Oscar Traynor Trophy
Carlow District League 2
United Churches Football League 1
By Harry Shorthose.
A FIRST-HALF cracker from Craig Comerford and a second-half goal for Roy Byrne gave Carlow their first win of this season’s Oscar Traynor cup and, in truth, they should have won by more.
Carlow dominated but struggled in the final third while United Churches struggled to make chances, often relying on the long ball and corners, with Jamie Hennessey in goal rarely tested.
The first real chance came from an Ethan O’Neill corner which was narrowly headed wide by Mark Boland seven minutes in. Four minutes later, Mark Davis was played in on the right-hand side and he shot narrowly over.
They finally made the possession count after 23 minutes when, from a free-kick, O’Neill played in Comerford on the left, who turned and shot, landing it in the top right-hand corner to give Carlow the lead.
They continued to cause problems for the United Churches and an O’Neill free on the left was headed away. A United Churches corner minutes later went over everybody’s head and out.
Their best chance of the half came a minute later when Ayuba Salaudeen shot straight at Hennessey before a Ray Jaudzems long shot was hit straight at the goalie.
Bobby Aughton’s free shortly after was also dealt with easily by Hennessey. They equalised five minutes from half-time when Jaudzems crossed in from the left with Sam Jackson coming in at the back post to tap home. Carlow had a glorious chance to regain the lead when Boland’s shot was palmed over by the UCFL keeper and the resulting corner was headed wide.
Carlow came out after the break and kept pushing on; O’Neill had a free on the edge of the box two minutes in after Comerford was fouled. It went wide before Danny Doyle drove an effort into the hands of the keeper.
United Churches came into it more and they got the ball down the wing but struggled to pick out targets.
Carlow should have scored when Jamie Frewen in the UCFL goal saved from a scramble in the box before seeing the ball go wide.
On the hour mark, Comerford headed O’Neill’s corner wide before a Jaudzems cross was blocked by Chalton. Carlow didn’t give up and they came close on several occasions – O’Neill’s shot found the keeper, while Doyle rattled the crossbar and was unlucky not to give them the lead.
They did regain it with 15 minutes left when Mark Davis’s cross from the right found sub Roy Byrne in the box and he slotted home. Salaudeen’s long shot only found Hennessey in goal late on.
Carlow face Leinster Senior League in a winner-take-all clash to qualify for the knockout stages on Wednesday 5 December.
Carlow: Jamie Hennessey, Michael Calvey, Stephen Chalton, Robert Dowling, Mark Boland, Phil Neenan, Mark Davis, Cathal Coughlan, Danny Doyle, Ethan O’Neill, Craig Comerford. Subs: Michael Mullen, Brian Mullen, Aaron Morris, Chris Gaulle, Roy Byrne, Craig Walker.
UCFL: David Frewen, David Marmion, Gavin Murphy, Peter O’Brien, Brian O’Regan, Bobby Haughton, Ray Jaudzems, Ayuba Salaudeen, Andy Hedderman, Sam Jackson. Subs: Conor Blaine, Dermot Blaine, Conor McGreal, Richard Hannify