Young guns go down with all guns blazing
Rosario U11 2: St Kevin's [Dublin] 5
Rosario U11 mentors approached this pre-season fixture with a large degree of trepidation. They had, after all, the previous morning watched this hugely impressive young St Kevin's team play Glentoran U11 [winners of their league last season] at the Oval. They had destroyed the young Glens in detail 9-0 and it could have been many more. Some Rosario U12s were hastily recruited to help make a match of it and make a match of it they certainly did.
The flying Finton Ferran was one such recruit and from the first kick he would be a constant thorn in the Dublners' flesh. His electric pace, power and fantastic technique enabled the young Roses to take the early initiative and within minutes he was upended in the box. Tom Doherty's penalty, low to the left, was brilliantly tipped round the post to safety by Mullen in the St Kevin's goal. In the sixth minute Ferran intercepted an attempted clearance by the keeper and the goal yawned at his mercy. His left foot shot was just off target. Two goalden opportunities gone a-begging.
The young Dubs gradually came more into the game but a magnificently defiant Rosario defence held them at bay and maintained a virtual exclusion-zone around Ethan McKay' goal. Daniel Goodacre was composure personified at right back and Ryan Boyle and Fergal struck up an immediate and highly effective understanding at the Young Roses centre. In front of them in centre-mid Callum Rocks gave a collossal performance in the screening midfield role. Neither side managed to produce any meaningful threat on their opponents' goal and the half ended scoreless.
The second period saw St Kevin's begin to assert with their short, slick passing game but against the run of play Rosario took the lead when Callum Kelly and Brandon conspired to send Peter in on goal. The powerful winger kept his cool, calmly rounded Mullen and slotted home. St Kevin's hit back immediately with a double whammy when Whelan rounded off a five man move to score from 12 yards and a momentary lapse in defensive concentration allowed Ferran to scramble home. The Roses, however, were far from finished and it was that man Ferran that dragged them back into the game with a ferocious cross shot from the right of the penalty area.
The match seemed set for a creditable draw but the young Roses' legs seemed to desert them in the closing minutes and Farell, Bowden and Coleman somehow managed a goal a piece before the final whistle. This was a fantastic feast of football served up by all the young players involved and at the small presentation ceremony afterwards in the Pavilion Bar the seeds were sown for a visit of up to three Rosario teams to Dublin in and around October this year. If the fare on offer is anything like what was served up in this match it will a fabulous trip to be on