AUL PREMIER LEAGUE
Village United 1 Kinsale 1
Kinsale, champions for the past two seasons, had three points on their mind for their visit to Silverheights on Saturday afternoon and an early strike reinforced that opinion.
But Village settled well after that ragged start. Old favourites Conor Jones, back after a length injury enforced absence, and Jinty O’Sullivan manned the central defensive positions and did a pretty good job. One of the few highlights of the afternoon was the great tussle between Jones and Kinsale striker Declan Ryan.
It was a solid comeback by Jones but it was Jinty who would steal the limelight before the contest was over. The evergreen O’Sullivan came up with a late equaliser after giving away a penalty early in the second half.
For Kinsale and their inter-league striker Derek “Scully” McCarthy, the order of his highlight and lowlight was reversed. He struck the 6th minute opener but missed the early second half spotter.
Centre-forward Ryan had a role in that opener. He helped the ball into the box after good work by Danny Searls and McCarthy’s flying header soared past keeper Jamie Donovan and high into the net.
Kinsale had all the early pressure though Village had a rare chance midway through but a sweeping move ended with Trevor Cambridge mis-cuing when well placed.
The traffic was soon back in the other direction and it was in this spell that keeper Jamie Donovan did the business. He made a terrific save from Ryan Coyle in the 33rd minute and, a minute later, denied McCarthy who shot after a Dave Barry cross.
That spell of pressure ended in the 37th minute when a Kinsale free by Ben Ryan broke to Jeremy O’Donovan in the box but his well driven shot was somehow turned away for a corner by the inform Donovan.
The visiting seasiders, who wouldn’t have relished the bitterly cold wind that swept Silverheights anymore than the home team, kept the pressure on after the interval.
Indeed, they came close to repeating the early goal of the first half. In the 55th minute, a good ball out of defence by Peter Jones found Barry wide on the right. His cross found the head of McCarthy but Donovan, surprised at first, then reacted well to save and keep the score at 1-0.
A second goal though seemed inevitable just two minutes later when a multi-pass Kinsale move ended with a penalty award. Influential sub Sean Prior found McCarthy who slipped Ryan Coyle into the box where an awkward challenge by Jinty upended the Kinsale raider but McCarthy drove the spotter against the post.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And the man that came to the Village rescue was 68th minute sub Stephen Hackett. He made a big difference in midfield and gradually Village got into the contest for the first time in the game.
Hackett engineered a few near things as Village, with the slope to their backs, piled forward in search of the precious equaliser. Still as the final minutes ticked by, it seemed as if Kinsale had done enough.
Until the 87th minute that is. Even then it looked as if a clearance by the under pressure Peter Jones, under pressure from Hackett, would relieve the hard pressed defence. But it went straight to Jinty and, from over thirty yards, he fired hard and low through the many legs in the packed goalmouth. Keeper Graham Quinn, a virtual spectator up to now, was still a spectator as the ball sped past him into his right hand corner.
Village United: Jamie Donovan, Conan Burns, Kelvin O’Leary, Jonathan O’Sullivan, Conor Jones (captain), Stephen McGee, Trevor Cambridge, Barry Quirke, Tomas Creamer, Tomas O’Driscoll and Kieran “Will” O’Callaghan. Sub used: Stephen Hackett for Creamer (68th minute).
Kinsale: Graham Quinn, Florence Lynch (captain), Ben Ryan, Peter Jones, Steven O’Donovan, Ryan Coyle, Jeremy O’Donovan, Derek McCarthy, Daniel Searls, Declan Ryan and Dave Barry. Sub used: Sean Prior for Searls (at half-time).
Referee: Keith Callanan.