The CCFL Youths secured their place in the last 8 of this Years FAI Youths Interleague Competition after a comprehensive victory over the Donegal League in Rathmullen on Saturday 1st February. The basis for the victory, was the decision to travel to Donegal on the Friday evening rather then attempt the 5hr journey on the morning of the match, this ensured all the players were fresh and ready for the 1pm kick off.
Following an excellent opening by both teams the Youths struck the front following some top class one-two’s down the left flank which cumulated with the stand in left full back Eoghan Smyth calmly sliding the ball pass the despairing outstretched hand of the advancing Donegal Goalkeeper. The CCFL stretched their lead 10 minutes later when the Donegal keeper miss kicked a back pass leaving talented centre forward Gio Russo with the easiest of chances to make it 2 -0. The Counties continued to apply pressure and it wasn’t long before Gio Russo struck again to leave the Youths in a comfortable 3 – 0 position.
This game however was far from over and Donegal finally showed their true potential by dominating the final 10mins of the half and they clawed their way back into the game when Jamie Fahey’s challenge inside the box was deemed to be illegal and the referee pointed to the spot, despite a great effort by keeper Cain Brereton, Donegal was back in the game at 1 – 3 and pressing for a 2nd and whilst the Counties kept their shape well they were relived to hear the half time whistle.
Lady luck was with the Youths at the very start of the 2nd half when the big wind which had being at their back throughout the 1st half seemed to abate leaving much calmer conditions. The 2nd half was much more 50 – 50 with both teams providing some great passages of play. Manager Tony O’Sullivan ensured the tempo stayed high by introducing his substitutes at strategic times throughout the half.
The game was finally finished as a contest when Gio Russo hit a screamer from just inside the edge of the box to secure his hat-rick and bring his tally to 7 goals in 4 games. Best for the CCFL on the day were man of the match Russo, Nick Kelly in Midfield and Eoghan Smyth.
Divisional Manager Eamonn Brady expressed his delight at the performance and noted the progress this Year:
“Finalists Macron Cup”, “Qualified out of very tough group”, “quarter finalists in this Years FAI Interleague Cup” and “the agreement with a cross channel club”, details of which will be announced at the next management meeting on the 17th February.
Furthermore he noted that the experience which the Players have gained by getting involved in the CCFL’s Interleague panels will improve the player’s quality and ensure that the clubs who have sent players to the trials will benefit from their involvement.
The CCFL Panel were as follows
Cain Brereton, EdenderryTown
Oisin Fitizpatrick, Portlaoise AFC
Cathal Callinan, WillowPark
Gio Russo, TullamoreTown
Eoghan Smyth, Kinnegad Juniors
Cillian Callaly Rosenallis
Conor Ryan, BirrTown
Brian Maloney, Killavilla
Joe Maloney, Killavilla
Justin Lawlor, Stradbally
Kevin Bryant, Mucklagh
Brandon McEvoy, BirrTown
Nicky Kelly, WillowPark
Dylan Hyland, WillowPark
Jamie Fahy, WillowPark
Stefan Shalloe, BirrTown
Shane Tierney, WillowPark