ASHFORD ROVERS 1 NEWTOWN UNITED 0
(AFTER EXTRA TIME)
Ashford finally laid claim to the Jim McLaughlin Premier Trophy as they ended the 2018/19 Wicklow League season with silverware.
Having lost their grip on the Andy McEvoy Premier Division league title, the Ballinalea Park based outfit were in the last chance saloon if they were to salvage this season with something.
With a man of the match display, Ruadhan Fallon-Verbruggen grabbed the 99th minute winner at Ferndale Park in Arklow on Sunday afternoon.
After losing the 2014 decider to Rathnew AFC, Rovers skipper Mick Taylor held aloft the Cup to end Newtown’s reign on the competition which they had won every year since 2015.
And Rovers did it with a down to the bare bones squad.
All the vital action came in extra time.
Newtown wanted a free on Aaron Byrne in the last minute of the first period. Referee Jason Redmond allowed play to continue – deeming Finn Brooks had won the ball fairly along the right channel.
The midfielder then fed Fallon-Verbruggen who shrugged off a tackle before brilliantly curling in left footed from the edge of the box off the far left upright.
Ashford had the opportunity to extend that advantage two minutes after the restart.
Danny Byrne went down under Brandon Feely’s tackle with the match official pointing to the spot.
With both teams waiting for the penalty to be taken, Redmond dismissed Feely after a verbal spat. Danny Byrne crashed the 12-yard dead-ball off the cross.
Moments later at the other ended, the Black and White’s had two shouts for a penalty of their own inside ten-seconds for handball. But both were waved by the referee.
Since it’s exception back in 2010, the Magpies have made the competition their own.
They have made eight of the nine finals since 2011, winning the trophy six times.
They were bidding for a remarkable fifth success in a row.
But without the retired PJ Dowling and current Wicklow League young player of the Dillon Carthy, they again – like the Wicklow Cup Semi Final loss to Glencormac United last week – looked tired (both mentality and physically) as they tried trying to emulate their four-trophy haul from 2018.
Shane Doyle spurned their 13th minute chance when dragging his low drive across the face of goal
They were also left to rue Neilly Martin’s 70th minute bullet header that flew wide when the veteran met Sean Heffernan’s free kick.
ASHFORD ROVERS: Cathal Moody; Anthony Byrne, Mick Taylor, Karl Earls, Jack Geraghty; Brendan Manning; Finn Brooks, Robbie Eyre; Ruadhan Fallon-Verbruggen, Andy Earls, Danny Byrne. SUBS: Evan Dunne (for Danny Byrne 110 + 2 mins), Kian Marah, Ross Hamilton, Paul Ellis, Jamie Byrne (all not used).
NEWTOWN UNITED: Kenneth Turner; Barry Davis, Glenn Carthy, Brandon Feely, Neilly Martin; Ross Davis, Matthew Kennedy, Evan Moran, Sean Heffernan; Shane Doyle, Aaron Byrne. SUBS: Luke Martin (for Doyle 63 mins), Martin Williams (for Ross Davis 78 mins), Karl Carthy (for Kennedy 89 mins), Oisin Greenan (for Barry Davis 100 mins), Sean Odlum, Dean Odlum, Lee Fitzpatrick (all not used).
REFEREE: Jason Redmond. ASSISTANTS: Michael Kennedy, Dominique Lachaussée.