Rovers in seventh heaven

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

VILLA ROVERS booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Bessbrook Cup on Saturday afternoon at the expense of a depleted Kilkeel Athletic side at Jennings Park, writes Sean McKevitt.


Villa, who were fresh from their victory in the final of the Mary Markey Cup a fortnight ago, played some exhilarating attacking and free flowing football and were much sharper than the youthful looking Kilkeel team, who were missing no less than nine first team regulars due to injuries and players on GAA duties.

It was all too easy for Villa who led by five goals at the break, thanks to a brace from Kyle Brennan and one apiece from Paul Daly, Jason Fegan and Danny McGuigan.

The one way traffic showed no signs of abating in the second half, and a further strike from Danny McGuigan and an own goal saw Johnny Carville's side finish the match as resounding 7-0 victors.

Former Newry Celtic ace Kyle Brennan poked the ball home ten minutes into this Bessbrook Cup second round clash to give Villa the early advantage. The skilful Brennan then turned provider in the 18th minute to release midfield maestro Paul Daly, who smashed his first time effort into the top corner of the net, giving Kilkeel goalkeeper Aidan Quinn absolutely no chance.

Villa continued to dominate proceedings and almost added to their lead on the half hour mark, when new signing Kenny Kearns unleashed a fierce drive from 20 yards out, which flew inches past the base of the left goal post.

But the Villains weren't to be denied a third of the afternoon, and in the 32nd minute an audacious effort from right back Jason Fegan found the back of the net from well inside his own half, after he spotted Kilkeel 'keeper Aidan Quinn off his goal line.

Minutes later, a clinical finish from Kyle Brennan made it 4-0, and on the stroke of half time Villa defender Danny McGuigan got his name on the score sheet with a fantastic strike from all of 40 yards out.

Ironically, it was Kilkeel who began the second half the brighter of the two teams, and they were unfortunate not to pull one back three minutes into the restart, when Ryan Speirs connected with a great cross from Niall Greene - and headed narrowly past the post.

But the luckless visitors conceded once again, when the unfortunate Kevin Maxwell turned the ball past his own 'keeper.

To their credit this young Kilkeel side never let their heads drop and continued to battle valiantly for every ball. Indeed, the South Down men created another opening in the 57th minute when Paul Higgins headed straight at Villa custodian Jude Rooney.

But normal service resumed for the hosts in the 70th minute when Danny McGuigan added a seventh and final Villa goal, with another impressive strike from some way out.

All in all, this was an excellent display by Villa Rovers, but their manager Johnny Carville won't be getting carried away - tougher tests lie ahead and time will tell if his side have the credentials to challenge for major honours this season. Meanwhile, Kilkeel manager Denis Rooney will hope to have a stronger squad available to him this Saturday for a tricky looking league opener against Newry Celtic.

Villa Rovers: Jude Rooney, Darren Fegan, Danny McGuigan, Jason Fegan, Gavin Thornton, Noel Mc- Polin, Kenny Kearns, Paul Daly, Kyle Brennan, Darren Sheilds, Stephen Lennon

Subs: Michael Traynor, Brendan Carragher, Joe Lennon

Kilkeel Athletic: Aidan Quinn, Kevin Maxwell, Michael Trainor, Shane Sloan, Paddy Sloan, Niall Greene, Paul Higgins, Niall Rooney, Ryan Speirs, Stephen McVeigh, Daniel McBennett

Subs: Geoffrey Greene, Adam Fegan, Joe Higgins.

Referee: Eddie Madigan.


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