herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Orchard Celtic were the big winners in the UCFL Challenge Cup first round on Saturday afternoon as they sent Premier side, VEC, out of this seasons competition at the first hurdle in Cherry Orchard Park.

Orchard Celtic were the big winners in the UCFL Challenge Cup first round on Saturday afternoon as they sent Premier side, VEC, out of this seasons competition at the first hurdle in Cherry Orchard Park.

A superb display by the Ballyfermot side, led by the impressive Graham Griffiths saw them recover from an early setback to storm to a deserved victory.

For VEC, a good first half performance going forward was cancelled out by some defensive woes and despite some good chances late on, they will be disappointed with their performance.

Yet it all started so well for the Premier side with the opening goal going their way in the 10th minute.

And it was their deadly duo up front that caused the problems for Celtic with Benny Magennis sending Aidan Hyland through on goal and he rounded Craig O'Brien in the home goal before slotting home.

The home side were quick to set about their response though and just two minutes later they were back on level terms when Kevin King fired past Richard Hannify.

Ten minutes later, Orchard were in front. Darren King's pass unlocked the away defence allowing Jordan Sheridan to slide in to finish neatly.

And they could have quickly added a third when this time Sheridan was the creator with his flick on to Darren King putting the striker through on goal but Hannify stood up well to save.

VEC, while fragile at the back, were still well in the game and had a real threat about them going forward and they made it 2-2 after 28 minutes.

Magennis' free-kick from the left was met by the impressive Seamus Staunton running in front of the defensive line and his header gave O'Brien no chance.

The midfield battle of Staunton and Anthony Dunne for VEC against Celtic's Sheridan and Griffiths was a highlight of the game with all four involved in everything good that was happening.

And it was Sheridan who was involved in Celtic re-taking the lead on the half hour with his flick-on allowing Darren King to spin away from his marker and hammer home.

The first half action wasn't done there either. As the interval neared, Anthony Dunne broke through the the Orchard defence but was denied by O'Brien, with his second effort just getting away from him meaning he could only hit the upright from a tight angle.

And the crossbar saved Orchard minutes later with Patrick Meghan's effort had O'Brien beaten.

Celtic could have extended their lead before the half finished also but Darren King could only bundle his effort wide after Hannify fumbled Paul Kavanagh's shot.

VEC began the second half well but it was Orchard who made it 4-2 after 59 minutes when Jordan Sheridan struck a sweet volley home from 20-yards.

Late on VEC had chances to get at least a consolation goal but Magennis, Hyland and Dunne all wasted opportunities.

ORCHARD CELTIC: Craig O'Brien, Jay Power, Jordan Griffiths, Paul McCann, Steven Flood, John Kavanagh (Andrew O'Reilly 82), Paul Kavanagh (Conor Gartland 78), Jordan Sheridan, Graham Griffiths, Darren King (Michael Doyle 87), Kevin King. Not used; Shane Power-Murphy, Lee Power, Thomas Kelly.

VEC FC: Richard Hannify, Stephen Quin (Sean O'Shea 60), Patrick Meghan, Neal Breslin, Shane Moran (Paul Hutchinson 74), Ray Jaudzems, Seamus Staunton, Anthony Dunne, Benny Magennis, Aidan Hyland, Vinnie Jaffrey (Kevin O'Hanlon 54).

Referee: Joe O'Hanlon.

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