Ballyvolane 1 Springfield 2
Springfield are enjoying life this season. On Saturday, they reinforced their grip on pole position in Murphy’s Stout AUL 1B with a 2-1 away win over main rivals Ballyvolane and tomorrow evening take on Ballincollig in the final of the Murphy’s Stout County Cup at Turner’s Cross.
While Ballyvolane did have a few first half chances, Springfield really dominated this period and deserved their two-goal half-time lead, the goals well taken by John McCarthy and Conor Hawe.
Ballyvolane, as you’d expect, fought back in the second half and got a goal back midway through. But, thanks mainly to some excellent play by Springfield defenders Dave Kinsella and Danny Lucey, the home side didn't create any further clear chances.
Indeed, the better chances for most of the second half were created by the Cobh team. Jason Gleeson worked hard in their midfield sector and Anthony O'Mahony, capable of delivering well placed through balls, was another key performer in this area.
The first really big chance of the game fell Springfield’s way in the 20th minute, from a Mark Farrell corner. Midfielder Jason Gleeson got his head to the incoming ball but John Magnier took his effort off the line.
The Cobh side took the lead in the 26th minute. The home team had been conceding quite a few free kicks in the middle of the field and most of them were played into the box by Springers skipper David Kinsella. On this occasion, the ball broke kindly for McCarthy and he neatly slotted it past keeper Hurley.
Springfield might have had doubled their advantage in the 38th minute. Then Shane Brennan helped Farrell get behind the defence on the attacking left. Farrell pulled the ball back and Hawes dived forward to connect with his head but the effort was weak and easy for keeper Hurley.
Hawes though would have better luck three minutes later. Again Brennan was involved and found Hawes in space about 19 yards from goal. The big striker had time to pick his spot and his low drive flew past Hurley to make it 2-0.
While Ballyvolane tried their luck with a long kick directly from the second half kick off, Springfield were very close to making 3-0 in the opening minute. Then Hawes crossed and Brennan’s close range header produced quite a good save from Hurley.
Despite regular Ballyvolane pressure at this point, the better chances fell to Springfield. In the 55th minute, Brennan's “dummy” allowed Hawes get in a dangerous low pulled back cross but Farrell’s weak shot was an easy take for keeper Hurley.
A string of Ballyvolane's corners was interrupted by a Springfield raid in the 59th minute. Again Hawes was the lead man and he pulled the ball back to Brennan but his shot was blocked away for a corner.
Ballyvolane got their goal back in the 67th minute. Paul O'Keeffe hit a fine free from within his own half. The ball broke in the box and Forde turned and shot past keeper Byrne.
Springfield had two decent opportunities in the closing quarter, both set by well placed long balls from Anthony O’Mahony. But Hawes saw one effort fly just over and was later denied when home keeper Hurley surprised with a rapid advance to the edge of his box.
Hawes and company though had done enough and the three points were secured in that first half.
Ballyvolane: Shane Hurley, Paul O’Keeffe, James Burke, Liam O’Riordan, Ger O’Riordan, Keith Keane, Colm Forde, Rob McNeil, Stephen O’Keeffe, John Magnier and Adrian McDonnell (captain). Sub used: Philip Keane for McNeill (69th minute).
Springfield: Greg Byrne, Damien Rowe, Dave Kinsella (captain), Stuart Burns, Dan Lucey, Jason Gleeson, John McCarthy, Anthony O’Mahony, Shane Brennan, Conor Hawes and Mark Farrell. Subs used: Mossie O’Mahony for Burns (75th minute), Jason Cronin for Brennan (79th) and Glen Sheridan for McCarthy (90th).
Referee: Tom Tully