Roco Win All Ireland First Year Soccer 2013

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The All-Ireland final at the Oscar Traynor Centre on Wednesday May 22nd was against the Connacht  Champions, St Enda’s of Salthill. Rochestown struggled in the first 15 minutes with the sheer size, height and physicality of the Salthill team and found themselves behind after 5 minutes when St Enda’s hit an unstopable piledriver from outside the box into the top corner, leaving David O’Keefe with no chance. Rochestown were struggling to impose their game on a far bigger team but kept their heads and as the half grew on so did Roco with Dylan Ward causing problems down the Roco left and Stephen Fox finding more space in midfield. Roco finished the half strongly and you could feel the self belief growing as the half came to a close.

The second half continued the way the first half finished with Roco working very hard and having lots of possession but causing no threat to the St Enda’s goal. On 45 mins, Jack McCarthy replaced Aaron Long, allowing Gordon Walker to push on in search of an equaliser. This move brought Roco to life with the back four now looking comfortable and Roco now winning the midfield battle. Roco tore at St.Enda’s with Dylan Ward, Brian Turnbull and Gordon Walker all beginning to cause big problems for St. Enda’s. With Two minutes remaining, a Stephen Fox free kick was cleared by the Enda’s keeper but was hooked back in excellently by David Nason and there was Gordon Walker to rescue the game for Roco with a close range header. It was thoroughly deserved.

Roco dominated possession during extra time but it was Enda’s who had the better chances with Jack McCarthy making a match saving tackle and Brian Turnbull clearing off the line after a goalmouth scramble.

In the penalty shootout, the clearly injured Donagh Gribbon and Stephen Fox scored Roco’s first two penalties before David O’Keefe saved Enda’s third to give Roco an advantage. It was short lived as the excellent Brian Turnbull’s penalty was saved. Gordon Walker and Dylan Ward would complete Roco’s five penalties to bring the penalties to sudden death. David O Sullivan and Ger O Mahony scored for Roco before Enda’s hit the post with their seventh penalty to make Roco the All-Ireland Champions for the first time. The crowd went crazy and Gordon Walker collected the First Year Cup in front of a huge Rochestown crowd.