Toureen JFC Rnd 2
St Clarets 1-14
St Anthonys 1-7
By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
St Clarets capitalised on Tommy Britton’s red card to get their junior championship off to a winning start in Ruislip on Saturday.
Clarets, looking for a first junior final appearance since 2015, could count themselves somewhat fortune, however.
Having failed to make full use of a strong wind at their backs in the first half, the Hayes club found themselves protecting a precarious 0-9 to 1-4 half-time lead.
But two minutes into the second half, Britton picked up a straight red card following an off-the-ball clash incident with Daniel O’Connell.
The Reading club never recovered and having lost narrowly to Parnells in mid-week in their opening junior championship fixture, Anthonys must now win their remaining two games to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals. Even that may not be enough.
Clarets opened up a 0-4 to no score lead after 11 minutes, with Patrick Lynott also hitting the base of the post and Niall Brennan denying Mikey O’Shea.
But Clarets couldn’t keep Anthonys boxed in their own half, despite the strong wind in their favour.
The warning signs were there. Colm O’Sullivan flashed a shot across Liam Healy’s goal, when all and sundry inside McGovern Park expected the bet to bulge.
Clarets extended their lead to 0-7 to 0-2, but the Reading outfit were beginning to dominate the ball.
Two minutes before half-time, they again worked the ball to O’Sullivan, and this time he made no mistake, burying it into the opposite corner of the Clarets net.
Lynott closed out the scoring to see the Hayes side lead by two at the break, but the Anthonys dressing room would have been the far happier.
But all that changed less than 120 seconds after the restart, as Britton saw red. Anthonys struggled to get on top after that, despite the wind factor.
Having weathered a good spell from their opponents, Clarets still led by 0-12 to 1-6. Niall Brennan denied Mikey Lavelle, but Jack Lavelle fired over to increase the Clarets lead further.
The game was settled five minutes from time when Jack Lavelle was brought down by Leslie Coughlan as he closed in on goal, and Ryan O’Connell found the back of the net from the resulting penalty.
It wasn’t pretty, but Clarets are up and running. Anthonys have work to do if they are to add to their junior title wins of 2015 and 2013.
St Clarets: Liam Healy; Luke Kelly, Ronan Gaughan, Sean Hill; Aidan Bradshaw, Lawrence Weir (0-1), David O’Connell; Paddy Donaghy, Jack Lavelle (0-1); Mikey Lavelle (0-3, 2f), John O’Connor (0-3, 1f, 1’45), Alfie McNulty (0-2); Ryan O’Connell (1-2, 1’Pen), Patrick Lynott (0-2), Mikey O’Shea. Subs: Sean McGorry for Bradshaw, Matt Healy for Hill, Keith O’Neill for Weir (B/C), Charlie O’Donnell for O’Shea.
St Anthonys: Niall Brennan; Liam Brennan, Richie Landy, Hugh Towey; Conor Moran, Leslie Coughlan, Shane Dowling, Mark Kirwan (0-2, 1f), Philip McCabe; Tommy Britton (0-2, 1f), Jonathan-Lyne-Roberts, Kevin Dowling; Liam McGovern (0-1f), Colm O’Sullivan (1-0), Chris Gillen (0-2, 1f). Subs: Mathew Baldwin for O’Sullivan.
Referee: Gavin Dixon.