We got there in the end. A very solid but unspectacular performance ended with a deserved victory after extra time. Captain Chris Nolan bagged his usual two goals (although he did waste about six more chances) and Jack Foley netted his first goal in a few games to see off the Wicklow champions. Not one player on the pitch could be faulted for their efforts. Special praise must go to the midfield pairing of Jon Nolan and Dara Tobin who provided the silk and steel comparable to Pogba and Kante.
During the recent FA cup game between Chelsea and Utd, Kante was getting compliments for doing the work of two players. Well if he is worth two players, Tobin was worth two Kante's today. He tackled everything that moved, intercepted countless balls, rarely misplaced a pass, ran more than he's ever ran in any match, got himself into the box and above all kept his positional and mental discipline throughout the game. He was like a new signing and followed all instructions given to him to perfection. He needs to maintain this level of performance for the next game.
An even enough start to the match ensured chances were at a premium. That didn't last long as Chris Nolan decided he was going to score. After a couple of near misses, Nolan made no mistake with this effort as he drilled it low into the bottom corner. More chances soon followed as Joyce, Lawlor, Nolan and Hosey fluffed their lines. Hosey was a constant threat to Dunlavin and his direct running carved them open on numerous occasions. His delivery into the box needs some slight adjustment but overall it was a powerful performance.
As the first half wore on, Borris became frustrated with their failure to add a second goal. They were soon made to pay. A swift counter attack by Dunlavin led to Cathal Tracey heading the ball clear from the edge of the box. Little did he know that their number 7 was going to fluke a deflected half volley over Dowling in goal to tie the game. Looking from the sidelines you would think that Borris had just lost the game, such is their disgust at conceding a single goal. With fifteen minutes to go before half time, they had to put this right.
In fairness their efforts could not be faulted for the remainder of the half. They created numerous chances to retake the lead but a combination of heroic goalkeeping, poor finishing, taking the wrong option and slight delays in pulling the trigger meant the score remained one all until full time. Dowling in goal didn't make any save of note in that time either. Dunlavin were playing for penalties soon after half time as Borris turned the screw for the second 45 minutes. However, the full time whistle arrived before the second goal and Borris had to go to extra time to finish the job.
In reality it was only a matter of time before Borris ended this contest. Jon Nolan, Chris's livelier younger brother powered into the box and squared the ball to Jack Foley for the all important second goal. Dunlavin visibly wilted at this stage and Borris capitalised as captain Chris Nolan got the third. There was a brief but eventful cameo for u15 player Senan Doyle, as he was inches away from scoring a fourth for Borris.
So onwards on a familiar journey for Borris. Another semi final to look forward to, hopefully next week. Plenty to work on though, especially finishing. With man of the match Tobin proving performances in training will be rewarded, Wednesdays session should be competitive. We'll done lads.