Borris 3 East Glendalough 2
A game played in near perfect conditions on a flawless surface threatened to produce another glut of goals for the Borris lads. 3 nil up after 25 mins and you'd be forgiven for thinking there's more to come. It wasn't to be though. For reasons yet to be established, Borris could not add to their tally and ended up winning by the slimmest of margins.
East Glendalough came into the game on the back of a Wicklow final victory, on penalties, against a much fancied Arklow team. Borris, fresh from their District final rout of Castledermot, were hoping for another straightforward victory. Things were looking good from the tip off as Borris launched wave after wave of attack. Neat play by Anthony Nolan in midfield released Kevin McDonald for an early chance, but the keeper saved well. Cracks were starting to appear in the visitors defence as successive corners produced decent chances for Niall Lynam and Ross McEvoy, neither of which hit the target. The pressure finally got the better of E.G. and it was no surprise who got their name on the scoresheet.
Good build up play down the right found McDonald in space in the final third. With a quick glance for his striking partner, he played a perfectly weighted ball into Chris Nolan's path. Nolan took a heavy first touch but kept possession in the box with three defenders and the keeper to beat. With a drop of the shoulder and twist of the hips, the defenders parted and Nolan smashed the ball high into the net. 1-0 Borris.
Two minutes later Nolan was at it again. This time a long ball from Aidan Hynes in goal was flicked on by McDonald and Nolan got himself between the two centre backs. Once again he decided to take a few extra touches just to tease the opposition before planting the ball low into the bottom corner. We had to wait ten minutes for the third goal. From a sustained period of possession, Lauren Scully found Nolan free in the box. This time there was no hesitation as he blasted the ball goalwards with too much power for the keeper to handle. 3-0 Borris and things were looking good.
To everyone's amazement that was the final Borris goal. As the first half ended Scully had the simplest of chances from three yards, but somehow managed to kick thin air instead of the ball. The only other noteworthy happenings saw Nolan getting 'nutzed' for the second game in a row and Gary Lawlor asking to be substituted after getting 'done' by a nice bit of skill from E.G's centre forward. Lawlor will have sleepless nights over that one.
Manager Mr. Tuite warned the lads at halftime that the game was not over. A fourth goal would have killed the visitors off and Borris were sent out for the second half knowing they needed to get more goals. They started brightly and created a number of chances that should have been taken, much to the annoyance of the usually reserved Niall Lynam. Nolan, with three goals already, missed a sitter of a header from a corner. McDonald failed to get clean contact on three decent chances. Scully and McEvoy could not convert shots from distance as well. Would the fourth goal come?
With 60 minutes gone, midfield warriors A.Nolan and McEvoy succumbed to their earlier knocks and needed replacement. At the same time, the visitors changed formation. This combined to unsettle the Borris team and it led to E.G. getting a foothold in the game. From yet another Borris attack, with the team anxious to get the fourth goal, E.G. caught them on the break. After a goalmouth scramble, the ball ended up in the Borris net. This caused the jubilant E.G. striker to exclaim his desire to 'beat these culchies', Borris keeper Hynes reminded him to settle down as he was getting 'beat by a bunch of farmers'. With E.G. now fired up, Borris needed to steady the ship. A change in formation helped settle the team down, but was too late to avoid the concession of a free kick on the edge of the box. This was duly dispatched over the wall and into the goal. 3-2 now with ten minutes to go. Borris rallied and, luckly, further missed chances by Chris Aylward didn't prove costly as Borris regained their composure to see out the game. Although the fourth goal never materialised, Borris ensured the ball was kept at the far end of the pitch for as long as possible and got through the remaining few minutes with little difficulty.
At the end of the game, Borris looked like they just lost. The players themselves were disappointed they didn't put E.G. away and this demonstrates the high standards they aim for. Lessons need to be learned though. Borris should have shown no mercy in the first half. They lost their focus and this cannot be repeated as the opposition gets more salubrious. While most of the team were impressive in the first half, especially Chris Nolan with his second hat trick in a week, the performance levels dropped off significantly thereafter. The semi final is fixed for Fri 11th March in Newbridge Town FC and it is hoped McEvoy and A.Nolan recover from their knocks to give the team the best chance of reaching their first Leinster final.