MUCFP v Drogheda United Shield 22nd October 2016

“Partners” season comes to end with defeat to Drogheda United.
The Monaghan United / Cavan FP Airtricity under 17’s National League side met Drogheda United in Gortakeegan, on Saturday afternoon with an opportunity of progressing to the semi-final of the National under 17’s Shield at stake. It has been a long season for these dedicated lads but the prospect of having home advantage in the semi-final made sure that they were determined to progress in the competition. This was the third meeting in all competitions of these sides this season, so they knew each other inside out. 14589566The opening exchanges were evenly contested with neither side being able to stamp their authority on proceedings. This led to a scrappy, bitty affair which was not pleasing on the eyes. The “Partners” struggled to put any kind of fluidity together and their passing was astray at times. It was from one such lacks piece of play that Drogheda were handed the initiative. There seemed to be no danger when Ify Nzewi picked up possession in the middle of the pitch, some 50 yards from his own goal, but he miss-controlled Cianan Kelly’s sort pass and gave possession away to Drogheda’s Paddy Conway who quickly released Aaron McNally on the right wing who raced to the byline before driving his cross low into the “Partners” penalty area where the ball evaded everybody except Eoghan Broughan who calmly slotted past Luke Perkins in the home goals. Again the game became scrappy with the home side not being able to sustain any real pressure on the visitors or having no real lengthy period of possession. Drogheda increased their lead in the 16th minute when a cross was cleared from the “Partners” area out to Cameron Brennan 30 yards from goals but his first time effort sailed past the outstretched reach of Perkins and nestled in the back of the net. There was a bizarre incident in the 30th minute when Adam O’Connor controlled a dangerous ball inside the “Partners” 6 yard area and Perkins gathered from his feet with the Referee awarding an indirect free-kick to Drogheda. O’Connor being booked for dissent. From the resulting free the “Partners” managed to scramble the ball behind for a corner kick. The game again had no shape or rhythm to it as neither side could dominate proceedings and the half ended with the same score line.
Half Time Monaghan United / Cavan FP 0 Drogheda United 2.
14633442Dean Connolly replaced the injured Lewis Gibson at half time and slotted into the heart of the “Partners” midfield. The home team came out with a bit more urgency in the second period and became to ask questions of the visitors defence. Karl Cosgrove saw his rising shot clear the Drogheda crossbar in the 51st minute, while Seosamh Sheerin’s low effort was wide off Kalvin Geraghty’s goal. In the 57th minute their pressure paid off when Kelly won possession in midfield before switching play to the right wing where Cosgrove had taken up a good position. His inch perfect cross picked out Dylan McMullan just outside the Drogheda area where the big striker coolly chested the ball down before striking a rasping drive high over Geraghty and into the top corner off the net. This gave the “Partners” renewed hope and something to build on but they were caught again within 3 minutes after they conceded a needless free-kick on their left wing and when Broughan delivered the ball into the “Partners” area, Derek Dunne rose highest to head home past the unprotected Perkins. This knocked the “Partners” for six and before they could regroup they were dealt another blow when after a series of missed tackles the ball was played into Drogheda’s Stephen Doran deep inside the penalty area. He cleverly drop his shoulder and turned O’Connor but the central defender caught him with his trailing foot and the striker went down. The official brandished O’Connor a second yellow card and he had to leave the field of play only to see Conway dispatch the spot kick to the bottom corner. To their credit the “Partners” showed great spirit as they have done all season and they refused to be steamrolled by the opponents. They probably had their best spell of the game from that moment on and they controlled the game for long periods, although down to 10 men. Luke Donohoe drove forward in the 71st minute and let fly with a rasping effort that Geraghty somehow palmed over his crossbar. Again Sheerin was unfortunate to see his effort shave the upright in the 74h minute which would have given the “Partners” some chance of staging a comeback. When they did manage to score in the 78th minute and it was a goal worth waiting for. Nzewi picked up a throw-in from Cosgrove just inside the Drogheda half before turning and striding forward beating 3 Drogheda defenders before letting fly from 30 yards out. His thunderbolt caught Geraghty slightly off his line and he could only watch as it nestled into the roof of the net. The home side had renewed hope now of getting back into the tie and they narrowed the deficit again in the 84th minute when they were awarded a free-kick 5 yards from the Drogheda area on the right hand side. Cosgrove delivered the perfect ball into the area and Nzewi’s glancing header found the bottom corner of the net via the upright. The game was back on now and the “Partners” thought they had levelled affairs in the 87th minute but Nzewi was adjusted offside after slotting the ball home from a McMullan pass. Cosgrove picked out Sheerin’s run in the 88th minute but Geraghty was quickly off his line to gather the ball and set his side on the attack. The visitors drove forward and after a couple of neat inter-passes Tomas Adeyinka had the easiest of finishes to kill the game off. Cameron Dowd saw red after a reckless tackle in the 90th minute as tempers began to rise on both sides.
Final Score: Monaghan United / Cavan FP 3 Drogheda United 5.
Team: Luke Perkins, Cameron Dowd, Adam O’Connor, Luke Donohoe, Karl Cosgrove, Lorcan Murnaghan, Cianan Kelly, Lewis Gibson, Ify Nzewi, Dylan McMullan and Seosamh Sheerin.
Substitutes: Dean Connolly for Gibson (45), Jordan Corraway for Murnaghan and Daniel Murdock for Perkins (82).
And so the season ends for this bunch of local players. They have represented themselves, their families, their coaches, their former Clubs, the Partnership and more importantly the Cavan and Monaghan area very proudly each time they pulled on the Monaghan United / Cavan Football Partnership jersey. This draws to a conclusion League of Ireland football for this season but plans are already underway to build on this season’s successes and to promote football at this level in the region for the foreseeable future. Keep a look out for updates.