Towerhill keep climbing Cup ‘mountain’
Towerhill Rovers 2 (Emeka 23′, OG 64′) Temple Villa 0
Portlaoise side Towerhill Rovers booked their place in the Combined Counties Football League Counties Cup Final with a 2-nil win over visitors Temple Villa at Portlaoise Leisure Centre today. Indeed the Laois outfit could have, indeed should have, won by four or five.
By half-time Towerhill Rovers were sitting on a one-nil lead that looked more than enough to see them through to the blue riband final of Midland’s soccer. Again and again in the opening half the Laois side took the game to their Westmeath opponents. Time and again Towerhill built up the right wing where James Furlong and Nathan Carpenter combined well out of defence to feed the target man up front Hayden Delaney. When the ball to Delaney was accurate he had the Villa defence in all kinds of difficulty. Cutting in from the right Delaney created chances for others and had some all for himself as well. Quite how he finished this game scoreless is a mystery that no-one present will ever figure out.
The breakthrough goal arrived midway through the opening period and young Delaney was heavily involved. A sublime through ball from Furlough found Delaney whose spinning back heel was worked across to the far side of the Villa box where the lurking Emeka cut across the ball with a pile driver that shot past the Villa keeper and into the far corner of the net. Towerhill almost doubled their advantage soon after but another delightful Furlong ball through the heart of the Temple Villa defence was hurriedly cleared away for a corner.
Half-chances abounded for the hosts as half-time approached but at the interval Towerhill still held the slenderest of leads.
The second period opened with a bright spell for the visitors. Indeed the towering Towerhill keeper Richard Downey had to make a smart stop early on. Gradually though Towerhill’s early superiority reasserted itself and the Portlaoise club were to go on and miss chance after chance of extending their lead. Introduced substitute Shane Brophy could have bagged a hat-trick with more assuredness in the opposition box. Delaney and Jo Jo Salmon were also culprits in the ‘squandermania’ in front of goals.
Towerhill Rovers, in honest reflection, will note that they overdid the long ball forward to Delaney throughout much of the second period especially. Ironically when the Laois outfit took the ball up through the middle mid-way in the second period was when Towerhill doubled their avdantage. Influential playmaker Paul Sutton went on a great run, advanced the ball into the Temple Villa danger area and his cross cum shot took a wicked deflection off the nearest Temple Villa defender and gave Villa keeper Paul Bannon no chance.
The introduction of substitute Paddy Downey gave the home side fresh legs and a badly-needed attacking threat through the middle. Again and again Downey picked out the right pass and kept Towerhill on the front foot late on. Towerhill did get a scare as full time approached when sloppily losing possession almost on the Temple Villa end line. Anthony Allen was on the end of the Temple Villa breakaway but his shot didn’t trouble Downey in the home goals. In fact that was the last attack of note as the referee blew the full-time whistle soon after.
For the Towerhill starters Mark Brennan, Nathan Carpenter, Hayden Delaney and Paul Sutton shone throughout a good competent display. Indeed Sutton can feel a little aggrieved that the Laois People ‘MOTM’ award went to James Furlong. Furlong was immense throughout as his anticipation saw him nip in and break up Temple Villa attack after attack. His passing range and vision also created chance after chance for his own side.
As for the final Birr Town FC are a strong side. Towerhill may well need to mix up their attacking play a little more in the decider as the long ball forward was preferred occasionally when the better option was to play through the lines.