| 3.5°C Dublin


TRAFFIC: Hermitage's Joe Kavanagh takes possesion in midfield.

Somehow amidst the pouring rain on Saturday afternoon, St Catherine's Park in Lucan held at least somewhat firm to host the opening round clash of the Sidney Bedlow Cup between Hermitage Clinic and Conwell Rovers.

Admittedly, extra-time may have meant us changing sports to water polo, but despite the conditions on the day both sides performed well with Rovers winning through to the second round where they will face either Stedfast United 2nds or Booterstown United.

And there can be no real surprise with the result at the final whistle as Conwell are playing a division higher than their hosts and in a five minute spell before half time they showed how dangerous they can be.

But it was doubles by Gareth Thornton - who was a threat breaking forward from midfield all game - and the ever dangerous Kieran McDonald who did the damage.

The opening goal of the game went the way of the away side after 11 minutes when Johnny O'Keefe was caught on the ball on the edge of his area and Thornton punished him with a cool finish past Joe Kavanagh.

A few minutes later it was 1-1. And it was O'Keefe who made up for his previous error with his superb ball finding Darren McCartney who fired past Peter Salma.

And for the majority of the opening half, the level score-line was a fair one with both sides having chances to move ahead.

On 23 minutes, McDonald and Thornton showed signs of what was to come when they linked up brilliantly but Thornton's effort was just past the far post.

Down the other end, James McMahon's free-kick was destined for the top corner but a fingertip save by Salma touched the ball on to the crossbar.

But Conwell were threatening more and more as half time neared. McDonald was denied by Kavanagh while Tayo Brown drove an effort inches wide of the far post.

But on 41 minutes Rovers did move ahead again. Niall Naughton's free-kick floated over everyone and nestled high in the far top corner.

Three minutes later it was 3-1. McDonald found Thornton motoring forward from midfield again and he slotted home similarly to his first strike, low in the bottom corner.

And it got worse for Hermitage sixty seconds later when a great pass down the channel from Tony Hyland was latched in to McDonald and he slid his effort under Kavanagh. 4-1.

The second half was a non-event until the 63rd minute when Hermitage got a goal back.

McMahon's free-kick from 25-yards was again reached by Salma but this time he couldn't keep it out and it was back to 4-2.

And suddenly the home side believed a comeback was on and if Darren McCartney's effort on 68 minutes had curled just inside the post rather than outside it, who knows, it may have been on.

But it wasn't to be for the home side and Conwell ensured their safe passage into the next round when McDonald got his second of the game when he got on the end of Brown's through ball before rounding the 'keeper and finishing.

HERMITAGE CLINIC: Joe Kavanagh, Dan McDonnell (Apostu Florin 46), Paul Walsh, Johnny O'Keefe, Ronan Reilly, Jason Hunter, Darren McCartney, John Byrne (Ciaran Union 57) , Jesse Shortall, James McMahon, Andy Mulligan (Mark O'Rafferty 63).

CONWELL ROVERS: Peter Salma, Shane Farrelly, Daragh Bracken, Sean Rooney, Chris Lynch, Gareth Thornton (Alan Fogarty 52), Niall Naughton, Kieran McDonald, Tayo Brown, Liam O'Farrell, Tony Hyland. Subs Duncan Jones, Donal Marah.

REFEREE: Paul Lang

HERMITAGE CLINIC: back row, from left: Jonathan Rosser, Paul Walsh, Jason Hunter, Joe Kavanagh, Dan McDonnell, John Burns, Conor Heneghan, Mark O'Refferty, Ciaran Union. Front row: Johnny Skeffield, Jessee Shortall, Andy Mulligan, Darren McCartney, James McMahon, Ronan Reilly, Aroftu Florin.