against Drogheda at Tallaght Stadium on 1st September. At Drom on Sunday ‘Big J’ again came to the rescue in time added on and got his team a crucial equaliser to keep the Hoops’ unbeaten record for the season in tact.
It was midfielder Dylan Kearney who broke the deadlock in the second half with an incredible goal from all of thirty-five to forty yards out. Referee Trevor Conlon told Dylan that he may never score another one like it again in his life. Nobody should bank on that. Kearney bears an uncanny resemblance to Lorcan Shannon from last season’s Under 19’s and some fans have dubbed him ‘Lorcan Lite’; there’s nothing light about this lad.
The first half was hard fought and the sides went in for the break without either having a goal to their credit. Defences were breached though and both keepers had plenty to do. The outcome was in the air as there was little between the sides. Both enjoyed periods of dominance. The home side set out their stall right from the start and the Hoops knew they had a battle on their hands. Declan Hevey had warned his side what to expect before they headed west. Six of the starting eleven for Salthill Devon had played at Tallaght Stadium when the clubs met last season. By contrast, just James Mullaney and Dean Ebbe were survivors from the Rovers team from that occasion.
Rovers’ cause suffered a major set back when, after twenty-one minutes, they lost midfielder Glody Nsay who shipped a knock. Nsay had been getting himself into the mix and in general has linked up well beside Kearney in the centre of the park this season and his departure from the action was a major loss. Rovers were already missing Rhys Gorman who was injured the previous week during the 1-0 win away to Cobh Ramblers.
The action in the first half was non-stop and neither side could afford to sit back. Mark Sandford went close to opening the scoring for Rovers after thirty-two minutes after the Hoops had mounted a counter attack. Kearney had a free kick soon after that but, typical of the game, Salthill responded with some more pressure of their own and both Conor Byrne and Andrew Peters had shots at goal.
Alan Kehoe, occupying the left full berth for Rovers, found his hands full and was having to put in some serious work to thwart the raids down the wing. Kehoe took down Ryan Luddan in the forty-fourth minute, a shout went up from one of the home team to send him off as he was the last man but referee Conlan was having none of it and knew that both Mullaney and Goonery were behind Kehoe at the time.
Dylan Kearney scored an incredible goal to put the Hoops ahead
Rovers began the second half by giving Salthill a fright after Kelvin Jackson had been fouled close to the box. Kearney hit the free kick into the box and Ebbe met it with his head but couldn’t keep it below the bar. There was a burst of activity at both ends before Kearney’s unbelievable strike came in the forty-ninth minute. Nine minutes later and the lad from County Louth tried a repeat but this time it didn’t come off for him.
Salthill Devon equalised in the sixty-seventh minute after they won a free kick and Jason Murphy got through the defence to squeeze the ball across the line and into the left corner of the net. Now it was game on again and the Hoops were put under a lot of pressure in the period that followed. The home side took the lead six minutes later when Cormac Rafferty rose to head in the ball from a corner kick.
It wasn’t looking good for Rovers and Salthill almost had a third only for a timely tackle by James Mullaney on Joe Gaughran. Sean O’Boyle went close for SD almost immediately after that. The game was into the ninety-first minute and the home side obviously thought they had done enough to clinch the three points. It wasn’t to be for them and they were stunned when big Ebbe managed to get in between the centre halves to meet Kearney’s ball and John Tambwe was free to the right to get a clean header past Ehil Hernon in the SD goal for a late equaliser.
Salthill Devon FC: 18 Ehil Hernon, 2 Colm Horgan, 3 Ryan Ludden, 4 Cormac Rafferty, 5 Alex Byrne, 6 Jason Murphy, 7 Andrew Peters, 8 Conor Byrne, 9 Jason Lyons, 10 Joe Gaughran, 11 Sean O’Boyle. Substitutes: 12 Stephen Dooley, 13 Kyle Tobin, 14 Diarmuid Fadden, 15 Gary O’Connell, 16 Timmy Molloy, 18 Conor Barry, 20 Stephen Murphy.
Shamrock Rovers: 1 Stephen Morris, 2 Nathan Brown, 3 Alan Kehoe, 4 Jamiee Goonery, 5 Mark Sandford, 6 James Mullaney, 7 Dylan Kearney, 8 Glody Nsay (Doolin 21 mins), 9 Dean Ebbe, 10 Clayton Stafford (Tambwe 76 mins), 11 Kelvin Jackson (Mustapha 62 mins). Substitutes: 17 Toyeeb Mustapha, 18 Dean Murphy, 19 John Tambwe, 20 Joseph Lennon-Maher, 21 Ryan Dick, 22 Ryan Doolin, 25 Alex Condell.
Referee: Trevor Conlon
Assistants: Vincent Cruise & Pat Barry
Match report by Robert Goggins