The future’s bright, the future’s purple!
Pembroke’s U21 men advanced to the next round of the U21 cup with an easy win over Clontarf at Serpentine Avenue on Tuesday night. Dave Loughrey assembled a young side full of talent and promise for the visit of the men from the Northside, with captain Karl Lynch bringing IHL and ISC experience to the panel.
The match began at rapid pace with Pembroke exhibiting slick passing and smart movement to repeatedly frustrate Clontarf, who were left chasing shadows for the majority of the opening exchanges. Pembroke’s dominance, however, failed to yield an end product, with Pembroke failing to convert a number of short corners and gradually the visitors began to find a foothold in the match.
Clontarf’s revival was short lived though, with Pembroke finally breaking the deadlock midway through the first half. Some good work down the left set up first team regular, Kirk Shimmons at the top of the “D”, who blasted home with a strike that any senior player would have been proud of.
Pembroke pressed hard off the restart and didn’t have to wait long for a second. Alex Service battled hard to win the ball just inside the 25, which broke for Shimmons to pick up his and Pembroke’s second of the night. The half finished with Pembroke the stronger, Jack Walsh and John Orr both making the most of their opportunities, showing their tenacity and strength, winning a number of crucial fifty-fifty challenges around the pitch. However, tempers did threaten to boil over and the interval came at just the right time for both teams.
Pembroke began the second half, as they had finished the first, Geoff Garrett this time taking his chance to get on the score sheet from the top of the circle. At 3 – 0 up, the boys in purple were in dreamland, but their slumber was rudely interrupted when Clontarf pulled one back with a very brave finish after Pembroke ‘keeper, Peter Collins, appeared to have been first to the ball.
Stung into action by that setback, Pembroke went in search of another goal. Mairtin Cronin and Dave Kane had been passing superbly all evening and after patient build up work from the back, Kirk Shimmons was presented with the chance to wrap up his hat-trick, which he duly did.
By this stage, the match was over as a contest and the early fluidity had been replaced by hard challenges that pushed the boundaries of fairness. Mark Loughrey in particular, appeared to be singled out for some “treatment” by the opposition; twice being on the wrong end of fouls that had no place in a match of this nature. Pembroke refused to be shaken by this, with George Dagg and Mark Loughrey grabbing a goal each, either side of one for Clontarf that left the final score 6-2.
This performance was far from vintage though and the lads will need to step up their performance for the next round. Of particular concern will be the failure to convert a number of short corners that could prove crucial as the competition heats up. For now though, Pembroke move on with optimism and a spring in their step.
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