FAI Under 15 National Cup Quarter Final
Shamrock Rovers 9-0 UCD
The first half of this game played tonight at Roadstone was just like watching classic Barcelona. And just when you think you know how good this Rovers team is they turn around and produce a stunning forty minutes of pure football that left the large attendance in awe. These two teams met two weeks ago in the final league game of Section Two and going on that game there was nothing to suggest the Hoops would run in at half time tonight with a 6-0 score line in their favour. If it hadn’t been for the sheer bravery at times of College ‘keeper Joe Allidine the margin could very well have been higher.
A fortnight ago the final score was 2-1 after a game in which UCD put up a good battle. Perhaps that performance went against them in the cup as the Hoops had been given a warning that anything less than being at their best against the College side could have led to a repeat of the league game. Watching Nathan Anyanwu tear down the right from the very start of the game, regulars could have been forgiven in believing that Damien Duff had unleashed a hitherto secret weapon. The winger, who normally plays on the left, was simply lethal and the visitors struggled to cope with his surging runs. Anyanwu’s form was a much talked about topic amongst the spectators at half time.
Goal number one came as early as the first minute and was scored by Sinclair Armstrong. By eight minutes the Hoops doubled their lead through James Harold. That double whammy certainly left UCD with a mountain to climb and no doubt contributed to an element of desperation as they struggled to pick themselves up. Heads certainly went down in the 21st minute when Armstrong profited from a defensive error and calmly saw the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-0. Four minutes later Anyanwu was rewarded for his efforts with a strike himself and then turned provider six minutes before half time when he set Harold up for the midfielder’s second of the night and Rovers’ fifth. There was still time remaining though for more and soon after Roland Banya got his name on the sheet to make it 6-0.
The second half had only just begun when team captain Evan Caffrey headed in from the left to make it 7-0. The pace slackened after that as the Hoops were happy to try and retain possession mostly in their own half and took their foot off the accelerator. There were two more goals in it though and both came late. Conan Noonan swept across the pitch in a jingly maze to see substitute Victory Aibange increase the tally to eight and Charlie Gallagher, always looking dangerous when he got into the box, finally got one for himself to finish the scoring at 9-0.
The early goals helped to settle the nerves of the Hoops but equally caused a major upset to UCD. Full credit has to be given to the boys of the College side for it wasn’t easy for them to keep trying to get something back, even if it was just a single goal, but they never gave up.
The Hoops will now meet in the semi-final the winners of tomorrow’s tie between the Mayo League and St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Shamrock Rovers: 1. Kian Moore, 2. Matthew Scott, 3. Kevin Platon, 4. Oisin Hand, 5. Nathan Anyanwu, 6. Evan Caffrey, 7. Roland Banya, 8. James Harold, 9. Sinclair Armstrong, 10. Kyle O’Connor, 11. Conan Noonan.
Substitutes: 14. Adam Wells, 15. Victory Aibange (for Harold), 16. Charlie Gallagher (for Armstrong), 25. Killian Cahill (for Moore). 17. Sami Clarke.
Report and photos here by Robert Goggins